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Vandana Shah

Lawyer and author

Vandana Shah is a practising lawyer in the Family Court and also living her dramatic dream of also being an author and writer.

Grab a copy of her new book Ex-Files: The Story of My Divorce by Penguin and Shobhaa De.

Email: www.vandanashah.com
Kick Abuse Out Of Your

Kick Abuse Out Of Your Life

When the world's oldest woman credits her longevity to two raw eggs a day and walking out of a miserable marriage ("I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she explained), it's time to pause and think. Take or leave the raw eggs, but domestic abuse is something no one should tolerate.
25/05/2016 8:17 AM IST
Who Can We Indians Really Turn To If Not The

Who Can We Indians Really Turn To If Not The Judiciary?

Indians rely so heavily on the courts because all other methods seem to have failed. We can't turn to the police as we are scared of them and their tales of corruption are part of folklore. The politicians... what can I even say? Even if we were dropped on our heads as infants, we all know that no one can turn to a politician for help unless one is part of their "family" (which makes the mafia looks like kindergarten children singing nursery rhymes).
16/05/2016 8:24 AM IST
Divorce Is Hard, But Must We Make It So

Divorce Is Hard, But Must We Make It So Ugly?

As adults we want to discipline our children and set them on the right path so that they can be successful in life. We teach them values like honesty, forgiveness, tolerance and, above all, to do the right thing. However, in a marriage gone sour or in a divorce we seem to forget all that we taught the children. In fact we behave like extremely spoilt whiny brats who can't look beyond their own nose.
02/05/2016 8:07 AM IST
Here' A Four-Letter Word To Avoid At Work:

Here' A Four-Letter Word To Avoid At Work: Babe

Indra Nooyi, the super-successful CEO of Pepsi, nailed what a lot of women feel when she recently said, "I hate being called sweetie or honey...All that has got to go. We have got to be treated as executives or people rather than honey, sweetie, babe." The stereotyping of women is still so prevalent in the 21st century that it makes me want to gag with disgust.
23/04/2016 8:26 AM IST
How To Become An Instant Sex Kitten: Get A

How To Become An Instant Sex Kitten: Get A Divorce

"I saw her at the restaurant. Can you believe it, she was dressed to the nines, had on red lipstick, mascara, blusher. And just wait for this... she was with a guy, drinking wine and having an intimate conversation. It's pretty clear why her marriage ended." Now, even if this said divorcee was seen asking a McDonald's employee for extra ketchup, people would find a way to portray the scene as somehow indicative of her questionable character and loose morals.
17/04/2016 8:07 AM IST
The Financial Nightmare Of

The Financial Nightmare Of Divorce

There's been a recent blitzkrieg of publicity around the Kapoor vs. Kapur case, which earlier had 'new' financial demands cropping up faster than you could say 'divorce granted'. Matters of the heart aside, divorce can be a financial nightmare. Women tend to tighten their financial seatbelt to keep themselves afloat, while men run to hide their bank statements and holdings deep in a desert or high up in the snow-capped mountains where you'd need the 'Revenant' to unearth the truth.
20/03/2016 12:00 AM IST
No, I Don't Need A 35% Discount On Cosmetic Surgery To Celebrate Women's

No, I Don't Need A 35% Discount On Cosmetic Surgery To Celebrate Women's Day

Recently, an exclusive 'country club' invited me as a speaker for their International Women's Day programme. They said that they wanted the women in the audience to be inspired by my story of triumphing over adversity and rebuilding my life despite starting with only ₹750 in my bank account. As I considered the speaking engagement, I asked them about the overall theme of the discussion. Their proud reply had me gobsmacked: <em>'Beautifying yourself through cosmetic surgery'</em>. Is this what women's empowerment is about?
08/03/2016 3:19 PM IST
₹150 A Kilo... That's The Price Tag Of An

₹150 A Kilo... That's The Price Tag Of An Author

As I walked out of the park after my evening walk, a snazzy sign on a cheap billboard just opposite caught my eye. It boldly proclaimed "₹150 a Kilo". Since you can't even get a cup of decent coffee for that amount it piqued my curiosity and I walked towards it to see what exactly was selling so cheap. As I walked closer to read the sign, I wished I hadn't. My heart split in two...
06/03/2016 8:39 AM IST
Three Cheers For Our Sweaty, Sassy, Sporty

Three Cheers For Our Sweaty, Sassy, Sporty Padmas

Oh, dashing devilish daring Djoko... no, no, no, no... hang on, let's talk about him later. It's the girls who are my champions right now. Do I need to say who? The invincible Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza who swept another Grand Slam, the Australian Open, taking their WTA rankings to world number 1 and definitely playing their way into the annals of tennis history. And to add the glint to Sania's beautifully distracting nose stud she was conferred the Padma Bhushan.
10/02/2016 3:27 PM IST
Adultery, Divorce And The Baby In

Adultery, Divorce And The Baby In Between

A recent case referred to me is that of Sunaina (all names changed) and her husband Subhash. Sunaina, 23, has an infant who is barely six months old. Her husband has filed for divorce and she suspects he is in an adulterous relationship with a woman. Without getting into the moral conundrums of adultery, the big question here is, what happens to the baby?
02/02/2016 8:37 AM IST
Dear Santa, Can I Have A Divorce For

Dear Santa, Can I Have A Divorce For Christmas?

What strikes me as noticeably different this year is the number of legal enquiries that I've had about divorce around Christmas. In fact I ended up pacifying clients even on Christmas Day, along with wishing them holiday cheer. Picture this: <em>"Merry Christmas and, yes, don't worry I'll send your spouse the legal notice for initiating divorce proceedings." </em> Not a very happy scene, this one.
30/12/2015 8:15 AM IST
Club Memberships And Divorce: Can You Belong When You're

Club Memberships And Divorce: Can You Belong When You're Leaving?

My divorce case was initiated about 10 years ago and my spouse was (and is) a member of Khar Gymkhana Club. He was a primary member and as his wife I became a secondary member. When things started souring between us I started going more often to the club to use the gym and library. While this was going on, my spouse sent a letter to the club asking them to bar me from using the facilities.
26/12/2015 8:30 AM IST
Here's Why Contempt Of Court Laws Are

Here's Why Contempt Of Court Laws Are Important

Contempt in simplistic terms means defiance or willful disobedience of the authority, justice and dignity of the court. Contempt of court is an extremely useful and powerful tool and can be brought against the parties to the matter, lawyers, court officers and witnesses. It may also be applied to those protesting against a court order or judgement outside the courtroom.
21/12/2015 8:08 AM IST
Pre-Nups Could Make Divorce Smoother And Marriages Stronger, But Is India

Pre-Nups Could Make Divorce Smoother And Marriages Stronger, But Is India Ready?

Can you imagine the families of the "boy and girl" meeting over cups of tea to discuss flower arrangements and the wedding menu along with who gets what in the event of a divorce? It's seems like a pretty impossible scenario in a country where divorce is highly stigmatised and where most people shudder at the very mention of the word.
01/12/2015 8:35 AM IST
The Legal Power Of The ‘Seven Steps' And Other Wedding

The Legal Power Of The ‘Seven Steps' And Other Wedding Rituals

About a year ago, I encountered a very interesting case in my support group. Sumitra and Haresh were married in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, in accordance with the local customs of their village. But four years later, Haresh, who was then living in Mumbai, decided to leave his wife, telling her that the marriage in the village was not legal. Sumitra was devastated as she thought she had been living in sin with Haresh. This is when I told her about Section 3 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
09/11/2015 8:12 AM IST
A Love Not Lost: How To Reconcile After Filing For

A Love Not Lost: How To Reconcile After Filing For Divorce

It is generally assumed that once a warring couple climb the stairs of the courthouse they are on a direct trajectory to divorce. But guess what, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, divorce proceedings can turn on their head and open the path for reconciliation.
29/10/2015 8:11 AM IST
Spare Me Your

Spare Me Your Indignation

Lately, I've started skipping major sections of the newspapers and even the news channels because somewhere along the way they have become mouthpieces of doom. About half an hour of it is enough to convince you that humanity is dead and that we're lucky to be alive. I can still cope with this but what is intolerable is the amount of <em>indignation</em> that pours forth in tandem with the bad news of the day.
16/10/2015 8:10 AM IST
Cruelty In A Marriage: Law And The Suffering Of

Cruelty In A Marriage: Law And The Suffering Of Men

The other day I was involved in a healthy discussion with my colleagues about marriage and divorce. When one of the male members of the group remarked that "the law seemed to be tilted more towards women, especially in divorce cases", I decided to write about cruelty in divorce from the male's perspective.
05/10/2015 8:01 AM IST
A Cure For The Heartbreak Of

A Cure For The Heartbreak Of Divorce

Dashing, daring, dynamic, devilishly handsome dude dashes the dreams of damsel in distress, or some variation thereof, is the story of almost every divorce. The common thread is heartbreak, <em>dard-e-dil</em>. That's because marriage itself is based on the premise, if not the promise, of two hearts beating as one - what divorce does is slice through those two hearts that are meant to beating as one.
21/08/2015 8:09 AM IST
I Love You India, Potholes And

I Love You India, Potholes And All

My sceptical friends point out to me that I am blind to all the faults in the country, but I do see them, I really do. It's just that I feel India is like my mother, and so what if you don't have the coolest mother in the world? It's like in school you always feel the other person's mom is cooler and you go home and tell yours, "Mummy, next time, could you maybe wear nicer sunglasses like Diva's mom?" But that doesn't mean I love Diva's mother more.
15/08/2015 7:45 AM IST