Scientist's memoir of divorce and discovery

The recent amendment to the Women's Charter includes the option for divorce by mutual consent. This has stirred a lot of discussion about whether it will lead to couples breaking up more easily and its impact on society.

While some fear that the new option could raise divorce rates, there are others who contend that it is a form of "therapeutic justice" which maintains safeguards to protect the institution of marriage.

Dr Ranjani Rao's book Rewriting My Happily Ever After, published in October last year, is relevant in this context. It tackles a subject that is ignored in Indian and South Asian cultures and opens up conversations about divorce so that the stigma around it is reduced.

"Most people who have not suffered in a marriage that is 'irretrievably broken' do not understand the toxic environment that prevails in such situations," said Dr Rao, a pharmaceutical scientist who works at a research institute in Singapore and writes essays and op-eds about life and the world we live in for a variety of print and digital publications.

"It is not sustainable or even suitable to bring up children in such dysfunctional conditions.

"My book is relevant because it talks about my struggles as a single parent to create a family that was functional for my daughter even though her parents didn't live under the same roof.

"It requires effort, maturity and support to bring up well-adjusted children - whether the parents are living together or are divorced. I want to ensure that true stories of life after divorce get discussed in this context."

The book is a memoir. It describes a three-year period in her life when she struggled with the decision to walk out of an unhappy marriage and how she recreated a life for herself and her child.

"Through this book I want to let women in unhappy marriages know that they are not alone and that they can go on to have a happy life," said Dr Rao, who hails from Mumbai and spent many years in the United States earning a PhD from the University of Maryland and working in the pharmaceutical industry there.

"It requires belief that a better life is possible and the willingness to work for it.

"It took me more than 16 years to walk out. I wrote my book more than a decade after the divorce was finalised."

According to Dr Rao, who came to Singapore eight years ago from India after living in Hyderabad for nearly a decade, Indian society is not geared to empathise or support a woman who chooses to leave a marriage.

"I was lucky because my parents had seen my troubles and supported my decision," she said. "However, I had to figure out how to make my life as a single parent work.

"My primary financial foundation was built on my job. Still, I had to learn many things for the first time in my life after the separation. I used several approaches and practices to build a support system. I describe all of it in my book."

Rewriting My Happily Ever After, published by Story Artisan Press, is available on online platforms and at The Moon bookstore - - from Feb 1. Retail price: $25.


அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!