Laapata Ladies: 6 Money Lessons From Kiran Rao Movie

This lovely movie offers many life and investing lessons. It’s a refreshing take on what it means to be oneself and deal with all kinds of relationships.
Laapata Ladies: 6 Money Lessons From Kiran Rao Movie

What if you lose your wife? It’s a fairly precarious situation. As this could lead to losing both your cow whom you could control with all your might, and the wealth that she brings with her. In Kiran Rao’s movie “Laapata Ladies,’ we see exactly this misogyny playing out, as two innocent newly-wed brides or dulhans get lost in different places, and then they eventually find themselves on a stronger footing. They get lost as they are both veiled, which is symbolic of the way women always have to keep their inner selves hidden all the time to be aligned with societal norms and rules. And the movie proceeds as the veil slowly gets lifted to reveal their true selves- uninhibited and unrestrained. And money and finance certainly plays a big part in this entire process of liberation, as it always does, 

If you watch the movie deeply, here are some money lessons you might come across:

Do Not Blindly Trust Anyone: The movie shows when a bride is going to her in-law’s place, how she needs to cover her face up to her knee with a veil and follow her husband blindly. This is how society expects women to follow in the footsteps of their husbands, without questioning. But in the process, a lot of them get duped or become victims of fraud or circumstances. Hence, in the financial world too, even as a small investor, you must not trust anyone blindly. You must always keep your ears, and eyes wide open, and speak out as and when it's necessary. You must watch out for any signs of cheating or negligence on anyone’s part, whether it’s your in-laws, husband, or business partner. Most of all, be very aware and vigilant. Read through any important document, and terms and conditions carefully before signing any agreement, or making any investment. 

Education Is Important: It’s a sad situation when Phool, a young, lost bride in the movie, says that she didn't know her in-law’s village’s name. She has only learned to cook and clean from her parents and be a good bahu at her in-law’s place. On the other hand, Jaya, the other lost bride, was way ahead, was educated, and was keen to study further. In fact, Jaya says that she had topped an entrance exam that 800 boys and 86 girls took. In the end, we see, that Jaya gets out of her marriage to pursue her higher education. It’s important for women to have a similar mindset to stand on their own feet, focus on education, and be self-reliant. Or less, they might end up getting stuck in a loveless marriage with a drunk, abusive, uneducated husband that Jaya got married to. 

Be Aware Of Streedhan: It’s important for women to be aware of ‘streedhan’ or the material assets given to a woman by her parents at the time of her marriage- it may include money, jewellery, land, or utensils. Emphasizing married women’s rights on streedhan, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said that streedhan cannot become joint property of a couple, and a husband has no control over his wife’s assets, which he may use during times of distress and must return to her. In the movie, Jaya runs away with her jewellery, as she is aware of the fact that this is something given by her parents, and this could help her on her journey ahead to education and freedom. She could keep it to herself and only use it when it’s absolutely needed. In the movie, she is also shown to once step out and sell her gold bangle, to send money orders to her elder sister, who is her biggest supporter and cheerleader, so that she could pay her college and hostel fees. Moreover, with the money she could also buy her bus tickets from Murti to Patna, Patna to Delhi, and Delhi to Dehradun, to be able to reach her institute where she planned to do her academic course. 

Make Use Of Whatever Skills You Have To Be Self-Reliant: It’s important for women to be self-reliant, with whatever skills they have. In the movie, Manju Maai said that women can do pretty much everything- right from growing vegetables, cooking them, giving birth to children, and raising them- if you look at it- women don't really need men for most things- but if women come to know this, men would be in trouble. She said that the entire conditioning process that women have to go through is actually due to this kind of fraud in society. Later in the movie, Manju Maai gives her the money she earned due to Kalakand, the sweet she made that was selling very well. And thereon, Phool decided to do something of her own, when she returned to her in-law’s place. 

Leap Of Faith: Time and again in the movie we see, how Jaya just grabbed that opportunity she got that fateful night when she stepped off the train with another man, to reclaim her life. It was a huge risk, that could cost her, her life, and her reputation, but she still decided to do it, as she wanted to invest in a better future. That is what investors also do. They invest in an idea or a business by envisioning the possibility it holds. Without this leap of faith, no big achievement is ever possible. 

You Must Always Give To Be Able To Get: The more you give to the world, the world will give you back as much. We see how Jaya, even while staying at another person’s house in a village, while stealthily preparing for her future, was taking time out to give to them, whether by helping them with getting rid of the insects from the crop or making posters to find Phool- through which she got eventually found, or by making Phool’s sister-in-law laugh and befriend her, who would stay morose most of the time as her husband stayed away in the city. Lastly, when the police officer helped her, she left pieces of her jewellery, which were also symbols of her marriage, with him. 

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