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Leaving Home With Half a Fridge is the author's story. It takes the reader though the various aspects of a divorce and the journey involved.
Leaving Home With Half a Fridge is the author’s story. It takes the reader though the various aspects of a divorce and the journey involved.
Divorce is now an acknowledged fact in modern India. Many urban marriages tend to break up almost as quickly as they came together; courts are struggling with the increased number of cases they have to deal with. While the society at one level has become more liberal about relationships, divorce seems to be the fallout.
Leaving home with half a fridge by Arathi Menon, tells the story of her divorce and the post-divorce trauma that she and her ex learned to survive. What is unusual is the fact that she gives no dramatic reasons for her divorce. Her ex was not abusive, the in-laws were not a problem, they married for love and seemed to share many interests. Over five years, however, the marriage fell apart; Menon accuses the ex of breaking her heart, until she was finally forced to declare that she wanted the big D.
Her ex was not abusive, the in-laws were not a problem, they married for love and seemed to share many interests.
Neither she nor her ex was really happy about the decision, but they agreed to follow the rules. They began with the trial separation, complicated by the fact that Menon found a new flat for herself in the house next door, and that her super cook was the one she had employed while she was still married. She continued to cook in both the homes, borrowing vegetables and sugar from either employer to fill a cooking gap when she needed to. Every detail reminded Menon of the marriage she had been forced to leave behind.
Through the pages Menon takes the reader on a journey through the various aspects of her divorce making no attempt to hide the reality of the grief on both sides. When it came to relying on someone, her ex was the first person she turned to. He was the one who knew her likes and dislikes better than her friends. If it was a romantic novel of the chick lit kind, and it does read like that in its easy flow and down to earth detail, one would have expected them to get together again. They met over coffee and found they had nothing to say to each other – a meeting at their favourite pub over beer was easier, but Menon was convinced that, despite everything, she did not want to give the marriage a second chance.
She had thrown away five years of her life in the marriage. Neither does she blame her ex, nor does she make the journey of getting over a divorce sound like an easy one. The road was lined with depression and worries about what people would think. Memories lingered in all the little things that they had accumulated together, and now were forced to divide all of it. She even slipped into their once-shared home with the key that she still kept, trying on the ex’s shirts, knowing that he was not home, until he returned and caught her at it one day. Those descriptions are the ones, which linger because they imply that a happy ending might have been possible if it was another kind of book.
Memories lingered in all the little things that they had accumulated together, and now were forced to divide all of it.Never miss real stories from India's women.Register Now
Memories lingered in all the little things that they had accumulated together, and now were forced to divide all of it.
Most of the descriptions, of course, would apply to any couple who divorced by mutual consent and did not indulge in recrimination. So would the petty jibes at family weddings, since traditional Indian society still does not take kindly to divorce amongst its daughters.
Occasionally, the reader is tempted to wonder why exactly they broke up in the first place, because there seems to have been no clear-cut reason, barring the ex’s workaholism and silences. However, for the recently-divorced and the about-to-be-divorced, the book is a useful read, while for everyone else it is an entertaining page turner with nuggets of handy wisdom.
Publisher: Pan McMillan India
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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