The Fleeting Satisfaction of Revenge

Revenge they say is a dish best served cold. This dish becomes even colder and fraught with every ounce of bitterness you can garner, in case the revenge is against a betraying and cheating spouse.

I too started out on my path of recovering from the betrayal of not just my ex but his entire family, swearing revenge in every form I could. I have always strongly believed that-

Nothing can inspire forgiveness quite like revenge.- Scott Adams.

But the experiences ever since I started out on my path of revenge have taught me that revenge can never be enough. Through the days of suffering of my ex and his family, because of many things I quietly set into motion, I was never satisfied with practically anything. I would find myself feeling satisfied for just a few minutes and then again restless at what I could do next, to increase their sufferings to match what they had put me through. But what could I do to make them suffer to the extent of what they put me through for a year, one against six of their family, with scars that would last for a lifetime?

Honestly, nothing. Even if I tormented them for the rest of their lives it would mean nothing to me. This started the process of realization which also jolted me into seriously thinking about my life. Did I really want to spend the rest of my life plotting and scheming against them? During this time I was also hooked to the primetime soap opera Revenge. Anything mentioning ‘revenge’ during this time and I would be hooked. As the show progressed I started questioning myself even more about whether I really wanted a life like Emily Thorne, the protagonist of the show? Even though the answer was clear, my mind was disturbed with another thought. What was I without the revenge? What would I be after the revenge? The answer was clear and extremely disturbing- nothing better than my ex, a person who plots and schemes to destroy someone else’s life and in the process destroys his own life.

Floundering like a survivor adrift in the sea I started looking for something to give my life meaning to go on. Embarrassingly I even Googled ‘how to get the best revenge?’ The answer which I had known for long stared at me through every search result-live your life well, do not give others the satisfaction of watching you suffer.

Following this unfortunately takes a lot of time and effort especially if you have lived your life doing for others, looking for happiness by making others happy and admonishing yourself if the other person is not happy. This made me learn that the hardest thing is often saying sorry to yourself and loving yourself, sometimes even putting yourself before others. Nonetheless, stumbling and faltering on a path that was completely new to me, I started on a journey to live my life for myself for the first time.

At first, it was difficult, to say the least, but slowly as I found my footing, things got easier. Within months my appetite was back and more importantly my peace of mind. I could sleep peacefully at night, enjoy my hobbies once again and also enjoy shows/movies that did not center around revenge. Given the short span of my marriage, there were times I feel as if it never happened. Though I refuse to let this prevail, since no healing can be complete if one has not accepted reality or wishes to completely ignore the hurtful episode.

I had started not just living my life, but enjoying it, despite the fact that in the courts I was still fighting for it against all odds including character assassination. Then came a time when for the first time since the separation I came face to face with my ex and his family. I could see them from a distance waiting eagerly to see if the divorce had taken a toll on me or my family. Their eyes searched for signs of depression, frustration, weight loss, despair, hurt, anything.

But there I was, happy,  plump-if not overweight, pampered by my family, confident and completely at peace with the happenings around me. On the other hand, what my ex’s eyes searched for in me, astonishingly I saw it clearly in him- sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, weight loss, tensions, bickering within the family, despair and frustration.

That is when it hit me that despite everything I had done to them in the previous year to make them hurt nothing surpassed the feeling of being able to live my life on my terms, in a way I wanted right in front of their eyes. This was the best revenge ever-living the life they so badly wanted to snatch from me, and surprisingly the satisfaction remained, for now my life will continue even after the court cases are long over.

3 Steps to Survive During the Divorce Proceedings

Legal proceedings in India are laborious if not frustrating and ancient. Hence having a survival plan during the divorce proceedings is extremely important. This is the time when your life is hanging by a thread, since you are neither married nor divorced and you might tend to postpone any major plans of revamping your life to the future i.e, post-divorce. But be wary since the postponement period could be nothing less than a year given the time it normally takes to get a divorce in India.

Hence the first step for survival is to be careful about what you believe. You might have the best lawyer who will promise you your divorce in six months but be prepared to make regular trips to the Family Courts for at least a year which might extend in case you are unfortunate to land yourself in a highly contested divorce. The lawyers in the Family Courts are there to milk your emotional anguish through adjournments and ineffective judgments so bracing yourself for a prolonged legal battle is the need of the hour.

I started out thinking that I would be divorced by early 2013 only to readjust my view and hope that I should be divorced by at least end of this year. Since the time I decided that I would divorce my ex I started putting every plan on hold right from buying evening wear to taking a holiday. Divorce proceedings are unfortunately not just emotionally exhausting but also financially diminishing. Hence every penny that I earn is locked up in my account to be spent on getting my freedom.

The combination of constrained finances and frustratingly slow progress in the Family Court can be excruciating to the say the least. To add to my multiplying woes, since I filed, my ex has dragged the case to at least two higher courts making me run to three different cities in a span of eight months. But through all this I learnt the hard way that you simply cannot put your life on hold till such time you get a piece of paper in your hand which symbolizes what you have known for months if not years.

So the third and most essential step of survival is to live your life as you want to after being legally divorced. Even though you might not be able to take on extravagant expenses (I am still looking longingly at the DSLR I have been eyeing for almost 2 years now), ensuring the small pleasures by treating yourself to a nice meal or a day at the spa goes a long way in refreshing and rejuvenating yourself to face another spate of long and arduous battles in the courts.

Giving yourself small and quality bundles of pleasure and joy will help you remain calm and composed irrespective of how long the legal quagmire lasts in your life. So when life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show that you can survive and smile for thousand other reasons.

Family Courts: Hell on Earth

Family Courts are ideally supposed to be places of justice to solve family disputes and help warring couples separate to move on with their lives, but this picture is just that-ideal. In reality Family Courts are nothing short of hell. They are dark, gloomy and ill-boding buildings or rather black-holes, into which once you are sucked it is difficult to get out. It is thus not surprising that in India people do not wish to fall into the trap of the police and the judicial system.

Here you will find separated parents and children meeting each other in the midst of criminal being brought handcuffed for trials which take years if not decades to be wrapped up. God forbid if you find yourself in a contested divorce like me, you will find yourself spending the complete day of the hearing in the court complex where there are no decent washrooms,  every corner is liberally stained with red betel juice and you will be slowly drawn into the hierarchy of bribery that exists openly. Should you be a person of principles and strictly against bribing you can simply forget about getting your divorce in your lifetime.

The day I filed for my divorce I expected to be divorced within 6-7 months but now after seeing the workings of the Family Court and speaking to other unfortunate litigants I am grudgingly accepting the reality of having to make rounds of the court complex for another few months, god forbid years. This coupled with a Judge who refuses to take any decision whatsoever even if it is a minor thing as providing interim maintenance, frustration is a euphemism for what I am feeling right now. I cannot even imagine the plight of women who are far less fortunate than me and require the assistance of the court to live in a dignified manner.

In a country where the laws are pro-women it is unfortunate to see that the thinking is otherwise especially when a wife is not even considered equal to the husband in terms of financial compensation. Many a times, wives are provided with a maintenance which is a pittance and less than what the husband pays the servants of his house. So while I am tortured at every instance seeing my tormentors go free, laughing, cracking jokes at my expense and simply living life as if nothing happened I am left pleading for my life before I see my youth washed away in the quagmire of scheming lawyers, judges and the opposite party.