Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Divorce

That morning, I began my day as usual but what happened was something unusual. A young, well-to-do couple walked in quite happily into the chamber. They looked sophisticated and in sync with each other. It's funny how we leap to conclusion about other people by the way they speak or dress but it's the sad reality of the lives we lead now, isn't it?

A Happy Couple: Is it a Myth?

Coming back to my story, I expected they wanted some advice about a rented home, or something on those lines. Agreements, that kind of stuff. What they asked with smiling faces was for a divorce. That truly stumped me. I couldn't imagine why they looked so united and happy about it. Of course, I have dealt with a variety of divorce cases but this is the first of its kind that was so 'urban and cultured' from start to end.

India, we now say is a very liberal, cosmopolitan country despite a lot of confusing bundles of personal laws for its citizens. The result is chaos for the parties concerned because each Indian citizen is governed by his/her personal laws relating to marriage and divorce.

For Hindus, they are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. which grants divorce based on grounds such as Cruelty, Bigamy, Adultery, Renunciation, Desertion, and so on. The Muslims are governed by their personal laws under which marriage is "Nikah" meaning, a contract. For Parsis, they are governed by the Parsee Marriage & Divorce Act, 1939 and for Christians, there is the Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889. Persons of different caste or any religion can marry under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and remain governed by this Act. There are certain penal provisions also in the Criminal Procedure Code providing for the maintenance of the wife and punishment for bigamy.

How does this sound? It sounds like I'm about to make a pot of money. The truth is that I don't enjoy watching couples let go of their life and dreams any more than their families do. The truth is that I try very hard to understand what their mutual gray areas of perceived weaknesses are and then guide them to look inward to find solutions to those problems, rather than run off to the nearest lawyer for divorce. The best lawyers are always focused on finding solutions for the client rather than letting the clients go ahead and demand what they believe is the best solution.

Believe it or not, divorce rates are multiplying in India. Delhi tops the list, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore. Even traditional Kerala is not far behind.

So, how did I deal with this happy couple?

First, I tried to first help them see whether they can look back on the difficult areas in their life and make light and sense of those depressing realities but they were firm. They do not want anything but a divorce -- smooth and easy. They said they were not compatible as man and wife and could not live together under the same roof any longer.

The end is no longer the stuff that fairy tales continue with, "....and they lived happily ever after."

The changing lifestyles and perspectives of this country need to redefine and make a new amendment to the conventional fairy tale like this: "............and they lived happily divorced ever after."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Can we teach our kids to be kind? Say Yes!

Kindness is one of the world's most scarce resources, especially in kids. In many cases that I've heard or dealt with, the brutality that enters the world of kids is unimaginable. There are kids who bully one another as early as in pre-school and mostly the teachers and parents are totally ignorant about what is happening because educational pressures have become more competitive and less meaningful to a child's actual development.

What parents and teachers forget is that kindness is something kids learn from them. A parent who treats the domestic help like an animal can never set a good example to the kid. A teacher who lies to the children can never inspire the children to be honest. Funny enough, we don't pay much attention to such important details but yes, we give a lot of importance in saying that our kid studies in X school without thinking through that it is the teachers and the values they impart that is more important than anythingelse.

A lot of young parents believe that teaching their kids kindness is not a good thing to do becaue the world will exploit it. Kindness is not something that parents and teachers should equate with weak will. Some of the world's greatest leaders reached where they are because they could balance their dynamism with kindness and compassion.

Kindness is also closely linked with positive action. Through kindness, your kid may learn to excel and be confident about everything he/she does. Kids, who are kind, will also grow a good, positive network of relationships around them that they can grow for their entire.

Kindness is not about volunteering at a starvation camp or during an epidemic or an earthquake. Its value increases when you use it everyday in your life. Why don't you make kindness a part of your daily routine with your kids so that you can help them and yourself grow a positive cycle?

On Teacher's Day, teach your kids to thank the teacher by stating what all she/he has learned and incorporated thanks to the teacher's love and patience? If your kid doesn't get along with another kid, help them to understand each other and yes, get your kid to at least try and take the first step. Today's life is all about managing relationships smartly. Starting early will help your kid to develop these social interaction skills pretty fast.

Let our kids learn to be kind, not condescending. To help them do that, we need to practice at being genuine too. Kids spot fakes faster than experts. Help your kids to feel for others and to find happiness in helping others. With a spontaneous smile, a truly sincere compliment and a kind gesture, teach your child to make everyone’s day just a little brighter.

Just in case you want to know about whether the law can protect your kid, read on by clicking here.