We are haunted by our mistakes.
Our successes, they will leave us while we're dulled by that afterglow of satisfaction. Your mistakes, however - they follow you around, as you drag your feet through the journey of your life. Like a shadow in the darkness, but their footfalls ever so muffled for you to suspect your sanity. They linger on, to provide that tinge of regret, which unfortunately is the mark of a life lived, instead of slept through.
As I headed out to watch Dev D for a second time, I wasn't expecting to feel any different from what I felt the first time. But I was to be surprised at what I felt for the protagonist - the disdain I had felt for him vanished into thin air, to be replaced with a sense of despair if only by empathy. I felt for his dillemma, the internal conflict that is the core of it all. Maybe it's a twist of perspective, but the experience was different.
To anyone who's made a mistake, there's an irrational urge to run away from everything that's headed your way - to leave consequences to others and withdraw. That the solution to everything was just to be not there. Not like it hasn't worked before, it just wont work this time - because you didn't wrong someone else, you wronged yourself.
But as you watch Dev and Chanda both go through their lives running away from the consequences of their actions - the realization hits home that you can run, but then that's all you'll ever do in life. Run and run. Run into the arms of drugs, alcohol or any other crutch that could make your mind just stop. Saving you from the monsters that inhabit you, dulling the pain and make you smile, all in ignorance. Anything to stop thinking, stop everything and keep running.
Consequences are strange beasts. They give chase when you run, but wait for you when take your time to walk to them. No one else can make you walk upto your consequences and introduce you to them. The last mile is yours alone to walk. It's not an easy one to walk back, knowing what awaits you at the end. But there comes a point when you're tired of running. When running away is not getting you where you want to be.
There was that moment of epiphany for Dev, standing next to that phone booth picking up the coins. The moment when you realize that this life is just too short to take the long way around. In perhaps what's the most unappreciated twist in the movie, you see the protagonist actually stop and walk back. Back to Delhi, back to Chanda and back to the police station.
On his own feet, to meet his past & make way for his future.--
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind;
yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.
-- Kahlil Gibran