Another fabulous episode! Really, this season is so good. I wish more of you were watching it. It’s happy, it’s beautiful, it makes you think about relationship stuff and life stuff and interesting things. Emily and I are loving it, the rest of you should try! (Little Things index here)
This could have been such a dumb trite episode. Kavya is out of town on a business trip and meets a hot guy, meanwhile Dhruv is back home making her a surprise by learning her favorite recipe from her mother. Obviously Kavya will cheat on some level, Dhruv will be betrayed, they will fight, blah blah boring.
But instead, the episode zigs when it could zag, again. Kavya acts odd and Dhruv notices immediately. He pushes, she avoids, and then finally brings it up in a round about way, asking if he ever thinks about being with someone else. And it turns into an important conversation for any couple, or really any person. Yes, obviously, there is something “better” out there. But then this is so nice, what they have now is so nice. Why not appreciate it for the miracle that it is, that these two different people created something so nice?
There is no easy answer for this conversation. Because yes, there probably always is someone out there who is better for you somehow than whoever it is you are with right now. Dhruv uses the example of when he meets a woman from Delhi, who understands sitting on the rooftops and enjoying the spring sun after the winter and all those things that Mithila doesn’t get. And yes, somewhere in the world is a Delhi girl who has the same sense of humor and laidback attitude towards things as Mithila and who he would get along with slightly better.
Mithila is dealing with something a bit deeper than that. And I’m not sure if Dhruv fully understands it. Which is also realistic, this is a relationship issue but also a personal issue, they are different people so it will be different for each of them when they work through that feeling of “is this the perfect person?”
Mithila starts by asking Dhruv if he used to dream of a different person for himself when he was in college. That’s revealing something really big about what she is struggling with here. It’s not just “could I have a slightly better relationship?” it’s “have I betrayed myself, let myself down, by settling? Am I no longer who I should be because I ended up with the wrong person?”
Yes, the man she meets is seemingly perfect for her, seemingly the exact match she would dream about. But it’s not about him, it’s about everything. If she was with someone like him, or had waited for someone like him, she would be having adventures everyday right now, she would be traveling, she would be living the life she dreamed of for herself. Instead she ended up with Dhruv and now she isn’t living that life. Having this guy right in front of her is making it obvious and impossible to ignore.
This is a universal part of life, and it gets stronger and stronger the older you get. The paths you take and the paths you don’t take, and the more times you pick a path, the more paths are closed to you. Dhruv and Mithila are still so young, they have so many options. This is maybe the first time Mithila is realizing that some options are closed to her forever. Dhruv is both a person, and a life choice for her. And here is this great dude that she doesn’t even have the option of choosing any more, she lost him without even realizing he is out there. Maybe didn’t think before, or articulate to herself before, how choosing Dhruv shut the doors on every other man in the world.
Dhruv comes at it differently. For him, it is about what they have. Sure, he meets other women and thinks “that might be nice” but then he thinks “but what we have is already nice”. He knows it is a choice, and he is happy with that, because it is a safe sane choice that has paid off and looks to continue paying off. There is no agony over paths that are closed to him, just gratitude for the path he has.
It’s not about the guy, and it’s not even about the relationship between them, it’s about what that relationship means to the two of them individually. For Dhruv, it is comfortable, it is good, it is something he will work at making better in small ways (learning her favorite dish to cook for her when she comes back from a trip, for instance). For Mithila, it is something that needs to be going somewhere, that needs to have a goal they are driving towards. Dhruv is happy with “settling” for Mithila, because life is good.
The funny thing is, Mithila is pushing Dhruv about not working, and in fact he is doing so much work. Their relationship doesn’t get better with thinking and planning and goals, their relationship gets better with learning a new recipe and planning a nice meal and noticing when she is upset and listening to what she has to say. Although, Mithila is right too. The day to day stuff only works if someone is planning.
The show is showing us something that the characters haven’t quite seen yet. Dhruv uses the metaphor of a soccer team who won against all odds because they had the right chemistry. He is trying to get at the idea of them being better together than apart but can’t quite say it right. The episode shows it to us, the observers.