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Married to reality

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Playing mentor Author Leela Kirloskar
Playing mentor Author Leela Kirloskar

The decision to end a marriage throws up emotional, financial and legal issues, says author Leela Kirloskar

People know they don’t have to stay in a marriage that is not working out.” With “over 8,000 divorce petitions” filed in 2001 alone and almost 70 per cent cases involving couples between 25-35 years of age, divorce surely is a reality.

Probably that is why Leela Kirloskar’s debut work, “Dealing with Divorce” finds a place on the shelves of bookstores. Marketed as “the essential handbook”, this self-help book published by Roli is a guide to couples who have decided to part ways. Beginning with the moment the death knell rings on a marriage, Leela gently brings in aspects a couple would have to deal with – emotional, financial and legal.

But Leela admits candidly, it was never her idea to write the book. “It was Renuka Chatterjee of Roli Books who cajoled me to write,” she says.

Practical guide

“We wanted to provide practical information, yet an easy read for people who are going through the process,” says the author, once a lawyer who was later associated with publishing. Events that follow the decision to call it quits – of packing your bags, deciding the things that come with you and those staying back and finding a lawyer – often take a back seat as an emotional whirl-wind takes centre-stage, says Leela.

“Divorce is a lot of trauma. It is a painful chapter and people are emotional about it,” she says. She would know better as she herself underwent the process as the book took shape.

“Often people do not think what they are supposed to do next,” she explains. “It is the time to sit down and find out what you are in for,” adds Leela. Though divorce is no more an aberration, Leela acknowledges it is a tough decision that brings in new complications.

“The laws that exist today are not easy, especially for women and on the issue of maintenance,” elaborates Leela. With the legal process under way, Leela says the key word is patience.

“Getting a divorce is a complicated process. The law does not encourage divorce, since marriage is considered a sacrament. It is the last resort,” explains the author.

In her 138-page book, Leela gives tips on the legal aspects; choosing a lawyer, the wait one has to be prepared for and the endless visits to the courts.

Taking control

With the law taking its course, Leela says the key is to take control of one’s life.

“The legal process will take anything between three to seven years,” she says. “But divorce does a lot of damage to people and one has to bounce back,” Leela elaborates.

“Dealing with Divorce” is also about handling the emotional roller-coaster that follows the decision, especially children, their custody and toughest of all – telling the kids. “When a family breaks up the scars remain, particularly for children. People will also react in extreme ways after a divorce. The book tells you that you are not abnormal when you react the way you do,” says Leela.

Giving a glimpse of her personal struggle, Leela says, “I was determined to reconstruct my life. It has been a long journey but I stayed focussed.”

A message that will help those trying to survive a failed relationship. Of course, reading the easy handbook by Leela will help too. After darkness comes light, after words fail you, comes this book.

P. ANIMA

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