“While growing up my parents both had government jobs. It was when my father developed alcohol addiction that as a family we began to feel the financial pinch– very early on, I knew that I would have to contribute to the family income. I would work odd jobs and pay my college fees with whatever I saved up. Meanwhile, my father’s addiction got worse and my parents were constantly having fights. He got more irritable with all of us, and he made it clear to me that he didn’t think a girl could make a father proud– her final and only goal should be to be married and that’s what he wanted for me as well.
As fate would have it, before I could get a proper job at the age of 21 my father passed away. My mother was close to retiring, so ultimately I had to shoulder the responsibility of running the house and I did so with a big smile on my face. At 23, I had an arranged marriage, thinking that I’m fulfilling my father’s wish. Pretty early on in my marriage, I realized that my husband and I were very unhappy together. I tried to work on it, so did he but eventually things started getting really ugly between us. He didn’t want me to work either so he would email my boss and other people at work calling me a ‘fraud’ and accusing me of duping his family. Day in and day out he would taunt me, bang doors and threaten to show up at my workplace to humiliate me…but at 25 I had had enough.
I decided to get divorced because I didn’t want to be with someone who wanted to clip my wings. So many of my relatives told me that I should ‘adjust’ and that it was ‘normal’ for the wife to stop working once she was married but I couldn’t understand why. Ever since I was young I knew that financial stability was very important to me and what was I doing wrong by earning? By working? At first he refused to give me a divorce unless I gave him my house here in Bombay as a ‘token’ — obviously I refused and after many months he finally decided to get a mutual divorce.
I moved into my own house and began to understand that it was okay to not do what society wanted of me. I began to read, do things that I’ve always wanted to like- getting back into dancing and working with even more passion at my job. I have no regrets, in fact from the deepest of my heart I was thanking my ex-husband for coming into my life because he taught me how strong I can be, what my identity is and how okay it is to be independent. Single, divorced or unmarried doesn’t mean I’m less…sometimes it just means that I’m enough.”