The Indian film The Lunchbox is a story of reflection as symbolized repeatedly throughout the movie and even noted in the dialogue at one point.
Set in Mumbai, the storyline involves a woman making lunch for her husband and it being delivered to the wrong person. As I learned from the movie, in Mumbai there is a “lunchbox” service where either family or restaurants make fresh, hot lunches for office workers that are delivered by a sophisticated network of deliverers.
The wife realizes the mistake when her carefully-prepared food is not acknowledged by her husband and she writes a note to the office worker. The office worker writes back and they begin a dialogue and, you might say, a relationship.
It’s also delightful to see paper notes! I can’t imagine this beautiful movie with email as the communication method.
If you haven’t seen the movie, this article has spoilers.
Libra and Reflection
Libra is the sign of “the other” and because of that is viewed as the sign of relationship. But “other” and relationship is more than romance. If you were alone on the planet, would you be tall or short? Would you be beautiful or ugly?
Many of your qualities seem null and void with no “other.”
Can you be funny if there’s no one to laugh?
In The Lunchbox, we see the woman talking to her emotionally-distant husband while her reflection is shown in the mirror, the most obvious imagery of reflection in the movie.
We also see the wife talking to a neighbor upstairs whom we never see. Through the disembodied voice of the neighbor, we learn about the wife and sense the camaraderie of an older wife helping a younger wife through the travails of marriage.
The office worker who erroneously receives the wife’s lunch is retiring and through his relationship with his replacement, we learn more about him. Later through his notes to the wife, we learn even more.
This written relationship (as well as his relationship with his replacement) revives the office worker, a melancholy widower, who considers a deeper relationship with the wife until facing a reflection of his own. Through the smell of his bathroom and a passenger giving up a seat for him on the bus, our widower receives a reflection of his advancing age, which humbles him.
In several very beautiful scenes, we see the worker’s relationship to the wife’s lovingly-prepared meal as he opens the carrier and smells the food like a child returning to his mother’s kitchen. It’s sensual and we can also imagine him breathing in the essence of the wife. The wife, we learn early on, is attempting to appeal to her husband through his lunch and has developed great cooking skills.
When the worker inhales deeply the aroma of a wonderfully cooked meal, we get the reflection of a better time, a time of home-cooked meals, of comfort, of satisfaction, of love.
The other cardinal signs
Libra is the cardinal air sign. The other three elements also have a cardinal sign: Cancer (water), Capricorn (earth) and Aries (fire).
Called The Lunchbox, you might think there were themes of Cancer, the sign of mothering and cooking and belonging (such as family life).
The food is there, also a reflection of family life as exhibited by the lonely widower watching a neighboring family enjoy a communal dinner.
The opposite sign, Capricorn, represents work, which is also part of the story. Our worker is retiring, but doesn’t seem to want to go as he has no “Cancer” life to go to.
And what about Aries, the headstrong cardinal fire sign?
At the end, I believe, we see the Libra reflection leading to Aries self-assertion and realization. If we don’t have self-assertion and realization, what is the point of reflection?