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Recently, actor Malaika Arora opened up on about her reasons to separate from ex-husband Arbaaz Khan; the new candour about divorce is refreshing in this country which still prides itself on couples staying together at all costs.
The Internet has redefined our world-view. The old stuffy rules are getting bent and rewritten according to the changing times. Gender benders are the new norm. Financially independent and educated women are demanding to be counted and are making no bones about their right to lead their lives with their own markers of happiness.
If at times that personal sphere of happiness is available only by dropping the dreaded D-Bomb on noxious relationships, then the women aren’t unduly worried about by the attendant social stigma.
Truly, is there any stigma attached to the big D, any longer? Have we as a society grown to be inclusive? Has divorce, the healthier option to walk away from an unhappy, emotionally and physically unviable marriage compared to enduring, truly arrived?
Are we talking openly about ending toxic relationships and moving on to flourish? Have the seeds of change been sown and partly, by trend-setting Bollywood?
Though Bollywood actors Malaika Arora and Arbaaz Khan divorced each other some time ago, neither had talked about why they had decided to go their separate ways. But recently Malaika Arora opened up on Kareena Kapoor Khan’s chat show, ‘What Women Want’ about her reasons to separate from Arbaaz Khan and the effect of their divorce by mutual consent on their 16-year-old son Arhaan.
As Malaika says, “For me, happiness is most important. Even if it means I have to take such a major decision in life. We eventually did think about a lot of things and weighed every single pro and con. And then we decided, it’s better off that we move our separate ways because we’d just be better people. Because we were two people in a situation making each other extremely unhappy which was impacting everybody else’s life around us.”
Talking about Arhaan’s reaction to his parents’ divorce, Malaika further added, “I would rather see my child in a happy environment than being in an environment that is completely disruptive. I think with time, my child is far more accepting and flourishing. And he can see that we both as individuals are far happier.”
Bollywood is one of the unifying cultures of this diverse country. When celeb couples talk about marital strife, divorce, moving on and finding love again, with an open candour, it will end up normalizing the unheard-of for most and becomes less stigmatized too.
Didn’t most applaud it when Tollywood’s giant Rajnikant’s daughter Soundarya remarried, with elders showering their love and blessings on the couple? Two of my classmates who got married, separated soon, found love again and remarried. They have remained best of friends. Adulting at its best!
Because ultimately, living with happiness is the right of every person.
A happy partner and thereby a parent creates a great thriving atmosphere for a sorted child. If the couple in question opts for separation, it would be after giving the final step a long hard thought from all possible angles. The best help their friends and relatives could offer is being understanding and less judgmental about the couple.
So that divorce doesn’t end up being a dreaded D-Bomb but a D-Balm to the troubled souls.
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Anupama Jain is the author of 'When Padma Bani Paula', a breezy novel about second
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