How My Book Became More Than Just a Book
December 16, 2022
podcast

 

Sometime ago, I read the following lines: 

Q –  When is a book more than a book?

A – When it becomes a conversation

It wasn’t until I took the next step after writing my memoir, Rewriting My Happily Ever After, and launched a podcast, didn’t I understand the truth behind these words.

Who knows what the next step is

When I left my (ex) husband’s house after years of doubting whether leaving an unhappy marriage was right for our family, I had no idea what lay ahead. But that first step led me down a path and a life trajectory that was dramatically different from what I could have imagined then.

By the same token, when my book was published, I could not have imagined that it would resonate with many readers who would leach out and connect with me. They would first tell me their stories and when the idea for a podcast emerged, I would find tremendous support through these women who were keen to share their life after divorce journeys with listeners.

The best past has been the similarities in many of the points I make in my book about steps that one can take to reclaim their happiness and the steps taken by these bold women in rewriting their own happily ever after stories.

Here is a summary of the 2022 series of desi divorce discussions on the Rewriting YOUR Happily Ever After podcast:

1.My first interview was with Vani, who lives in San Diego, USA and came across my book as she was reconfiguring life after divorce while raising her teenage son. As we chatted, we discovered that we both look towards books for guidance and support. In my memoir, I have a chapter titled, Books Matter. Reading rescued Vani, just like it rescued me.

Listen to our conversation here.

2. Shan, who lives in Hong Kong, had previously lived in Singapore, where her marriage had unraveled. When we  first spoke, she told me of how terrible her health had been during the worst part of her married life. She had to first take care of her physical wellbeing before she could take any concrete steps to a better life. ‘Prioritizing self-care’ is a chapter in my book which seems light-hearted but it brings up the important issue of how women often forget to take care of themselves while putting family needs ahead of their own.

Listen to our conversation here 

3. My third guest was Sneha, an educated small-town girl whose decision to proceed with a divorce required not just support of her family but had to be sanctioned by the close-knit community to which she belongs. It wasn’t easy going from a “family girl to steering the course of her own life. One thing that got her through the tough phase was learning to play the veena, a lifelong dream that she finally decided to pursue. In “Exploring new talents”, a chapte from my book, I talk about how music had played a big part in my own journey. What an uncanny coincidence?

Listen to our conversation here 

4. Neha, a bold woman with strong opinions took a long time to move out of her unhappy marriage, reluctant to take the reins of her life in her own hands. While she mentioned that my chapter “Taking the drivers seat” resonated with her in a metaphorical sense (although I meant it literally in my memoir while describing my efforts to learn how to drive in India), what had given her life meaning is something larger. Today, as a busy single parent of a teenage daughter, she is involved with a school and has taken the sentiments in my chapter “Be a part of something larger” and made is a highlight of her new life.

Listen to our conversation here 

5. Manjula’s story was an unusual one because unlike my previous guests, she chose to be a stay at home mother for her children after her divorce. But she used a technique I had used to find an outlet for her creativity. In the chapter, “Writing my way out”, I describe how once again turning to writing (a beloved hobby that I had given up) had been instrumental in allowing me to understand my situation better and express my creativity was a tool Manjula had used to write her novel.

Listen to our conversation here 

6. My conversation with Usha, who lives in the UK, had experienced a very difficult divorce where she lost custody of her son and had to recreate a financially secure life for herself by leaving India was a difficult one. In “Money matters”, a chapter in my memoir where I discuss how I found myself penniless despite having always worked and held a job during my marriage. Turns out that my story is not unique and money (or lack thereof) is a key decision point for many women on the verge of divorce,

Listen to our conversation here 

7. When speaking with Dr. Priya, an ambitious, qualified medical doctor, it became clear how career women also choose to stay in an unhappy marriage for much longer than they should have. Yet, Priya, like me, found solace in volunteering and being of service to others. I discuss this in my chapter, “Giving back’, in  my memoir.

Listen to our conversation here 

8. You can go on to have a satisfying life and excelling in many fields, this was the lesson from my recent conversation with multi-faceted Reema Ahmad who is not only an author of a parenting book (she has boldly raised her son and written about the difficult aspects of being honest with growing children) but also helps people through trauma and relationship counseling. Her life trajectory was reflected in my chapter, Exploring new strengths”, something I did during my life after divorce phase and so did Reema.

Listen to our conversation here

If you have taken the heartbreaking decision to proceed with a divorce and found happiness and peace in your life despite the difficulties, AND if you would like to share your story with interested listeners, do drop a comment below and get intouch with me. Who knows, your story may be exactly what someone else needs to hear?

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

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