Dice Media’s Little Things is made up of anything but. In fact, it touches upon matters of such gravitas, and with such light-hearted ease, that it leaves you stunned and staggered with the wealth of meaning packed into its eight, 30-minute short episodes.
If S2 of Little Things saw its young protagonists, live-in couple Kavya Kulkarni (Mithila Palkar) and Dhruv Vatsa (Dhruv Sehgal), go from being the free-spirited youngsters with stars in their eyes of S1, to gradually-maturing individuals embarking together on a journey of growth, evolution and self-discovery, S3 takes them even further in this journey that began in S2. It makes them realize that loving a person isn’t only about being together and sharing everything with them. It means allowing them to grow as a person, even as you grow along with your partner.
And this they realize while dodging the various curve balls life throws at them, the most precarious one being the six-month enforced separation they go through, courtesy Dhruv accepting an assignment as a research assistant at a prestigious institute in Bangalore. Despite everyone reminding them long-distance relationships barely last, the couple braves out those six months with their love seemingly intact. In the process, they learn quite a few things about themselves.
Dhruv learns that being in the relatively quieter climes, invigorating weather and intellectually-stimulating company of Bangalore does a world of good to his productivity. He realises that Bangalore is his ‘happy place’, where he discovers the joy of doing the things that he loves. Though he does miss Kavya, he’s happy being in Bangalore, being with the bunch of new friends he’s made.
Kavya discovers that there’s a world outside of Dhruv that she must explore; that there is loads of stuff she can do and enjoy with her bunch of colleagues-turned-friends, without the omnipresence of Dhruv in her life. Initially, separation from Dhruv hits her hard. She’s lonely, she’s clueless, she’s scared. She sleeps with lights on for the first one month that he’s gone. She cries, she fights with him–yes, even long-distance–over petty things, and she’s frankly miserable. At work, a treasured account, one that’s practically her baby as she’s nurtured it since inception, is taken away from her, thereby intensifying her misery.
But gradually, Kavya settles down into her new, away-from-Dhruv existence. She finds happiness outside of their relationship, in simply hanging out with her friends, going for relaxed karaoke nights, stand-up gigs and so on.
Of course, it takes her a couple of episodes and tons of misery to realise these home truths, but by the end of those two episodes, she too finds her ‘happy place’. Surprisingly, her happy place isn’t Mumbai with Dhruv and her new-found friendships. Her happy place is in Nagpur, her hometown. It is in the familiarity of things and people known to her since childhood, in being close to her parents, knowing that she’s close by whenever the need to care for them strikes.
This season also explores the fractured relationships the two share with their parents. While Kavya’s relationship with her parents isn’t a tense one per se, her outlook towards marriage is coloured by the numerous fights she’s witnessed them having as a child. For her, married life is nothing but fights, arguments, blame-games and enormous expectations, and all because of the turmoil she’s witnessed as a child.
All that changes, however, when on a whirl-wind trip to Nagpur, she realises that her parents are no longer young. A beloved pet’s impending passing away due to old age aggravates her fear for her parents’ health, and she makes a life-altering decision by the end of the season.
Every episode of the season leaves you floundering to make sense of your own place in life, and takes your breath away with the simplicity and profoundness of its implication
A particularly moving episode explores Dhruv’s dysfunctional relationship with his parents, something that every youngster will relate to. On a short trip to Delhi, his hometown, Dhruv loses his cool at his mom several times. The feeling of being burdened by his parents’ expectations over the years–regarding studies, career and finally marriage–pushes him over the edge and all his pent-up anger bursts forth on his poor mother, and for no fault of hers.
Her parting sentence – “You kids talk to your friends about everything amiably, but if we parents say something, we’re made out to be villains”, was telling. Come to think of it, it’s a fact with every youngster in the world today – friends have replaced parents as the millennial’s comfort zone, shoulder to lean on, keeper of secrets and everything in between.
This is especially true for youngsters who stay away from home for years together, first for studies, then for a career. As Dhruv’s mother asks him, “you may not relate to this house, but do you even not relate to us, your parents?”. It was one of the most poignant scenes in the entire season, one that every millennial will relate to with ease.
In that way, Season 3 shows us a different side of Dhruv, one that is not entirely likeable. He is irritable, short-tempered, throws the pettiest taunts at Kavya, lashes out at one of her friends all because his views don’t match with Dhruv’s, and a zillion other shortcomings. He’s an essentially flawed hero – and therein lies the strength of the show and its writing.
Gone are the days when leading men were infallible heroes, idols, Greek Gods and masters of all they surveyed. Today’s leading men have feet of clay, are as human and imperfect as the rest of us, and eminently lacking in superhero qualities. That is also the reason they stay with us long after the show is over. For the uninitiated, Dhruv Sehgal is also the writer of all three seasons of Little Things.
Season 3 also touches upon infinite facets of human nature and teaches you crucial realisms. When a childhood friend, one you would always beat at school, makes it big in life, it hurts your ego like nothing else does. Similarly, what is joy for one may be anathema for another. One must accept that everyone thinks differently, has different likes and is wired differently. And lastly, but most importantly, that it’s ok to put your ego aside to make things work to your benefit.
In one passing scene, the series touches upon the streak of individualism in today’s youngsters, by drawing an analogy with Japan, where apparently, marriage rates have been falling consistently over the years. Are Indian youngsters going down that very lane? Well, the situation is not as dire as in Japan, but is increasingly being manifested in gen-next.
Every episode of the season leaves you floundering to make sense of your own place in life, and takes your breath away with the simplicity and profoundness of its implication. Little Things S3 continues in the same vein as the previous two seasons – with lengthy heart-to-heart talks between Kavya and Dhruv, which tell us, simply and guilelessly – the healthiest relationship is that which gives both partners freedom – the freedom to grow, evolve and soar to the highest peak of their potential.
And both do grow and mature. Kavya’s growth as a person is demonstrated by her budding willingness to delegate work to her subordinates, something that was simply not possible for the old Kavya, given that she was always the kind of person who liked to keep the reins in her hand. Dhruv, on the other hand, is more willing to accept the reality, albeit reluctantly, that his partner may not like to share every single thing with him. In the end, he gives in somewhat, but we believe, it will take another season for him to accept the fact whole-heartedly.
Dhruv Sehgal and Mithila Palkar are the heart, soul and spirit of the series. It’s hard to imagine any other actors as Dhruv and Kavya. Their easy chemistry enthralls and pulls us into the goings-on. Mi thilaPalkar has an easy charm to her demeanour, while her dialogue delivery is utterly natural, with nary an iota of make-believe.
Dhruv Sehgal is brilliant. We don’t know whom to applaud more- Dhruv, the writer; or Dhruv, the actor. His writing is replete with gazillion subtle nuances; writing that is as starkly simple as it is complex. Dhruv, the actor, is a revelation. No OTT melodrama, no pretence and no hamming– just plain ol’ straight-from-the-heart acting. Dhruv is endearing, adorable and a delight to watch. His million-watt smile is his USP, and he uses it to devastating effect.
Directors Ruchir Arun and Sumit Arora display immeasurable finesse in helming this season. They paint the canvas of Dhruv and Kavya’s story in stellar, masterful strokes of deft direction.
We would like to make special mention of the music of the series. The music is a splendid appendage to the series, adding a refined charm to the ambience. The mellow notes and evocative words awaken within us feelings that intensely appeal, as much as they tease and tantalise.
If Season 1 and 2 of Little Things were relatable to its largely millennial audiences, Season 3 of Little Things will make you feel as if the various moments taking place in Kavya and Dhruv’s lives have been plucked out from pages of your own past and present.
It drives home several truths, which may seem unpalatable at first, like a condescending adult giving ‘gyaan’ to the harried, new-age millennial. But when conveyed with the earnest honesty of Kavya and Dhruv, it doesn’t seem like gyaan, but like very sound advice, the kind that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling within, and at the same time, makes you reflect upon a few time-tested certainties of life.
Little Things Season 3 is a not-to-be-missed season. Watch it this weekend, if you still haven’t.
In the meanwhile, 3/5 is our rating for Little Things Season 3.