The last couple of weeks have been absolute mayhem, torture and have turned my life topsy-turvy in every manner possible. But as they say that system is born from chaos:
A few nights ago I had a really odd dream. I was living with my ex on good terms with him and also his family. The dream followed all the routines my life did when for the first few days things seemed good. In my dream my ex was preparing for his GMAT and I had the brilliant idea to prepare along with him but was confused as how to go about with the preparation process. So after this (hold your breath) the golden words of advice came from none other than my ex “start at the beginning”.
I had this dream the day my divorce case in the courts went crazy and the Family Court Judge wanted me to go back to my ex despite knowing the abuse and violence I was subjected to. The Indian courts and the society has a very funny way of victimizing the victims and not ostracizing the perpetrators of crimes against women. So basically for the Judge I was an uncultured, uncouth and ill-mannered woman (mind you, not lady) to be asking for a divorce from my husband who provided a roof on my head, clothed me and fed me despite the regular instances of domestic violence. These according to the Judge are obligations from my ex to me and not basic human rights which must be provided to everyone.
I listened to this lecture for 45 minutes seething in anger all the while and finally came to the decision that I will not tolerate this humiliation and nonsense anymore. I walked out of an abusive situation earlier and I chose not to remain in another. This essentially means that I will not be bothered about what turns my divorce case takes anymore. I also do not care if my ex gets out a decree against me. I do not need an idiotic judge telling me whether I am sane or not or even whether I am a good or bad person.
My life has been restructured since and I have decided to go back to school to upgrade my skills which I will require to survive in the corporate world. So as of today I will be starting school from next month and working at the same time to build my life- this time completely on my terms. I am also taking a holiday next week to remove every remnant of stress, tension, depression, pain and frustration from my system. I need a fresh start and a clean slate. This break will provide me exactly that.
So I start at the beginning after advice from my subconscious conveyed strangely and ironically through my ex!
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.
I have known what I wanted in life for quite sometime, ever since I realized that it was a home bound life which gives me the maximum and lasting pleasure and happiness than any career advances. Hence my list of goals for my ideal future included a happy marriage, a loving household and kids. Slowly and steadily I put my plans into action only to have the very first one blow up right in my face. So now when I dream about my future I am reanalyzing and re-prioritizing the things I want. Moreover given my unwanted and unpleasant situation revaluation is the need of the hour.
The future I desire still includes a happy marriage but now that is ‘if possible’ and definitely not numero uno on my list but a loving household and kids are moving up slowly on the list. For many months now I have been toying with the idea of either adopting, even though I would love to have kids of my own. However India sadly has still not legalized artificial insemination for single mothers.
I look enviously at my peers who have kids or are on the family way, imagining their boundless joy of being able to hold their children in their arms, rock them to sleep, watch them grow up and find their way through the hurdles of lives all the while finding oodles of joy in their beautiful, loving smiles. The sight of children playing outside in the evenings makes me wonder about the time I am wasting in the stupid if not insulting and pointless divorce case while I my body is slowly exhausting its fertility. Even if I find the right guy who will be a loving partner and father, I hope it is not too late by then. I have come across way too many emotionally distressing stories about women who have waited too long and found it difficult to get pregnant, to remain optimistic about waiting for the right guy. What if it is too late by then?
So till I reevaluate my life I can only dream about a child I might have and boundless love I am waiting to shower on my child and provide the best of everything that life has to offer.
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.