‘Rewriting My Happily Ever After’ by Dr. Ranjani Rao brings to light the pitfalls and the successes that cloud one’s divorce journey. It is a true story – a memoir of her life.
After several years of marriage, Ranjani painfully decides to call it quits with her husband, moving out of her marital house with her daughter in tow. The book tracks her feelings, her frustrations, and society’s judgement of her as a single woman (or husband-less one) making it out on her own. Ranjani talks about the loneliness in her life, her struggles, her job, and the satisfaction she derives from it and her daughter. From the onset, it is obvious that Ranjani is a caring mother who took the decision to split with her husband after a lot of deliberations. She delves into her relationship with her parents, her friends, and sometimes rescuers and how they have brought her from the brink of desperation. She revels in her survival. And it is a lesson for me. For all of us.
The narrative style is fluid and the book navigates into the past and present seamlessly. Ranjani’s language is simple, and invariably the reader connects with her words. As a married woman, Ranjani’s story resonated with me. There were times when I felt she plucked a leaf out of my book and spoke about it in the guise of her words. As if our lives had interspersed in some way and she was telling my life story. This made me realise that many women share a story (or more) with her life and when Ranjani puts words to those emotions, it makes one pause.
The book moved me to tears at times, it made me think, and occasionally, it made me examine my own life through the lens of Ranjani’s words. It is not always easy to think about a difficult and traumatic experience like divorce and to equate it with survival – and not just survival, but thriving success of survival. That is what Dr. Ranjani Rao’s book brings to us, readers.
It shows us the way – a sort of manual of what to expect when you divorce your husband in India. How our society eyes you, and how it treats you. While it is true that not everyone who may get divorced may experience the same story, it is close enough to make you realise what lies ahead.
I applaud Dr. Ranjani for her courage, her tenaciousness to carve out a life for herself, her ability to face whatever life sprung on her while not losing focus from her daughter. It is a must-read book for all Indian women, irrespective of what stage they are in their personal lives. It is an eye-opener, and it makes you realise that despite everything, all the woes and prejudices, and name-calling society can do, one can survive – and survive with dignity, pride, and peace.
I would like to extend warm hugs to Ranjani for taking us with her on her torturous, happy, journey. I learnt a lot from her experiences.
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