Yet again, the show fills in backstory and it makes you go “yeah, that seems right” as though it had been written all along. Because maybe it had, they just hadn’t filmed it yet. (Little Things Review index here)
This show is openly about an ordinary love story. So we get the flashbacks to what created our two lead characters and their relationship, and it is ordinary too. There is no magical mirroring between them, and nothing they went through would break them for life. It’s just the normal texture you get as you grow up, the normal things that make you who you are.
Dhruv first thought about marriage as a little boy when he learned about the concept, then was a teen with a crush on an older girl at school, then a college student with a first relationship that fell apart, and then met Mithila. Mithila was a little girl who first learned about marriage, then a teen who talked with a neighbor who was happily single, then a college student breaking up with her first love, and then met Dhruv. Nothing dramatic, nothing horrible, nothing unusual. But what they bring with them affects how they see this joint question now, should we get married?
For Dhruv, these relationships have been stress and pain and rejection. As a little boy, the groom tried to smile for the camera, but jokingly-honestly complained about marriage to Dhruv. Then he approached the older girl at school, and that was scarey. And finally, his college girl friend breaking up with him in a hurtful harmful way that we can see still resonates with how he relates to Mithila. It’s made him a better boyfriend most of the time, extra worried about listening to and respecting her needs, but it has also made him vulnerable in certain ways.
For Mithila, these relationships have been things that hold her back. I’m really interested in the choice to show her at the same age that Dhruv had his first crush and began to experience the desire for a connection and fear of rejection, Mithila befriended their single neighbor and her dog and learned about the possibility of a happy single life. For Mithila, a love relationship is something she sees as a choice, she can take it or leave it behind. For Dhruv, it is something he wants but has no control over whether or not he gets it.
Both of them were most affected by their one serious relationship before their relationship with each other, but we need to start at childhood to see what they brought into those relationships before we can understand why they went wrong and how that is affecting them today. Dhruv’s college girlfriend broke up with him because she didn’t like him. He was too smart, he said weird things, she didn’t understand him, it was too much work. Dhruv was left feeling rejected, like something was wrong with him, and like no one would ever actually like him again. We see now why he is so extremely willing to have hurtful conversations, to listen to Mithila’s concerns and respond to them, to keep up his side of the relationship. Terrible that he had to go through that (and that she did as well, I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt that this was her first break up too and she didn’t know how to say things well), but it made him a wiser man in the end.
Mithila didn’t intend to break up with her boyfriend. It just kind of happened, she got a place in a grad school program in Bombay and was excited to go and her boyfriend was upset because he thought they would be married soon and now she is leaving town, and it spiraled out until they broke up. For Mithila, it wasn’t choosing not to marry him, it was choosing to pursue her dreams. She still loved her boyfriend, but she loved herself more. It took her out of that relationship with a strong sense that she needed to put herself first, even if there was a price to pay for it. And that it isn’t fair to spring things on your partner (in this case, telling her boyfriend after she had already started planning her move to Bombay), better to know what she wants and say it immediately.
And so Dhruv and Mithila met each other, he prepared to always ask what she is thinking and listen to her answers, and her prepared to always tell the truth about what she is feeling and why. That is a good thing. It is a big part of why their relationship is so strong now. But Dhruv also came into it with an insecurity that he is just too strange, too smart too different to ever be loved for himself. That at some point she will stop loving him. That’s bad. And Mithila came into it with a fear that commitment and marriage and everything else would mean the end of her individualism, that she will always have to choose between her needs and the needs of the relationship. That’s bad.
Which brings us to the present day. Dhruv wakes Mithila up with a ring and she freaks out and goes to a closet. And Dhruv calms her down by explaining that this is actually a non-proposal proposal. He got the ring, and he started thinking about it, and he realized that right now he finally feels clear on his career, on what he wants and what makes him happy, and he really needs to just be there with that right now and not think about anything else in live. This is a big thing for Dhruv, both to know what he wants and to feel comfortable putting his relationship with Mithila on the backburner while he pursues it. The Dhruv of the college relationship, or even of last season, would not have had the clarity that marriage is something he absolutely does not want.
And Mithila has a big thing in her own reaction. First, she admits this is something she has thought about, even though they both said “we haven’t thought about it” when asked. Secretly she thought about how he would ask her, what she would say, and so on. Only know that it is happening, kind of, she doesn’t know what she is feeling or what she wants. She knows she doesn’t want this only she isn’t sure why. This is a big thing for Mithila too. She always knows what she wants, and can explain it. But here it is all confusion for her. The remarkable thing is that she is willing to share that confusion with Dhruv, knowing it will upset him.
They are both doing wonderful jobs growing as individuals right here, but it’s not very pleasant for the other person involved. Dhruv is left to wonder what terrible terrifying reason Mithila might have for not wanting to get married, and Mithila is left with the knowledge that, right now, she comes second in Dhruv’s life. Where do we go from here?