Friday, February 11, 2011

One hundred and twenty seven

127 hours

-Contains spoilers-

I haven't read the book "Between A Rock and A Hard Place" by Aron Ralston, so I am basing my conclusions solely based on watching the movie.

From what I gathered, Aron Ralston started out as someone who thinks that he is self-sufficient and almost omnipotent. He lives alone, doesn't return his mom's phone calls, he doesn't tell his colleagues where he's going, he just takes a drive off into the canyons of Utah for a hike and climb to Big John canyon, with just a pack filled with a climbing kit, a made in china multi-purpose tool (pliers, short knife and a shorter knife), a bottle of water, some munchies, a still camera and a video recorder. In fact he was so confident of himself that he even brags a bit about making it to the canyon with a shorter time than anyone else.

God had other plans for him though.

While climbing down one crevice (don't ask me why, maybe he was trying to get across it? Maybe he just wanted to challenge himself? *shrug*), he slipped, knocked over a boulder while he was going down and that boulder pinned his right hand to the canyon wall. Unable to move, Aron spent 127 hours trying out several ways to set himself free. Unable to move, Aron also spent 127 hours reflecting upon his life and how he had spent it. The realization that he is literally all alone, that no one knows where he is and no one would come looking for him anytime soon and that by the time they did he would probably be dead, made him almost ready to give up on his life.

Dehydration getting the better of him after a few days without food and resorting to him drinking his own pee made him see visions, and in one, he saw himself playing with a little boy, which he concluded to be his son. That vision gave him the courage to do the inevitable - cut off his own right hand to set himself free.

That scene is excruciating to watch, to say the least. It only lasted for perhaps 10 minutes, but in my opinion, it must be one of the most powerful moments in the movie. To see Aron so determined to live, almost giving up at one point but finally motivated to continue with what he started was an epiphany to me. It's like a metaphor to life, really. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a bit of yourself, to do or experience something that you might not really like, just to set the rest of yourself free and come out a better person.

I think this was the lesson that God was trying to teach Aron. He didn't get the lesson when his girlfriend left him for being selfish or something (I don't really get why, but that's what I figured). So God had to teach it to him the hard way.
So Aron came out of that crack on the earth surface, a better man. Less a hand, but more of a person. More humble, more appreciative of the human connection.

I think if Aron believed in Allah and had seen the blessing Allah had given him, just as I had seen it, it would have made him a really good muslim :)

"Allah is Al-Jabbar, the compeller. He compels you to His will and you cannot resist Him. His will is, however, decreed with great wisdom, knowledge, justice and compassion, so you can be assured that it is for your own good, to make you a better person in this life and the next" - the gist of a lecture on Names of Allah - Al-Jabbar



  1. Must go find the movie..

    May I know lecture on Names of Allah by whom Elisa? TQ

  2. aaahh.... so THAT'S what this movie was about. I read about this man in motivation textbooks. Funny though, they never draw him as a self-centered person in textbooks.

    Wrong textbook, maybe.

  3. Mrs A - the lecture is by Sister Eeman of AlHuda Sisters here in Dubai. I use to attend the classes at a mosque here, but nowadays I only listen to the repeat broadcast online. I'm afraid they only play it once at a scheduled time though :P

    Ailin - as I said, that was the impression that I got from the movie. I haven't read the book, so I may have had it wrong about him :)
    COme to think of it, he did mention he volunteers for the emergency services, so he must've not been as self-centered as I thought he was. Maybe just little over-confident perhaps :)

  4. I don't really hold to the notion that God visits calamity upon us to 'teach us a lesson'. While calamity may stay our proceedings long enough to afford space for lessons, many of these pearls of wisdom are granted in hindsight, but that discussion, really, is not my purpose here.
    I merely intended to say that I watched the movie too, after having seen his interview with Oprah. I was torn in two as I didn't want to watch so unsettling a movie on a Saturday night after the secene where he got pinned, but it was also hard to wrench myself away from the screen as I wanted him to make it out alive within my waking hours.
    I am glad I stayed awake. It made me hmmmm for a minute. Then promptly roll over to snore.