Ten Life Lessons I Learnt From The Movie ‘Neerja’

Here are 10 life lessons from Neerja, the movie, that are very important for everyone.

Here are 10 life lessons from Neerja, the movie, that are very important for everyone.

Family, our source of strength

I just loved Neerja’s family. The bonding, the affection that was depicted was very touching. I am sure the nurturing environment which her family provided went a long way in building her character. The relationship between parents and children and the relationship between siblings, plays a huge role in providing an individual the necessary encouragement and security which only a family unit can give.

Amidst all the talk in the modern world of being an ‘independent woman’, ‘being a grown-up girl’, the subtle things like Neerja’s mom insisting on packing her lunch, or her father calling her the ‘bahadur baccha’ brought out the most innocent aspects of these relationships. Sometimes just knowing that our family is there for us no matter what is a major source of support for us and we never really ‘grow up’ for our family.

Stand-up for what is right

Most of the times in different life situations we are aware of what is right and wrong. We know that abuse of any kind in any relationship is just not acceptable. Yet we tend to accept this wrong as if it is a passing phase.

Taking the right step at the right time can go a long way in changing the course of our life. By terminating her abusive marriage at the earliest stage and pursuing her dreams, Neerja’s story is as much about courage as it is about decisiveness.

Your elders love you. Love them back.

Parents, in-laws, chachu-chachi, mama-mami, bua-buaji, the friendly neighbourhood aunty/uncle, our teachers – this species, that we refer to as the ‘older generation’ – has a lot of love and affection for us. Their blessings and good wishes can play a major role in building our self-esteem.

I still remember the kind words of appreciation from my teachers. During the times I feel low or ‘not up to something’ I just recollect their encouraging words and it instantly uplifts my spirits. These people who have seen us grow, probably know certain aspects of our nature/personality which a partner/colleague will never know as they have only seen us as a ‘grown-up’.

Take help/Co-opt

Often we do not ask for help. In trying times, silence is assumed to be a valiant virtue and practiced by many. In our personal/professional lives we tend to fight certain battles alone, which could be tactfully overcome/overpowered if we seek help and support from the right people at the right time.

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Neerja reaches out to her colleagues, the passengers, she even co-opts the terrorists for passenger safety. Involving people in mitigating a crisis can lead to better resolutions.

Perseverance is the key

She tried different means to ensure the safety of her passengers. If talking to the terrorists did not help, she changed her strategy. She tried multiple times and at multiple levels. In such stressful times she persevered to tackle the challenges and did not resign to the situation if one trial did not work out.

Keep calm

It is ok to cry, feel scared, tremble, sweat, but it is equally essential to compose yourself and rise above the immediate effects of a stressful situation. What made Neerja stand apart from others (colleagues and passengers) was her ability to rise above the ‘terror’ of the ‘terrorists’.

She was equally scared, nervous, anxious yet she chose to live those emotions (shots of her crying, panicking clearly show that she wasn’t immune to these emotions). Yet she rose above it to do what was essential at that moment. She listened attentively to figure out the next move of the terrorists, she picked up cues and planned her moves. Her presence of mind, reflexes were maintained once she composed herself (the time she locks herself in the washroom of the aircraft) and decided to tackle the enemy head-on yet maintaining her calm.

Don’t hold back

Life truly is unpredictable isn’t it? So don’t hold back. Appreciate and express. Be as true to yourself as you can. Give that hug, share that smile, pat to your colleague for a good job done.

Sometimes, you are just so touched by a gesture or an event that you spontaneously want to hug the opposite person. But we hold back, ‘pata nai kya sochega/sochegi’. A hug can heal. There have been times I have felt like hugging random strangers for their timely help. I even wanted to hug the pilot after my first flight. Other times I have been so overwhelmed by the timely support from my family that I have been too tongue-tied each time I wanted to express my appreciation.

There is a scene in which before boarding her last flight Neerja turns back and walks up to her friend and hugs him. And this is not planned. She does this as an after-thought. This turns out to be their last hug.

Staying grounded

Neerja was a successful model and an air-hostess yet she could make time and enjoy her building party. Yes, the same party which is our major source of entertainment in the growing up years but suddenly becomes boring once we are a ‘grown up’. The people she grew up with her neighbours, and friends were very much a part of her life despite a hectic career.

I feel what is happening these days is we tend to ‘grow up’ too soon. As our exposure to the outside world increases, our interactions with the immediate environment gradually diminishes. So once we start working, we would rather bunk our building get-together and stay snuggled in our bed because we are too tired to attend it or that we are just too ‘grown up’ for it. And this happens because gradually we do not consider it important enough to engage with our neighbourhood.

The relationship between a mother-daughter and a father-daughter

These two are some of the most beautiful relationships of your life. In the modern world roles of parenting are getting merged, yet the bond that a daughter shares with her mother and the bond she shares with her father are distinct. The unconditional, selfless love that you receive from your parents is unmatched and the sooner we learn to value and appreciate it, the better. As the movie aptly reveals the unpredictability of life.

It is ordinary people who handle extra-ordinary circumstances to become a hero

Lead when needed. If you know/realize that in a particular situation you have the capacity to think differently and rise above it, then take the lead, especially when it is a matter of life and death.

Don’t sit and think “Why should I do it?”, “Why can’t the others do it?” Rise above these petty ego wars and unload the unnecessary baggage to lead by example. Your leadership can give courage to your companions and gradually work in the best interest of all.

The movie leaves a lasting impact on you and your heart really goes out to Neerja.

Image source: a still from Neerja by indianexpress.


About the Author

Lakshmi Padmanabhan

Life happens, everyday. Of everyday life stories.

12 Posts | 141,376 Views

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