Home Alone & The Ghosts of the Future: The movie starring Macaulay Kulkin was not a beautiful holiday movie for me.

‘Focal Point’ is a bi-weekly column on the life, culture and cinema of writer and critic Rahul Desai.


I grew up in an acute situation of separation anxiety. I was the only 10-year-old who cried uncontrollably at home outside the weekend at the school leadership camp. I skipped New Years, birthday parties, picnics, and sleepovers. I was worried that if I left for at least an hour, I would return to an empty house, or my legal guardians waiting to be taken into custody. Not that I loved my parents extraordinarily. On the contrary, I think they loved me dearly and gave me infinite attention, just as they found solace in my innocence while struggling in a toxic marriage. This made me unhealthily dependent on them. As a result, the mere thought of their absence was crippling.

So, for someone like me, you can guess what Home Alone is other than a holiday movie. The idea of ​​a kid being forgotten by his crazy family seemed horrible. Kevin McCallister woke up in the morning and I could not understand that he had gone backwards. The suspension of my unbelief was shattered the moment he celebrated his ‘independence’. When children all over the world cried with joy, my eyes were usually wet. Wet bandits attacking his space was horrible, but what about the demons in his own head? What about the deafening silence of the house? I was putting myself in Kevin’s shoes, and I ran to the nearest police station the first morning and wondered if he would ask them to lock me up until my mother came. That being said, Home Alone was not a comedy for me; It was a horrible psychological drama.

I declared to my parents that I was never going to be a Kevin because I had no siblings. The three of us were alone in a small apartment. They had no way of forgetting me. Secondly, we could not afford a vacation abroad – Kevin’s family went to Paris for Christmas, and distance was a factor. Finally, how do they talk to each other if I’m not around? I was their glue, their shared language. They will not come out of the Society Gate without addressing me. In a sense I felt safe.

But the problem arose during my annual visit to my mother’s ancestral village in Haryana. An ancient farmhouse is where the whole family – aunts, uncles, wives, grandparents, great-grandmothers – gathers for a winter week. That’s when a home loan situation seemed terribly unreliable. I was not only the only child there, but I was also the only man who went to bed peacefully every night. Mistakes were easy. Not wanting to wake up to an empty ‘haveli’, I struggled with sleep, as Cacophony experienced. As things went south I spent days measuring my surroundings. For example, I observed two shady mechanics on the road, who seemed perfectly capable of robbing a house with a child. One was small and the other was small. I also befriended a local shopkeeper whom I once expected would never look at me with suspicion if I started buying things from him without adult supervision. I searched the mustard field for future hiding places. I spent a lot of time looking for materials and ropes to make booby traps in the dusty storeroom and attic. I concluded that the two penthouse magazines I found would serve as a useful focal point for North Indian male bandits.

During dinner I observed all the members of my family, trying to guess who was the first to notice me missing. It seemed to me that none of Kevin’s large siblings at Airport Dash had ever felt his absence – that meant he was not anyone’s playmate, or perhaps not good enough to remember. Was I like that? The movie starts with Kevin feeling wrong the night before they leave; An uncle kidnaps him and a cousin irritates him. If I try to get along with adults – because there are no cousins ​​around – no one can forget me. Some nights, I laughed out loud at jokes I didn’t understand. Other nights, I drank their beer in my head and lied that I saw the leopard. I even decided to quarrel with a cruel relative in order to get my presence on the heads of those who underestimated me.

Two decades later, facing home alone is still difficult. It reminds me of the days when I tried not to become Kevin. But it also reminds me that I was always afraid of something else. Kevin’s neighbor was Marley, a mysterious old man who spread rumors that he was a serial killer and destroyed his own family. Kevin is initially intimidated by Marley’s myth. But the two warm up to each other. Kevin finds out that Marley is actually a loner away from the rest of his family; He visits the church to see his granddaughter in the choir. There is regret in his voice; Revenge in the evenings of life burdens him. In a way, 70 years later, Marley is Kevin – Kevin is too young to be home alone, and Marley is old enough to be alone. They are the same person, inspiring old Marley to atone with his son, and Kevin is ready to end his own exile. Just as the past and the future directly affect each other, the return of his mother and family coincides with Marley’s reunion. By rescuing KV from the bandits, Marley is enabling his own existence, giving him one last chance to live and have a happy life. It is appropriate to call this time-loop term “grandfather paradox”.

This story of a child interacting with an adult may seem like science fiction. But that’s what Home Alone reads as an adult. Stop watching and start watching. You begin to imagine Marley as the protagonist, where he revives a childhood Christmas event and finds Catharsis in an old memory. I now realize that my biggest fear was not the robbers or the fugitive family. It was becoming old Marley. Three days later a milkman turned into a corpse hiding it because no one could feel my emptiness. Before I was a teenager, it was Marley’s weak humanity – not his physical appearance – that bothered me. Deep down, it was likely to dare to resonate with Marley’s loneliness.

I’m not his age yet – today I may be close to the age of Kevin’s parents – but I suspect I was born older. The hollow face of actor Roberts Blossom reminded me that his destiny was within reach. I was already a weirdo because of separation anxiety issues; My body resembled a social vacuum. I remember sitting and praying next to my grandfather, the oldest member of the farmhouse. Old enough to walk. I smiled from a corner and looked eagerly at the family I had created and I was definitely projecting in the hope that one day I would be him.

Accordingly, I was Marley for some time. In my twenties, I cut off relatives and fought with friends. I lost my tolerance for double standards and lost touch with cultural norms. I refused to associate with troubled family members in the name of tradition and avoided weddings and funerals because I could not fake the joys. I refused to get married and start my own family. I can not interact with journalists who write shiny tweets and Instagram posts about a colleague or filmmaker after privately criticizing them. I can not hang out with people who only deal with social currency, with ‘long lost’ contacts who contact me when I need professional benefits and movie gossip, or who pretend to appreciate your work. Request at the end of the message. In short, there is no one more often. Separation anxiety is transformed into attachment anxiety. It’s scary for me that kids in my area make up city legends about me: “The dull bearded man who yells at people, swallows his parents, sets fire to the park and talks to dogs”. If they only knew I was lurking behind the curtain and scrolling through the social media timelines, they would be phantom-liking photographs featuring happy people.

Last year, the Pandemic led to an influx of reunions around the world and the rediscovery of human contact. During the break between the COVID-19 waves, everyone “returned” to one another and to certain places. But I was never far from recognizing the joy of coming back. I was in spiritual isolation, still alone at home, and still allergic to the contradictions of life. The #FriendsLikeFamily posts, in particular, burned a hole in my heart. I have often wondered if all my authenticity is worth the loneliness.

However, writing this column is my way of preserving my history – allowing my Marley to save my KV from invisible bandits, vacations, and, above all, from me. The consequences of words are tangible. Family members who arrogantly misinterpreted my shame arrived after reading one or two private articles. Ex-friends sent that unintelligible text after recognizing a nod. Renewed old relationships and made trips to reconnect with familiar faces. Drunk last month with relatives who have not been seen for 15 years; We could not remember why, or, we fell first.

Slowly but surely, I’m waking up to a complete home. As I re-examine my memories of those farmhouse visits, I awaken to the fact that I am separating my future from the eternity of isolation. Kevin’s mother returned, but mine never went. I expected my family to forget me, but they disappointed me. Suffice it to say I say this often. I’m here to catch the attention of a sensitive little boy from the farmhouse. He thinks I’m a shady mechanic planning a robbery. But I’m just a man, in front of his childhood, asking him to trust me.


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