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Divorced at 25, after a marriage that lasted only for 6 months, the author writes a candid and courageous account of escaping a ruinous relationship and finding happiness in her own personal goals.
I have read so many articles and watched so many movies that revolve around the idea of “turning 30!” These listicles on social media enumerate “10 things to be done before you turn 30,” with high definition glamourous pictures. The “to do” list includes traveling around the globe, having worthy sexual encounters, discovering your passion and other exciting things that make your life worthwhile. The other kind of “turning 30” stories revolve around the tragedy of still being single at 30. Remember the episode of Rachel’s 30th birthday from Friends?
And then there are some like me who have been divorced by the time we were 30. My marriage only lasted for 6 months, after an even shorter courtship (and yes, arranged marriages still happen in India). The dissolution of the same took one and a half years. And all of this was happening when I was about 25, at an age when most of my friends were not even engaged, I had earned the stigma of being a divorcee, a term that I find extremely regressive and judgmental. It is a noun, like man, woman or a porcupine, an inherent definition of who I am, with a strong sense of catastrophic permanence. A more appropriate term would be “divorced,” which is a point in time. Yet, in a country like India, the former is used commonly so as to categorize people who have chosen these socially unacceptable paths.
In my journey, from being newly married to separated to divorced, all within a span of 2 years, I have heard all the following clichés being thrown at me:
“You are too immature, you should not have married so early.” Brutally honest family member.
“I saw it coming. You guys fought in the very honeymoon period.” Former brother-in-law with psychic powers.
“You should give yourself at least 3 years before taking such a decision. Your marriage seems workable.” Well meaning and optimistic marriage counselor.
“You are filing for divorce at such a young age, what do you plan to do with yourself now?” Wise mediator at the court.
I got my chance. I chose to be out of the misery, and out of a potentially ruined life. And today I get to do what I want, to discover who I want to be. It is liberating and exciting.
But this story is not about the not-so-progressive Indian culture, or the world’s perception of me. It is about my triumph. It is about what I have learned from the experience and trust me, I am a more sorted and mature person. And why? Picture this:
You are in a ship alone with a sailor you don’t trust anymore, and the ship has caught fire. You feel trapped. You want to be free. But you are afraid because you don’t know if you will be able to swim to the shore all by yourself. You think about all the things you would want to do with your life once you are out of here. If only you could escape! One chance…
Today I know myself so much better. I know what kind of people I do not wish to be with, the kinds who have violated my principles, and I avoid them. I know who are my true friends, because they were with me, amidst all my mood swings, confusion and loss of direction. I have made new friends, who have liked me as a person, and have not let the failure of one relationship define me. I have the support of a loving family, although I live alone. I forgot to mention, I had moved to this unknown city, after my marriage and I chose to continue living here. No, it does not bring bad memories.
It is here that I learnt to drive, travel and explore new places. I developed new hobbies like Zumba. I became more open to taking risks, because I know that even if my dream castle breaks as easily as a pack of cards, I will be able to survive and rebuild it. I am not protected anymore. I am strong as a rock. I don’t depend on anybody and especially not for my happiness.
I became more open to taking risks, because I know that even if my dream castle breaks as easily as a pack of cards, I will be able to survive and rebuild it. I am not protected anymore. I am strong as a rock. I don’t depend on anybody and especially not for my happiness.
I write. I write a lot. I would have never had the confidence of sharing a personal story 3 years ago. Today, I do. I could hide from the world. Or I could share what I learned.
I am not trying to advocate divorce as a new age liberation, or the instant solution for bad marriages, or the path to self-discovery, or a blessing in disguise. I don’t even know if I have the power to influence or curate anybody else’s life. All I am staying is that if you have found your reason to opt out of matrimony, don’t be afraid. You survived the wound, you will survive the healing as well.
Image via Shutterstock.
I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel
Tanvi, this is a very courageous post to write and I tip my hat to you. It cannot have been easy to take this step and face the criticism of society the way you must have. After meeting you in person, I am more in awe of you than ever. Shine on, my dear. The whole of life awaits.
Shailaja, your encouraging words mean a lot to me, Thank you so much!
When we – parents- realise that: marriage is an important step in life but not the Goal; at best we can ‘arrange’ the marriage ritual but not Marriage; any marriage needs to be open ended, with one end open to walk out of; Incompatibility is good enough reason to walk out of that opening instead of perennial one sided ‘ ‘adjusting’; marriage is about equal relation first and raising family last…list goes on. Most important of all when we can tell our children that they remain as much loved if they walk out of marriage, then things will begin to get some balance.
I am glad that you at that young age were mature enough to know and say ‘enough’…
Thanks for your message. You made a very valid point, knowing that the parents are there to love and support us makes all the difference.
Girija Aunty – Well said. However – there aren’t many parents who are as open minded as you. Unfortunately when one fizzles out, the next is sought after, when the next fizzles, the next is sought after. When I was out of the first, I was asked to choose a second and that broke right before the engagement and now am asked to find a third! It was then that I finally told all around me diplomatically that God has different plans for people and that I have decided to life MY WAY.
cool dear….for having the guts to write and face the ruthless world. come on yer….don’t we fight with friends, don’t we break up with toxic relationships. marriage is also just another relationship. i don’t understand why some people consider failed relationship as a person’s failure….we should not allow such people to douse the spark every person has.
All the Best Tanvi….you rock !!
Thanks for reading! You made my day!
Hi tanvi …courageous person …ur…would lov to be like u….faced by many challenges in life….would like u to meet u in person…..best wishes for ur future works
Thank you so much Sashipriyya! Your words are very encouraging!
You took the right decision by pulling yourself out of misery. The life that you are leading now, is yours. You have the control and the power to steer is the way you want. Life’s lessons do not come easy but it is up to us to choose how we want to take them. Keep shining!
Very true, Parul. Thank you so much!
Bravo! I have witnessed similar and horrific marital disorders leading to divorce…it was extremly traumatic and life learning lessons were gleaned out of it.u can breath freely only there aftr. …till thn, u r jst a soul less body…congrts!
Thanks for your message, Gaurangi. Yes, I have my freedom now 🙂
Loved this article
Thanks Anindita! I am glad you liked it!
Realy inspiring..its like i m telling my story
I always believed in ” my life,my decisions” and no regrets . i like ur concluding line,”u hv survived wound,u will survive healing”.May God bless u Tanvi
Thanks Jyoti 🙂
Tanvi Sinha I was divorced 25 too. I can so very relate to you. The names that I have obtained, the pressure to find another match (which in no way I was and am interested in) and the false sympathy from people! No Blames or regrets whatsoever.. but then the courage to stay alone, the will to survive and the boldness to say a NO to many things and live life the way I actually want to is just brilliant. I am glad that I read this blog since it made me feel that I am not just the only one and there are millions in the world who are living their life beautifully! Thanks a tonne and may all of us be blessed with the choicest blessings from the above.
Thanks for sharing Sunita. It is only when we share our stories, that we find out that we are certainly not alone. Your comment has inspired me. All the best 🙂
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