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Cheated in love
Most young men would want to someday fall in love, get married and settle down. Unfortunately, in my case, things did not quite go as per plan. Less than four months into my marriage, my wife, Grahalakshmi walked out and headed to her parents’ home. Before leaving though, she made her intentions clear — she wanted a divorce and an alimony, amounting to anything between Rs 5 crore and Rs 50 crore.
I was baffled by her behaviour at first, unable to comprehend the logic behind her actions. I tried reasoning with her, attempting to figure out a way to reconcile. But, I soon realised there was no room for compromise in her stance. She told me she’d make me run from pillar to post once she filed a case of dowry harassment under Section 498(A) against me.
Section 498(A) is akin to POTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act); it is a non-bailable offence. A woman can walk into a police station, give a statement against her husband and get him or his entire family arrested on charges of harassment for dowry.
What is ironic and distressing is that a law meant to protect the rights of women is being exploited for wrong reasons. As a result, even the veracity of a genuine complainant could come under the scanner in future.
I put my film career on hold during these four tumultuous years. I didn’t want my producers and friends to suffer at my cost. But then, the onslaught was only beginning. Months after my wife filed the case, an anonymous benefactor told me that Grahalakshmi was already married to someone much before she tied the knot with me. One night as I frantically ran a search through the government’s online registry, my worst fears were confirmed. The revelation turned the case in my favour.
Throughout the duration of our trial, Grahalakshmi re-invented facts and fabricated new lies. Later she proceeded to file an affidavit stating I had forged the documents pertaining to her earlier marriage. Rather than shocked, I was saddened; why would someone throw everything good about one’s life right out of the window? I had struggled hard to make a name for myself in the film industry and I had a decent reputation. I could have given her and our child a good life, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Although this was a trial by fire, I was blessed to have the support of several do-gooders. Everyone from my parents, to my sister, my friends in the film fraternity in Chennai, even petitioners who had come to court to find solutions to their own problems lent me their moral support.
The court annulled my marriage to Grahalakshmi on grounds of misrepresented facts. But the custody of my son has been granted to her until he’s an adult. I am still hopeful about a good future for him. Looking back, I realised that everything that I had undergone was a part of Thiruvilayadal (divine games). I was chosen by God to serve as a cautionary tale for future generations when it comes to issues of matrimony. I am grateful to God for being blessed with a great family, loyal friends and a good life.
Though having faced such hurdles in life, my faith in love and marriage has not been shaken. I still believe in the power of love and the institution of marriage. Nevertheless, I would like to warn youngsters treating marriage with complacency. It’s not a relationship of convenience and they shouldn’t even consider divorce as an option. For now, I’m just focussing on my career in films and looking ahead at life with a renewed sense of hope and ambition.
As told to Bijoy Bharathan