Gauri Shinde's film moves at its own pace, but will stun you with its life lessons, says Divya Nair.
What can a therapist possibly advise a 20-something who has no clue what her problems are or where her life is leading her?
Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi reveals the mantras for a happy, fruitful life through the conversations of two amazingly sketched characters.
Aspiring filmmaker Kaira meets Dr Jehangir Khan and unlocks the secret to her happiness.
These secrets, the audience will discover, are simple treasures that we wish someone had shared with us when we were younger.
For those who haven't watched the film, here are some lessons we all can learn from it.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
1. It's okay to choose the easy way
In the movie, Kaira breaks up with her boyfriend Raghuvendra, but is stressed because working with him in New York on an assignment is one of her biggest dreams.
She is torn between deciding whether her decision should be emotional or professional. The easiest way, she discovers, is to say no to the assignment. Simple, isn't it?
Some decisions may look difficult and/or stressful, but may not need the attention you actually devote to them.
Sometimes, it's perfectly okay to choose the easier, simpler path than stress over the difficult, harder path. It saves you all the hassle, doesn't it?
2. Who are the five people who really matter?
No matter how old and successful you grow, there will be five people who matter the most -- your inner circle.
These people know you inside out -- they know your tantrums, your talent, your weakness and your dreams.
You are most comfortable when you are with them; at such times, you do not fear being yourself.
It is these people who really care for you and it is their opinion you should worry about. What the rest of the world thinks about you should not really matter.
3. Express yourself
Remember the times people stopped you from crying, feeling angry or sulking in a corner? Basically, they stopped you from expressing yourself; your emotional side was being taken for a ride.
All those piled up, conditioned emotions become the source of your problems when you grow up. You hold on to them and evaluate your current relationships and situations based on those fears and anxieties.
Forget what people say! It's okay to let those tears roll; it's okay to scream and tell people what you think.
If you cannot cry freely, how will you learn to express your love freely?
4. Don't be hard on yourself
In the film, there are several instances when Kaira thinks of herself as cheap and dirty.
Reason? She has more than one boyfriend and gives up on them easily.
This self criticism is her greatest enemy, the obstacle that stands between her and her destiny.
It's only when her therapist draws an analogy between picking the right and comfortable kursi (chair) and picking the right relationship that Kaira finally goes easy on herself.
5. Treasure the good memories
We all have a long list of the bad memories that can make us sad, lonely and depressed. And we keep going back to them whenever we go through a low phase.
But what about the good memories?
How often do we revisit them?
Don't they make you smile, relook at life and at a possible source of happiness?
If you have good memories, treasure them; if not, create them.
6. Talk to your parents
There comes a stage in every adult's life when we blame our parents and cannot even have a conversation with them.
When Kaira is asked to have a 10 minute conversation with her parents, she grits her teeth.
She cannot speak to her father for more than four minutes; that time span is shorter when it comes to her mother.
Why is it so difficult to spend 10 minutes with one's parents?
Some of our parents have sacrificed their personal likes and dislikes, their careers and given an arm and a leg to care for us.
Children born in double income households may have, at some point, felt neglected and misunderstood. It happens.
But how long will you hold that grudge against your parents?
They are not growing any younger and may want to make up for all the lost love, and the lost time, in their old age.
Have an open chat with them; forgive their mistakes and give your relationship a second chance. Your parents deserve it.
7. Don't let your past ruin your present or a beautiful future
The last message in the film sums up the essence of life.
Kaira's childhood memory haunts her so much that she intentionally messes up her life's choices to protect herself from getting hurt again.
She is told to let go of her past and invest in her present so that she can create a beautiful future.
Now, isn't that a beautiful message?