“As people, you and I are quite ordinary.
We are not ultra-special. We are not superstars”
The Netflix show Little Things is a breath of fresh air in its representation of modern day romance. The little things in life are what makes an otherwise ordinary life worth living. A lot of the simple joys are lost in our quest for the extraordinary when there is, in fact, a lot of charm and magic in the most ordinary and everyday lives.
Little Things started as a web series, and is now on Netflix and available to a wide global audience. Little Things chronicles the lives of Kavya and Dhruv, a young 20-something couple, as they try and find their footing in India’s entertainment and financial capital Mumbai. The show is simple, relaxed, and comfortable. There is an easy camaraderie that exists between the pair which only adds to the show seeming more real than scripted. Relationships are not a bed of roses and require a lot of hard work, and Kavya and Dhruv are unabashed in showing us the messy fights and squabbles, the tense social situations, and the doubts and questions about the relationship. They also show us why their relationship works and it lies in the small things, repeated and clichéd as that may sound. It is the day to day gestures, the simplest considerations, that bring the magic into their relationship. Whether it is Dhruv sending Kavya biryani when she was having a bad day at work, or when it was Kavya buying Dhruv his favourite football club’s tie for his friend’s wedding.
Romantic Comedies dupe us into having unreal expectations of what and how love is. In real life you do not get James Dean standing outside your window with a boom-box playing a love song; troubles do not magically vanish once the man of your dreams, a.k.a Ryan Gosling returns your love for him, and running into the sunset just sounds exhausting at this point. As Dhruv observed, “ we are not superstars” and the more we remove this undue pressure we place on ourselves to live these fantastic, perfect, exciting lives, we’ll probably be much happier. The first episode of the show starts off with Dhruv and Kavya trying to have an exciting Sunday for social media’s sake. Their Sunday was pictured as happy and cheerful on Kavya’s Instagram handle when it was far from it, and in the end, ending the night watching a movie is what brought the day more peace than anything else. How many times have we lived for Instagram instead for ourselves? Those instances captured are rarely ever our best moments.
The show may focus on the little things that make our relationships, but it has a bigger statement to make in terms of the social conventions it attempts to poke at. First and foremost, it has an unmarried Indian couple living together with non-interfering parents or neighbours. There is no judgmental landlord or nosey neighbour in sight, and while we have only met Kavya’s mother, it is mentioned that Dhruv’s parents are also aware that the two are living together. Live-in couples in India are definitely more prominent now, but there is a certain social convention that still exists and it is not the most accepted living arrangement, especially so by landlords and disapproving neighbours.
In season 2 of the series, Kavya becomes the breadwinner of the house, a situation worthy of shaking the foundation of patriarchy and one that would make most men uncomfortable. A good example of this was when Dhruv’s friend visited and was visibly upset, and voiced his disapproval at Kavya picking up the check at dinner. There is an adjustment from the couple’s end as well, as they figure out their new dynamics and while it adds a certain strain to the relationship, it (so far) is not a deal-breaker. It is these conventions and several more that Little Things touches on and allows to unravel in a natural way, almost unforced, as if to not make a bigger deal of things that otherwise are.
The honesty and realness of the show are what I appreciate most about the series. It is not a spectacular show with the most radical script, but its depiction of real relationships and ordinariness is sometimes all you long for, especially after a long day. The manner in which it disregards certain orthodox and traditional norms with an almost careless shrug is also something that makes it stand apart just that little bit more. The only possibly unbelievable factor in the relationship is two regular twenty-year-olds renting an apartment of that size in Mumbai!
Author: Camilla Lyndem
Camilla Ann Lyndem is a Staff Writer. Based in Bengaluru, she is a graduate of St.Stephen’s College, Delhi, where she completed her Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree in English Literature.Although a hardcore liberal arts student, she enjoys coding and has worked on building smart models, including a smart irrigation system (take that, CS students).