Book review of — Ex- FILES.
Author Vandana Shah
It was a vibrant interaction with the author that made me pick the book; it is candid, autobiographical and extremely humorous. The very quality of not moaning over woes… which made many in her circle envy her is the strength of the book.
Vandana has written about her journey from being thrown out of her married home to becoming India’s most successful divorce lawyer. What impressed me is an utter lack of bitterness. This very candid approach comes through in the book.
To me the book was more about Indian women, and people who advice her not to go in for a divorce reflect the various reasons why Indian women do not go there, very simply suddenly family and extended family become stakeholders in the marriage, the people who refuse to see physical wounds, start telling you how you being irresponsible and getting a divorce will affect your sister’s chance of getting married, etc. etc.
There are also candid observations of the Indian woman’s psyche and status despite all our hue and cry about equality the Indian woman becomes a non-person after marriage. Wives kind of become unpaid domestic help.
once divorce becomes inevitable, the social implications begin suddenly friends are wary because the woman is seen as a husband snatchee, Vandana here actually reassures the insecure wives that they need not worry about the potential divorcee as the court dismisses the divorce petition if the woman is caught having sex. Well wonder if what goes for goose goes for the gander?
Somehow people seem to accept a whining victim, but the minute a woman stands up to herself she becomes a bitch.
Then is the actual process of divorce which is highly complicated and lawyers are known to sell out. At the end of the day any petition is about two lawyers painting different pictures of the same story.
Recovery is a long haul, domestic violence be it physical or verbal makes the woman feel like a looser. She maps her recovery from the point where she consciously takes a decision to rebuild her life by elevating herself instead of pulling the other down. She talks of diets, particularly an idli diet which I found empathetic as I had used the GM diet during my recovery.
What really enjoyed in the writing, was the sense of humour, where refers to her ex-husband as “Paneer Boy,” her check to reality she uses,”Thapak” which creates an instant hand on face image, she calls her father-in-law “Prem Cheapda” Her emotional and financial state during the period of divorce as, “from catwalk to ratwalk”.
At a point she wonders if the judge will declare now I pronounce you unman and unwife and you may kick the…. as he delivers the divorce decree.
She deals with why she created the 360 degrees back to life support group, as she realized she could not have pulled through without the support of her friends.
From page 209 Vandana shares simple legalese on divorce.
To me whether one is going through divorce or not, it was like somebody was holding my hand and empathizing with other women who decided to make the journey from being a non-person doormat to the vibrant women we were meant to be.
Left to myself I would gift this book along with Shobha De’s spouses to every girl who contemplates either marriage or divorce.
About the author: http://www.vandanashah.com/home.html
buy on Amazon https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B016MTXSVA/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=parwatisingar-21&camp=3638&creative=24630&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B016MTXSVA&linkId=eed87e84e53f13af8ed5ed84e6586aa6