How can watching something painful actually help someone in pain?

I had no idea what to expect from Neerja – but it turned out to be a cathartic experience. I identified with the mother and wanted to cry – aloud, even before anything began. The way Shabana Azmi wakes the daughter up, hating to wake her when she seemed to so need that sleep; then gladly letting her sleep just a little longer, snuggling up beside her, watching her asleep, her head on the pillow. I wanted the moments to last forever.

Shabana Azmi seemed to have experienced the scene, or the love – or else she is just a fantastic actor. Reminded me of another similar scene in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. where she has lost her family in an accident and here too she was equally relatable.

Even the mundane – the daughter teasing the mother for the way she dances, the clowning and the camaraderie. The everyday life I was so complacently content with and expected to last a lifetime. I cried at the unfairness of it all, but along with sadness and exhaustion I also felt a lightness.

I could hear other viewers crying too. What were their thoughts? How would I have found this movie if it was not seeing myself on the screen?

The family learns about the hijack and while they wait for information, It was us outside the ICU again, reassuring ourselves, insistently, that all would be well. The desperate hope that buying a yellow outfit could influence what they would soon learn… I wanted to reach out and hold their hands – tell them I understood.

The way the mother looks afterwards. Stunned. Dishevelled. The little girls walking to school. A photo album on her lap. It was like meeting a mother in our Child Loss support group. I wish. .. really wish I could meet this mother. 

I shared all of this on our group – In Our Hearts Forever and realised not everybody felt the same way. My husband too refused to watch this movie. Affirms what I have said earlier – the only person who can decide what works for them is the person experiencing the loss. 

The Voice.
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

Related Posts:

Talaash: Lakh duniya kahe

In our hearts forever.

Why I liked ‘Rabbit Hole’.

“Grieving parents behave in a different manner. ”

The right way to grieve.

When we surprise ourselves.


11 thoughts on “Neerja.

  1. So true !! Every person grieves in their own way and I am saddened that society expects us to get over it or not show that emotion out in the open. Recently someone said to me ” Didn’t ur son die 10 yrs ago ? if you are still sad abt it you need to see a psychiatrist or maybe have another kid.” It brought back fresh wave of pain and I felt it as acutely as the loss. People can be insensitive at times. Reading your post made so much of sense to me.. I haven’t watched the movie yet.. but Hugs to you..


  2. Dear IHM,
    hugs for you and a lot of strength.
    the movie indeed was cathartic for me. I lost three people last month – my grandfather, my close friend and a fellow colleague. all at different stages of life,

    my grandfather – who had lived his life fully, though full of hardships was content. He knew his time had come, he refused to leave his house even for hospital and we had to wish him. His house full of stuff that he never wanted to part away looks like a museum now.

    My friend – who had come to india after 4 years with her 1.5 year old child. While i had not spoken to her for so long, the news of her accident and later her death came as a wake up call for me. It was like someone punched my hard in my guts and shook me. I plan everything in life and in that planning, work takes precedence. I am making an effort to be with my family – for me and for them.

    My colleague who celebrated his birthday two days before his death. an example of perfect family with his wife and a 9 year old child. there was no personal connect, but i felt dearly for his family. May be because I was in a different zone.

    I value life now much more, but i also am scared to the core. I call up my mother more often. But still my eyes well up each time i talk/ think about it. I dont know when i will be alright.

    Neerja’s mother’s experience reminded me of my friend’s mother – who waited for her daughter for ten days outside ICU, my mother who prepared her mother for a journey where she will not have my grandfather to support and my colleague’s wife who actually never got a chance to even prepare!


  3. Dear IHM and others,

    Like your husband, I don’t intend to watch the film. I think it will trigger memories that I am trying not to recall. I have not been able to share much with others but I have benefited immensely from reading on the topic and would like to share the name of a book that I found most helpful. It is called ‘The other side of sadness’ authored by Prof. George A. Bonanno


  4. IHM,
    (((((Hugs)))), I have nothing more to say. Tejaswi is a star shining bright up there. I have been following your blog for close to 6 years.

    Take care,


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