Caine is an nine year old boy who builds an arcade in an auto parts store in East L.A. It’s a sweet story that will warm your heart, but there’s more here than meets the eye. Caine is like a miniature Zen teacher as he goes about building his cardboard business. Why cardboard? Because that’s what he has to work with. His father’s auto parts store has boxes in abundance. So Caine uses boxes to build his dream store. The Zen cook, Edward Espe Brown, would begin preparing the meal with the question, “What do we have here?” It’s an elegant way to approach any situation. We look around and then we begin cooking with the ingredients at hand. For Caine, that’s cardboard. But his attention to detail is superb. He even has calculators attached to the individual arcade games so he can check the security codes of the customer’s fun passes. He creates everything he needs and is only missing one thing: customers. But that doesn’t faze him. Day after day he tinkers, cleans, sweeps and tries in vain to attract auto parts customers to his arcade. Nobody comes. But that’s not in his control. He just does what he needs to do. It’s hard to imagine a spiritual teacher with more grace, cheerfulness and goodwill than this little boy.
The other way to understand Caine’s Arcade is from the perspective of his first customer – Nirvan Mullick. Nirvan arrives to purchase a part for his old Toyota. Entranced by the arcade, he buys a “fun pass” for $2 and begins playing. Caine is thrilled! Later Nirvan asks Caine’s father if he can make a little movie about Caine and his arcade. His father agrees, but is embarrassed when he admits that Nirvan is Caine’s only patron. I won’t spoil the rest for you, but Nirvan changes this boy’s life. Not only does he make Caine famous (2 million views on youtube) but what you don’t see in the film is scholarship that Nirvan establishes for the boy which grows to more than
$80,000 $164,000. Nirvan’s heart – Caine’s smile. They make a great team.
Do you have a dream? Start building it. “What do we have here?”
Gregg Krech Author, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-reflection (2002)| Author, A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness (2004, 2011)| Author, A Finger Pointing to the Moon (2000)| Editor, Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living (1993-Present)| Director, ToDo Institute (Vermont) (1992-Pr......