What Bollywood Can Teach You About India: Dear Zindagi Edition


“The youth is different from that in the industrial world in the sense that it has not yet fully gone through the process of individuation — it retains family and community ties — but it is different from the previous generation/s in the hope, expectations and aspirations that mark India’s youth of today”. -Suhas Palshikar, political scientist and director of Lokniti in a 2017 article in The Economic Times 

Hello, friends! It’s been a while, I know, since my last edition in this series, and I’m sure you’ve missed it terribly, although probably not as much as I have. Indeed, watching Indian movies and gleaning their myriad lessons is truly one of the happiest parts of my life. How else would I know that calendar girl is a real profession, that you can get over addiction by tying a scarf around your waist, or that the best way to find love is to leave your grandfather’s ashes on a train? Let ALONE learning how time travel works, it’s like, screw you, H.G. Wells, all you have to do is be a Vedic mathematician and the time, it flies! India. It’s a magical place.

So here we are again, with a film that was in fact very popular in India when it released a few months ago. The name does give one pause, of course. Dear Zindagi, or Dear Life, sounds like a rejected title for a Judy Blume novel, but lots of people really liked it, which made me think that maybe I would like it too. It’s about things that are interesting and important to me, like mental health (the day my therapist told me we could have skype sessions when I’m in India was on the top ten list of days of my life) and the struggles facing young women in society (women? I love women! I even AM one!) and millennial (I have to say, I do like a lot of these things that millennials like according to this business insider article that was CLEARLY WRITTEN BY AN OLD WHITE DUDE, although who DOESN’T like gourmet pizza? It’s delicious!). The movie features Alia Bhatt, the ultimate Indian millennial actress, a precious butterfly mixture of Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Kristen Dunst in her youth, with a little Zoe Kazan thrown in for fun. It’s been hailed as a heartwarming in-depth examination of one young woman and her life, and the fact that a woman is at the center of the story and it’s not a romance is quite revolutionary in India (OH MY GOD INDIA COME ON YOU HAD A FEMALE PRIME MINISTER STARTING IN 1966 GET IT TOGETHER), so what could go wrong?

Of course, some reviews had some stuff to say, like “Dear Zindagi should have been a much better film. What we get instead, in spades, is bumper-sticker self-help notes which are strictly boiler-plate.” (Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express) but hey, what does she know? She probably doesn’t even understand about the significance of the sweater vest in Punjab or ANYTHING. So anyway, let’s DO this thing!

We open our story in Singapore, where Kaira, whose nickname is Koko for absolutely no reason, is working on a film. Hey, I wonder if maybe her dumb nickname is why she will end up in therapy? (Spoiler alert, it is NOT.)

Kaira, God love her, is many things which I will unpack as this movie goes forward, selfish, foolish, often totally inexplicable, but I can put all that aside because SHE UPS OUR NUMBER OF CAREERS FOR WOMEN! In fact, this film actually has TWO jobs women can do so it is a double whammy win. Kaira’s job, however, is sort of ill-defined because they keep calling her a camera woman when it is very clear that her actual job is cinematographer. Why be so ambiguous, Dear ZIndagi? Camera men in Bollywood are swarthy dudes who get paid less than four dollars an hour. Cinematographers are artists who go to film schools. There is no way little miss Faux-fia Coppola over here is a damn camera man. Lesson number one! Jobs are ambiguous and amorphous in Bollywood.

Kaira, because she is pretentious as hell, wears glasses with clear glass in them to seem more serious on set. You know what might actually get people to take you seriously, Kaira? A whole pair of pants. One of Kaira’s many unexplained neuroses in this movie is her inexplicable devotion to jeans that are more hole than pant. Perhaps it’s a statement about the fragile fabric of reality? Lesson two! Jeans are metaphors and should never be whole. LIKE KARIA’S SOUL.

So anyway, Kaira is supposedly a brilliant filmmaker because she is shooting a movie or something in which a guy is begging a girl to forgive him after cheating on her for the upteenth time and she stops the shooting even though the ENTIRE CREW IS READY TO WRAP so she can do one more take with the actress gazing longingly at a passing dude while her cheating beau hugs her. Everything thinks this is the most brilliant thing since sliced bread. I think that kind of adjustment is the director’s job, and in a real shoot Kaira would be a huge douche who delayed shooting for a shitty idea that was not in her purview. But what do I know? See, the point is, Kaira is spirited! And spunky! And totally disrespectful of other people’s time! Also, Kaira was brought in to shoot ONE SCENE OF THIS MOVIE? How is that a thing? I never want to see this movie. It looks AWFUL. Lesson number three! Being an asshole on a movie shoot in Bollywood will take you places.

On the way back to Mumbai in the Singapore airport, which by the way is amazing and it has great food, Kaira and her crush, Raghuvendra, who is played by Kunal Kapoor, who is like, twice Alia Bhatt’s size, hang out, and Kaira opts for a coke instead of a drink, and neither of them eat any of the amazing food offerings the airport has for travelers. Pfftt. Singapore is wasted on these people.

It is clear that these two have slept together, and Kaira is all weird about it, which makes sense, they work together, and Raghuvendra, or Ragu, for short, is pretty thirsty. Girl, I get it, he is a stage five clinger, making hitting it and quitting it hard. Lesson number four! Guys in India are needy. 

Back in Mumbai, Ragu is all, call me and Kaira is all, whatever, bro. I totally respect her brushing this guy off. What I do NOT respect is what a dick she is to her maid!

Kaira literally gets into her house, throws all her shit on the floor for her maid to pick up, and starts opening all these PRODUCT PLACEMENT eBay boxes because she’s quirky and cool and that means she buys a bunch of useless stuff no one needs. I guess being a camera woman pays EXTREMELY well because Kaira lives alone with a maid who is apparently at her beck and call in a GIANT apartment in the most expensive city in India and she can spend all her money on eBay items. Lesson number five! Mumbai is like New York, reasonable in movies alone.

She also goes around tipping her own belongings over because I guess that’s her design scheme despite the fact that a woman who makes about as much as one of those eBay items has gone to a lot of trouble to make stuff look nice. It is at this point in the movie that I start to wonder if the secret message here is that millennials are assholes. Lesson number six! Millennials are assholes.

And that’s when Kaira takes a photo of her food! Which I also do sometimes, yes, but movie, are you reading my MIND? Kaira is on a date with her restaurateur boyfriend, who she has ostensibly cheated on? But I don’t know how exclusive they are, so you know, it could be an open thing. Kaira, who doesn’t care about this dude despite all the free food he makes available to her, observes this little scene:

This policy means Mr. India would NEVER attend this restaurant. Kaira asks her boyfriend to bend the rules for this group, which I think is included in the movie to make her seem empathetic and observant, but really it just shows that millennials are rule breakers with no respect for institutions or their traditions.

Kaira’s boyfriend, who dresses appropriately like an adult, is sad she doesn’t want to be with him. YOU’RE DODGING A BULLET HERE, GUY!

A fair amount of this movie is Alia Bhatt dancing artistically in her apartment or wherever. I personally do dance around my own apartment, of course, but I don’t ask other people to WATCH it, and my cat usually leaves when I start. So I’m not, like, thrilled by this. She also has a bunch of Polaroids on the wall like it’s 2007 not 2017 and anyone still uses Polaroids. I guess this is more evidence of her being quirky or whatever, but given that she works in film you would think she’d be a little more tech evolved. Lesson number seven! Polaroids are still a thing in India.

Kaira goes shopping with her friends, who include Fatima, our SECOND job for women, i.e. costume designer, who is played by Ira Dubey who looks so much like her mother it’s straight up frightening, and Jackie, who has no job, and is played by Yashaswini Dayama, and these two dudes, one of whom is gay, which is progressive, I guess? The gay one talks about therapy, which intrigues Kaira. No one asks that guy about what must have been a fascinating and difficult struggle to understand and accept your sexuality in a country where homosexuality is still straight up illegal. Obviously Kaira’s shit is more important, duh! Lesson number eight! The problems of a straight pretty girl are a lot more important than anyone else’s shit. 

Later, Kaira complains about having to visit her family in Goa and about how her mom wants to cook for her all the time. Yeah, that sounds like a REAL drag, Kaira. I mean, her mom is right up there with Joan Crawford, AM I RIGHT?

Kaira and Jackie go grocery shopping and Kaira gets all mushy because she sees a jar of Ragu sauce and it reminds her of Ragu the human. I did not think she liked this guy, so this was confusing for me, but I guess she does, because she buys the jar. Kiara, Marcella Hazan’s pasta sauce recipe is far superior, yo! Later, her maid serves her the pasta like DAMN Kiara, that’s a heat and serve situation, be more entitled why don’t you? Lesson number nice! Buy food items that remind you of the person you want to bone. It totally strengthens your bond!

Back at work, in a Canadian tuxedo, Kiara dodges calls from her landlord and shoots a music video. Her landlord informs her that he only wants to rent to married couples, which does totally suck and is a thing that happens in India, but her response is that she therefore has to move in with her parents in Goa instead of, oh, I don’t know, LOOKING FOR A ROOMMATE? Trying to find another place? Crashing on someone’s couch? I guess for Kiara its giant solo apartment or NOTHING.

It’s nice of her friends to help her pack. Kaira really doesn’t seem like a very giving friend, so it’s nice that her friends at least are decent people. Also she calls her friend Fatima “Fatty” which I think is just very dick. Fatima is pregnant, by the way, and I feel like that nickname will NOT age well.

Ragu tells her that he wants her to shoot a whole movie for him in New York, which is very exciting for her, but when she finds out that the director is Ragu’s ex, she gets understandably weird about it. That, however, does not justify the fact that she dances this weirdness out by listening to her own music over her headphones while dancing in a club. Lesson number ten! You can bring your own music to a club in India, it’s not odd or anything.

I can think of few more pretentious things, and I literally attended an Ivy League university.

Later, however, Fatima informs Kaira that Ragu, who is now in New York doing prep for the movie or whatever, I’m not sure this movie knows how other movies work, is engaged. Damn, Dear Zindagi! He left Mumbai about a WEEK ago. Couldn’t he just be like, seeing someone? Kaira is very upset by this, despite the fact that she seemed REALLY not into him, but I guess the point is that’s like her way of being into a dude? Her way of being upset involves eating a chili and blaming her tears on that (um, girlfriend, you were crying WAY pre chili but sure, nice try) and breaking a bunch of jars of Ragu in a supermarket and then leaving cash at the register as she storms out. Just so you know, a jar of Ragu retails at 495 rupees or about 7.50 USD at the current exchange rate. WASTEFUL!  Lesson number eleven! Indian millennials are wasteful and rude. 

So, because she has no other (or literally a hundred other) options, Kaira reluctantly moves back to her parents palatial home in beautiful unpolluted Goa where her father has a job set up for her shooting a local commercial. WHAT A DRAG. She is strangely rude to her parents who seem very nice and very proud of her and her career choices:

And who defend her from annoying Indian Aunties and Uncles who harass her 25 year old self about getting married:

And like, serve her wine and stuff. Obviously this situation is torture for Kiara, and she can’t sleep a wink in her beautiful bedroom in her beautiful home and whines about wondering whether she should take the job shooting the movie or not. I….honestly thought that would be off the table when Ragu realized Kaira wasn’t going to sleep with him again, so it seems frankly naive that she thinks that’s still an option for her, but okay, fine, I guess her talent is just TOO MUCH TO IGNORE.

Shooting an ad for her dad’s friend’s hotel, which is apparently the worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone, Kaira stumbles upon a mental health conference, in which bad boy therapist (that’s not a thing) Dr. Jehangir Khan, play by Shah Rukh Khan, for some Khan on Khan action, dazzles the crowd with his laid back pearls of wisdom. Kaira is drawn to him, probably because they share an affinity for torn jeans.

Kaira is intrigued. So she goes to talk to Dr. Khan, who wants people to call him Jug (ummmmmm, why?) about her sleep issues which quickly becomes about her man issues, and her concerns about this project and how it could be great for her career, but back for her sense of self care. Kaira only recruits others to care for her, so this idea is laughable, but Jug is there for it. Jug is a more patient person than I, which is why he is a good therapist and I wouldn’t be.

Unfortunately, Jug is also a really BAD therapist in that he does not abide by any of the professional ethical boundaries he is supposed to maintain, and also, THIS IS NOT HOW THERAPY WORKS. Lesson number twelve! Therapy is whatever you want it to be in India. All things are therapy! The wind is therapy! Everything!

Anyway, Jug tells Kaira that she doesn’t have to take the hard way, there is no virtue in that path. He uses a weird extended metaphor about climbing Everest, which resonates with Kiara for whatever reason, so when Ragu comes and visits her, because I guess he is ALSO wildly independently wealthy and can afford a last minute trip back from New York to Mumbai and then to Goa in the middle of his shooting prep just so he can, what, make a girl he slept with feel okay? Tell her he’s found another cinematographer? We may never know WHY he came, because Kiara interrupts him with her nonsense and tells him that SHE is rejecting HIS movie so take THAT! I really wish he had had a chance to be like, oh, honey, no, that was a verbal offer in a club one time, no contract, no job, I came here to talk to JACKIE because we are in LOVE (oh, right, Jackie is like also in Goa with Kaira? No idea why.) But that doesn’t happen. Instead, Kaira feels victorious, but she still can’t sleep, so she returns to Jug for more totally unprofessional sessions. Also, every time Jug says something, she repeats it to everyone in her life and they all talk about how brilliant it is and it’s so so smug on the part of writer/director Gauri Shinde that I want to hit her in the face. Hey, Shinde, how about you let the AUDIENCE decide if something is brilliant or not?

Also, they have this whole conversation about how relationships are like chairs and you have to try a bunch to get the right one. This to me was like oh god gag me with a spoon but to be fair, in India I guess this is like a radical idea that ladies might need to sleep with multiple people/date multiple people/meet men who are not their direct relatives more than one time before settling down, so well done, I guess, Dear ZIndagi. Lesson number thirteen! It is a revelation that you can sleep with more than one person and not be a big dumb slut.

Jug, like, takes Kaira to the beach and stuff, and nothing makes sense. He pretends that the ocean is chasing him and I’m just like, dude, for real? Kaira, here’s a hint, when seeking out help with your mental health, do not enlist someone who has some fairly clear mental health issues himself!

Kaira goes out with Jackie, because again, Jackie has no job and apparently just followed her friend to Goa (sidenote, what is Jackie is in love with Kaira? I would love that. It still wouldn’t be a JOB, but it would be interesting. Maybe she should talk to a therapist, but not Jug, because again, he’s totally worthless). At the bar, some COMPLETE AND UTTER DOUCHEBAG starts singing, loudly, with a guitar. I legitimately hate this guy. If I was in a bar with this guy I would break a bottle and go for his neck. Guy, people are DRINKING HERE.

Initially Kaira’s face reflects my own feelings, probably because Alia Bhatt, in her position as Indian Jennifer Lawrence, seems fairly cool and like someone you could throw down on a dry white wine with.

See those dead eyes? That is what my face would look like if this happened to me. But then because of the plot or whatever they make poor Alia Bhatt look excited or what the fuck ever despite how insanely douchey this man is.

Jackie and Kaira introduce themselves to this asshole instead of leaving and getting drunk in a bar that doesn’t let random dudes just SING and disturb patrons with their nonsense. Lesson number fourteen! In India it is socially acceptable to disturb an entire bar of people with your bullshit singing.

The guy, whose name is Rumi, Rumi, for fucks sake, mansplains to Kaira that there are multiple types of music.

Instead of politely excusing herself to go to the bathroom and throw up, hoping that this horrific excuse for a human being will be gone by the time she leaves, Kiara agrees to go to a beach to listen to MORE of his music. Kiara, that’s how people get MURDERED. Jackie is nowhere to be seen, because I guess she doesn’t care if Kiara dies. I’m not NOT with you, Jackie. So far she has been the literal worst as a friend, and not awesome as a person.

I guess Kaira is actually 16 and an idiot, because she is like delighted by touching this dude’s guitar despite it being a clear metaphor for his penis. Kaira, I’m begging you, do not touch Rumi’s penis. When he asks you to make poetry with him, RUN AWAY.

When she talks to Jug about it, her big complaint is that Rumi plays too much music all the time. I mean, it would have been nice if she had identified him as a solipsistic disturber of the peace, but fine, screw it, I will take this. Jug makes fun of opera, like an asshole. Hey, man, they don’t come to where YOU live and tell you you’re a terrible therapist! I’M doing that! Then Kaira breaks something in Jug’s office. My therapist does not have so much stuff in her office which is great because I would totally break things, I’m a massive klutz, so I feel you there, Kaira.


Kaira and her friends get drunk but act like they are high. This scene does nothing for this movie. It’s like Alia Bhatt dancing around, but less energetic. Then Kaira has a date with Rumi, who makes her wait to let the wine breathe all of two seconds, which isn’t how wine works, and then tells her she has to buy PInk Floyd’s first album. Um, WHAT? That’s not like an obscure music thing, that’s just like a general thing. That’s like saying, you need to listen to this little band out of Liverpool, it’s a group of four guys and they spell beetle wrong, they will BLOW YOUR MIND. Come on, now! Also, he’s not even playing her Pink Floyd, he’s playing her something else, and he’s like singing off key to it. Granted, he made her fondue (I mean, you melt chocolate, it’s not exactly biryani, here, but dude, you’re an asshole. I TOLD YOU, KAIRA! She understandably hates all this, and splits like a banana.

Back in therapy, Kaira complains about Rumi some more, and it’s like Jesus, Kaira, use him and loose him already! Jug talks her through her feelings or whatever.

Sigh, I’m with you Kaira, and so is everyone else. However, you aren’t IN a relationship, you had a couple of non-dates with a psedo-musican. That’s not a relationship, that’s like a long weekend in college. Anyway, Kaira shades towards some abandonment issues, which I guess is her real thing, and Jug is like:

Great. How about you actually do a decent job as a therapist? No, then? Cool.


Kaira visits Rumi on the beach because I guess that’s his main occupation in life and there are these people juggling with fire behind him and this is actually one of my many versions of hell and he stops playing, ostensibly to make Kaira happy, and the crowd, which includes a white woman with dreadlocks, NOPE, is literally like, no, don’t stop, you are so amazing! Shut up, crowd. He plays on. Kaira gets closure on her non-relationship. Pieces of me die. This is like Indian Girls but less interesting. And Girls isn’t that interesting. Lesson number fifteen! Many people in India according to this movie have HORRIBLE taste in music,

Meanwhile, Jackie and Kaira skype Fatima who is about 7 months pregnant or so so I guess they have been in Goa THAT LONG? Jesus. Jackie has a new boyfriend (imaginary, I hope, I’m still rooting for this Jackie Kaira Sam and Diane thing to spark) and Kaira doesn’t know. Kaira is pissed that Jackie didn’t tell her, but to Jackie’s credit, Kaira actually might be the most selfish person in the world, so she probably DID tell her and Kaira forgot.

They have a fight which quickly resolves and means nothing and doesn’t advance the plot forward. Cool.

Kaira, in yet another pair of ripped jeans, comes to meet Jug, presumably for their session, but he’s fixing a bicycle for a pair of pre-teen boys who are not having any of Kaira’s nonsense. Boys, I feel you. Also, why is Jug fixing a bicycle during their session? Doesn’t he charge by the hour? That’s KAIRA’S time.

Then they do their session on bikes. THIS IS NOT HOW THERAPY WORKS.

Wow. Way to drop knowledge, Dr. Obvious. Where is your medical degree from, the school of hard knocks? His dime store psychology, however, is just Kaira’s price, because she flashes back to being a small child and then declares she just wants to be free from all this. Free from…your pampered life in Goa where you have no expenses or responsibilities? Yeah, girl, you seem REAL hemmed in.

Kaira then falls off her bike and Jug tells her her time is up. You would sue for this shit in the States, I’m telling you.


Kaira’s parents have a party for her brother’s homecoming, and also I guess it’s a set up for Kaira? Ugh. But one woman asks about Jackie, cementing my lesbian theory! Yes!

At the dinner that her mother lovingly cooked, her mom is like, why aren’t you eating? which is weird because Kaira was actually eating in this shot. I feel like they are shading towards some eating stuff in this family, and Kaira’s mother is heavy-set, and at some point Kaira is like, you just want to make me fat!, which is a really dick thing to say, Kaira. But anyway, people start talking about how Kiddo, Kaira’s brother, who has no other name, damn this family is bad with nicknames, was such a good baby, and Kaira was a mess. I understand that this is annoying, but it is one of those things that adults like to do, however it sets Kaira off, especially when her uncle? potentially? Is all sanctimonious and it’s like, dude, do you even HAVE children? If so, where are they?

I feel ya, Koko.

And Kaira explodes, and reveals that she is in therapy. Therapy is in fact a really big deal in India. I’ve told people I’m in therapy in a very offhand flippant way (see, earlier in this very post!) And I can always see Mr. India wince very slightly, not, I think, because he feels some kind of way about me being in therapy, but because he is anticipating what the other person is thinking. I have actually had people ask “what is wrong with you?” when I mention it, to which I obviously reply, nothing, I’m amazing, that’s why I’m in therapy! But it is socially stigmatized in big ways, and there is this idea that therapy is for people with severe mental health issues. Not that people actually talk about mental health here. As in so many cultures, emotions in India are supposed to be overcome by sheer acts of willpower, and being affected by grief, being addicted to something, suffering from depression, these are all moral failings, weaknesses.

Kaira is doing that finger spinning “I’m crazy” thing. She storms off and Kiddo goes after her and she decides she needs to deal with these issues. Quick, to Jug’s magical house of bicycles and feelings!

Finally, FINALLY, Kaira’s sad sad traumatic story of trauma that explains all her shit neatly tumbles out of her mouth like a waterfall. It’s convoluted and dumb but basically her parents moved to the US to start a business and left her with her grandparents when she was like 5 or something, and she was sad and wrote them letters and they never answered and then they visited and she overheard them say they couldn’t afford to take her with them and they never answered the letters but then they had her BROTHER so obviously they could have A kid just not HER and then she deliberately failed second grade or whatever so they came back to Goa.

Damn, Alia Bhatt is an ugly crier. But her hair looks so nice all curly! She should never straighten it.

Look, that does sound sad and sort of shitty, but I’m sure they had their reasons, and they mostly seem economic, and most people are just doing their damn best, and why have you never TALKED to these people about this? Lesson number sixteen. Don’t ever talk about anything with the people involved. Just don’t do it! It’s a trap!

Obviously as a therapist Jug advises Kaira to talk to her parents and gives her some strong tools to do so, RIGHT? WRONG. He’s like, that is awful, but you should let it go! Just LET IT GO! Thanks, FROZEN, for the sage advice. Why not say hello to life? Wow, that’s basically THE MOVIE TITLE! It’s all coming together NOW!

So somehow instead of talking to her parents and trying to re-start a healthy relationship with them, Kaira just sort of wanders away in an outfit that looks like a transparent patchwork curtain.

Then she dances around again. This movie really thinks that Alia Bhatt dancing around is a lot more compelling than it is.

There is nothing more India than the fact that she’s putting this in dirty muddy water.

This is not how the rorschach test works. Jug, you are terrible at your job.

So anyway she runs around and like enjoys life for the first time and finally gets a good night’s sleep and gives her mom flowers and looks at baby photos with her dad and whatever and has this cake baking scene which is so clearly romantic I don’t even understand why this movie isn’t going there:

No, INSTEAD it’s going to a place where Kaira has a crush on Jug. NOPE. I’m not dealing with this. This is total nonsense. I don’t care about this. NOPE. Do you think that in any movie Shah Rukh Khan signs on to, it’s in his contract that a woman must fall in love with him? Is that part of his rider, like, coconut water, vegan chocolate mousse, in-trailer gym, at least one love story?

Jug cancels a session and Kaira is pissed. This movie wont end. They take a boat ride together. Kaira wears a full-length kimono coat thing over jean cut offs. It’s horrific.

No. They wont. They will never get sorted because that’s being a human, recognizing that whatever you came from will live in you forever. Jug is the worst therapist ever. Jug then tells her that their next session will be her last. Um, okay, I guess? I mean, that is a thing that happens but you would think he would at least refer her to someone else.

Kaira and her brother talk about her work, and how she’s “done sulking now”. She will clearly never be done sulking, her personality is half-sulk. Then Kaira says the dumbest thing she’s said this entire movie:

Never in the history of the world has that actually happened. It is official. This movie does not know how movies work. Lesson number eighteen! In India people will fund your short film. Come here, everyone I went to graduate school with, I know you’ve got some nonsense all ready to go!

Kaira expresses her feelings for Jug which I refuse to deal with because this is such a stupid plot line that it doesn’t deserve my respect. You know what did this story well? In Treatment. That’s what did this well. Gabriel Byrne would sneer at this, and he would be right to do so.

So NOW you have professional ethics? What a fun surprise.

Kaira ugly cries again, but then she laughs, because she’s HEALED now, she’s all BETTER and that means she can finally be with a MAN which was the whole POINT even though they pretended that it wasn’t. Lesson number nineteen! Mental health is all about getting you ready to get married.

And then she makes the WORST. SHORT. FILM. EVER.

I guess it’s about a Portuguese solider who was a woman but pretended to be a man and did that for over a decade but clearly couldn’t commit to CUTTING HER DAMN HAIR? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Everyone claps at her giant screening for this 45 second short film that someone else funded apparently (bet they regret THAT) and says how amazing it was. Yet again, Dear Zindagi imposes its sense of what is brilliant on you before you have a chance to say hey, that was really pretty shitty, wasn’t it?

All of Kaira’s ex boyfriends show up for no reason, including this dude, and that weird awful uncle is like “she couldn’t have done this without you” which makes no sense at all, but let’s stop expecting logic from that guy, his name might as well be “patriarchy”. Ragu is gracious but I’m pretty sure Kaira could have shot this short film out of a damn closet, so whatever.

Then she meets a furniture maker who is dressed in head to toe black like she is and the movie ends and we can all heave a sigh of relief that even if she’s not CURRENTLY married or attached to someone, she will be soon!

Wow. Nineteen lessons, two jobs for women, and a complete and total disregard for how mental health actually works.

Still, I mean, in a country where people actually ask me what’s wrong with me when I tell them I’m in therapy, I guess it’s better than nothing? (IS IT THOUGH?) Yeah. It probably is.

But not by much….





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