5 Keys To Life That Bollywood Has Taught Me

Walking around campus, I notice pairs decorating its corners. Laughing, smiling and enjoying the warmth that they bring to each other, blossomed by the kiss of spring.

Iced Chai in hand, I find myself a comfy spot in the soft grass of various green shades, secluded by hovering trees. I can’t help but wonder why it seems that everyone around me, has found that one person. Someone to spend time with, someone to study with, someone to care about, ultimately that someone to love. Twenty-one years and I still haven’t found it. Is it because I am too afraid? Or because I’m too embarrassed of myself? Am I not confident enough, attractive enough? What is it?

Growing up surrounding by Bollywood, Urban Life, and Americans, my beauty ideal consists of blue eyes, blonde hair, tall, thin, fair-skinned and symmetrical features. I have never seen myself as beautiful. Which may be one of my biggest flaws.

Brown Eyes, medium brown skin, average height and weight. That is how I see myself. As simply average. In my world where girls like me aren’t given the time of day, how do I continue to walk around confident in myself, and all that I am? Honestly, there are days where it seems impossible. I try so hard to simply fit in, that I forget where I come from. Who I am.

Thinking back on my favorite movies growing up, I realize that the unrealistic expectations I have stem from the movies I watched. My favorites to this day are Taal, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayeng, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and really any movie that had Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan or Kajol. Every family night ended with some sort of Bollywood movie. I think my parents enjoyed them mostly because of the music, and the lack of PDA commonly seen in most Western movies. As most girls, I loved the romantic movies, the heart-wrenching ones that left you in tears. I watched in awe as the heroes swooned the heroines with smooth lines and smiles framing their dimples. I imagined that one day I would find my true love just like all the heroines did. I daydreamed of the day where I’d bump into a handsome man, and we’d lock eyes as we both bent down to pick up what I had dropped. We’d flirt a little, I’d blush and tuck my hair behind my ear, and the next scene would be us, breaking out into song. Silly, I know. But I couldn’t help but want my life to play out like the ones in the movies. To fall so passionately in love despite its heart breaks. Bollywood gave me many unrealistic expectations when it came to how life actually works. But it did teach me some invaluable lessons.

  1. The Foundation of Love Is Friendship

As Rahul says so beautifully in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,

“Pyar dosti hai … agar woh meri sab se achchi dost nahin ban sakti, to main usse kabhi pyar kar hi nahi sakta … kyun ki dosti bina toh pyar hota hi nahin … simple, pyar dosti hai.”

Love is friendship. If she can’t be my best friend, then I cannot fall in love with her. Because love cannot happen without friendship. It’s so simple: love is friendship. Friendship is the easy part. But love is difficult. A best friend sees you through your best, and your worst. They stand by you in every situation and you grow to share a very special and unique bond with them. With that being said, the best lover you’ll ever have will be your best friend.

  1. Truth Always Triumphs

In Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Raj faces many obstacles to prove his love to Simran. And as many Bollywood movies depict, love is never easy. And if it is easy, was it really true love? Love gives us the strength to break all barriers, whether it be family push backs or social class, true love always finds a way. Running from our problems may always seem like the easiest path to take, but Raj shows us that the easiest path isn’t worth it.

“Agar tum galat raaste par chaloge … toh ho sakta hai shuruvat mein tumhe bahut kamyabi mile, bahut khushiya mile … magar anth mein tumhari haar hogi … aur agar sahi raaste par chaloge … toh bhale hi shuruvat mein tumhe kadam kadam par thokarein mile, musibaton ka samna karna pade, pareshani ho … magar anth mein hamesha jeet hogi”

If you walk on the wrong path, then maybe, in the beginning, you’ll get a lot of success and happiness. But in the end, you’ll lose. But if you walk on the right path, in the beginning, you face rejection every step, you’ll face obstacles, but in the end, you’ll always win.

  1. Family Is Everything

“Hum Saath Saath Hain” and “We Are Family” taught us that family always comes first. No matter what happens or who comes into our lives, we must love, appreciate and cherish our family, and the moments which we spend with them. Even when times are rough, we must always stand by them. Because at the end of the day, they’re all we really have.

“Jisse hum jhagadte hai … pyar bhi toh sabse zyada ussi ko karte hai”

The ones with whom we fight, are the ones we love the most.

“Zindagi ko ab saalo ki jagah lamho mein ginana seekh lo”

Learn to count life in moments instead of years.

  1. Learn To Love Yourself Before You Fall In Love With Someone Else

In “Jab We Met” we learn that it is okay to love yourself. The most important kind of relationship you can have is the one with yourself. Be crazy, be free, but most importantly be happy. Enjoy this journey we call life. You are more beautiful than you think, smarter than you know, and more wonderful than you could ever imagine. Believe in yourself and all that you are, because if you don’t, who will? Being different is the most beautiful thing in the world.

“Tu original piece hai.”

You are an original piece.

And most importantly…

  1. Don’t Let Your Past Ruin Your Present Or A Beautiful Future.

One of my favorite movies to come out of the last year is “Dear Zindgai.” It is so different from many of the previous movies that have come from the industry and incredibly relatable. We live in a society that is always ready to judge us. Whether it is for being too fat, too skinny, too much of this or that. But it is up to us to learn how to not let that get us down, and in return live without judging others. Mental health is a real thing, and it isn’t something we should be embarrassed of. We are so conscious of people judging us for seeking help, that we do ourselves more damage than we realize. Believe that something wonderful is going to happen every day and leave your past where it is supposed to be. It’s holding you back, and it’s about time we all learn to put our doubts to rest. Take it all in, one day at a time and enjoy the journey. When things get rough, take a few deep breaths, pick yourself up and start all over again. That’s the beauty of life. Just like the sun that sets to rise again, we too must do so.

“Agar hum apni zindagi ka steering wheel apne haath mein nahi lenge na … toh koi doosra driver seat par baith jayega”

If we don’t take the steering wheel of our life in our own hands, then someone else will sit on the driver’s seat.

Despite growing up with unrealistic expectations when it comes to how love plays out, I still have gained some invaluable lessons from Bollywood. They’ve taught me the importance of living in moments rather than counting the years. They’ve shown me that culture is beautiful and we should never be ashamed of where we come from. And more importantly that every action should come from love. Life is too short and too precious to see it as anything but a gift. It is because of Bollywood that I’ve learned to dance in the rain, without giving a single care.

Featured Image via screengrab from Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela.


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