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In India approximately 11 marriages in every 1000 end in divorce At a shade over 1%, this is one of the lowest rates in the world I decided not to look up the statistics on how many wives die suddenly from unexplained accidents in the home as a result of dowry disputes as that s another issue entirely Let s just say that when things go bad, a trip to the lawyers isn t always the outcome.In Manju Kapur s novel Custody she addresses the complex issues of Indian divorce It s not her first tim In India approximately 11 marriages in every 1000 end in divorce At a shade over 1%, this is one of the lowest rates in the world I decided not to look up the statistics on how many wives die suddenly from unexplained accidents in the home as a result of dowry disputes as that s another issue entirely Let s just say that when things go bad, a trip to the lawyers isn t always the outcome.In Manju Kapur s novel Custody she addresses the complex issues of Indian divorce It s not her first time dealing with controversial issues in fact every one of her four previous books has contained plenty to upset herconservative readers and like each of those books there s a discontented woman at the heart of the story But unlike the others, this time our sympathies are pretty firmly directed against the woman and in favour of the husband.The tale of Raman the husband and Shagun his wife and the destruction of the marriage is for India a rather modern story even though it s set in the 1990s It s also a rather upper middle class story of people who don t have to live as their parents and grandparents did before them They have the economic independence to not have to live with their parents within the protective cocoon of the extended family They can afford an affluent lifestyle, a nice place to live, staff to do the drudge work and top schools for their children because they benefit from the salary that goes with working for a big international company.When we first meet them Raman and Shagun have a great relationship despite having a marriage which was arranged by their families Raman is a successful marketing exec at a company referred to as The Brand a very thinly disguised cover for Coca Cola and Shagun is a strikingly beautiful stay at home mum who perhaps married a bit too young All seems fine in their family until Raman s new boss Ashok rolls into Delhi from the USA He s a bachelor with a lot to prove, a fabulous reputation for his visionary management and an eye for the ladies Ashok s a man who is used to getting what he wants and taking no prisoners He and Shagun are soon involved in a passionate affair, one for which both will give up everything to be together When Shagun asks her husband for a divorce he refuses and she abducts their children Thus begins the battle for Custody at the heart of Manju Kapur s fifth novel.An Indian marriage is a marriage of families and not just the husband and wife In no time at all both families are drawn into the battle, forced to take sides against someone who had long been a part of their family Lawyers and court submissions become the rhythm of their lives lies are told, allegations are made, hurt is magnified as games are played and threats are made but there can be no outright winners in these circumstances Shagun wants her children but she wants her new manand despite her protestations that Ashok considers her children to be his own, it s pretty clear that he only wants them because she wants them Raman is devastated as the wronged party it s bad enough he s lost the woman he loved without losing the children too And when Ashok looks set to be given a big promotion in the USA, the stakes are raised to a point where compromise is impossible.Manju Kapur lives in Delhi where she is a teacher at an elite girl s school She s never been afraid to shock her society with past story lines including one about a relationship with a much older man, another featuring a lesbian affair, one with a sub plot of juvenile incest and wives generally cheating about all over the place Her decision to tackle divorce is almost too conventional for her and may disappoint some of herestablished readership who buy in an expectation of being shocked Whilst the story is an unusual one in an Indian context and introduces a different slant on the role of the extended families in a divorce, for most international readers based in countries where divorce is sadly all too common, there s not too much to surprise anyone I couldn t help but think of this as an Indian Kramer versus Kramer , a story that s nothing new if you take away the geographic setting Many of us will know couples who ve been through a marriage breakdown and whose stories are all too similar to that of Raman and Shagun and for that reason I found Custody a little bit disappointing The blurb leads you to think of Shagun as the victim, but like most women these days, sadly, she wants to have the whole chocolate cake to herself and remain a size 0 This is a woman who clearly wants the finer things in life, and then resents the life she allows to unfold, believing it is everybody else s fault but her own.Her vindictive behaviour towards her husband, who has worked himself into the ground to give her what her family, his family, their culture and customs expects from a good The blurb leads you to think of Shagun as the victim, but like most women these days, sadly, she wants to have the whole chocolate cake to herself and remain a size 0 This is a woman who clearly wants the finer things in life, and then resents the life she allows to unfold, believing it is everybody else s fault but her own.Her vindictive behaviour towards her husband, who has worked himself into the ground to give her what her family, his family, their culture and customs expects from a good man is not enough for her proving my point that you can have all the material things in life you want, but if you do not love and care for each other with the small things, you are never going to be happy.I really felt for Raman, and his new wife Ishita, as the actions of Shagun camefrom acts of selfishness and manipulation, rather than love The question on the front of the book How far would you go to possess the one you love captures the real issues here in families that are broken, possession Children are not possessions, they are human beings, fragile when it comes to their world s being ripped apart by anger, jealousy, pain and ultimately revenge As adults in these situations, parents have to put their children first, but so many fail to do this They dwell on their own feelings, instead of looking at the situation through the eyes of the child Did the exiting parent harm the child physically, mentally or emotionally If not, then they should be allowed to see the exiting parent When signs of harm or damage begin occur, then it is time to step in and have a mediation between both parents and a counsellor, possibly removing them from the situation But of course if the parents were not wise enough to have counselling before the break up then, the likelihood of it happening afterwards is nigh impossible.This story shows all that is wrong with so many Eastern cultures when it comes to cultural pressures from the wider community, from the expectations forced upon both the man and the woman It was an interesting book, up to a point Disappointing in others, especially given the hype around it But is that simply because I come from the West, a broken family and now live in the East Who knows.If you want something easy to read, a summary of some Eastern principles when it comes to marriage, then it s worth a look, but I wouldn t get too excited about it #Download Book Í Custody è Raman is a fast rising marketing executive at a global drinks company Shagun is his extraordinarily beautiful wife With his glittering future, her vivid beauty, and their two adorable children eight year old Arjun who looks just like her and two year old Roohi who looks just like him the pair appear to have everything Then Shagun meets Raman s dynamic new boss Ashok and everything changes Once lovers and companions, husband and wife become enemies locked in an ugly legal battle over their two children Caught in their midst is the childless Ishita who is in love with the idea of motherhood Custody is the riveting story of how family love can disintegrate into an obsession to possess children, body and soul, as well as a chilling critique of the Indian judicial system Told with nuance, sympathy, and clear sightedness, it confirms Manju Kapur s reputation as the great chronicler of the modern Indian family I think this is the best of Kapur s novels so far She explores very emotional topics with such fervour What does it mean to be a mother Is a mother a bad mother if she chooses to seek her own happiness Can a mother be replaced by a mother figure Is a mother entitled to her children s love is she is physically separate from them Divorce is not uncommon in Asian society today, but in an Indian setting, seemscomplicated by the roles of the extended family members the in laws with bitter I think this is the best of Kapur s novels so far She explores very emotional topics with such fervour What does it mean to be a mother Is a mother a bad mother if she chooses to seek her own happiness Can a mother be replaced by a mother figure Is a mother entitled to her children s love is she is physically separate from them Divorce is not uncommon in Asian society today, but in an Indian setting, seemscomplicated by the roles of the extended family members the in laws with bitter recriminations, the doting grandparents who are denied their weekly feeding sessions, the cousins who seem to be perfectly happy, the lawyer relative who is caught between legalities and emotional outbursts..everyone has an opinion All the adults seem to have forgotten about the child s turmoil and I think that was exactly what Kapur was trying to convey Society s attitudes towards infertility to cast out a wife if she is barren The obsession with ensuring a lady is married and settled, as a yardstick to measure her happiness which filters down to parental coercion and feeling of low self esteem This recurring theme of what will people say, what will people think an inherent feature of Asian societies everywhere It would be interesting if Kapur does a follow up novel, focussing on the Roohi and Arjun, as they grow up and away from their divided family Manju Kapur never fails to amaze With her pincer grasp of Indian values and emotions, she can spin realistic tales of the Indian family life This story dealt with the trauma of divorce two individuals who are divorced by their spouses without any pertinent reason, the male counterpart having two children who are the pawns of vicious custody battle, and the female counterpart divorced because of her infertility They end up married to each other, but have to face the aftermath of the bitter cu Manju Kapur never fails to amaze With her pincer grasp of Indian values and emotions, she can spin realistic tales of the Indian family life This story dealt with the trauma of divorce two individuals who are divorced by their spouses without any pertinent reason, the male counterpart having two children who are the pawns of vicious custody battle, and the female counterpart divorced because of her infertility They end up married to each other, but have to face the aftermath of the bitter custody struggle for the man s children, especially the innocent, withdrawn female child, Ruhi I was drawn into the story and finished it almost in 2 3 prolonged sittings, otherwise I would be obsessed by the characters and find it difficult to concentrate in my day to day life It was a worthwhile read, but not a happy one It left me with a dull ache in my head as well as my heart I hate families splitting due to no apparent reason at all Manju Kapur writes with honesty and emotion in her novel Custody , a heart wrenching tale of infidelity,divorce and broken hearts Kapur explores the minds and hearts of the divorced couple Raman and Shagun, their future spouses and the traumatic effects of the complicated custody arrangement on the children, Arjun and Roohi.Ashok Khanna is in love with Shagun from the moment he sees her It would have been a fairytale romance except that Shagun is a married woman, married to Ashok s best emplo Manju Kapur writes with honesty and emotion in her novel Custody , a heart wrenching tale of infidelity,divorce and broken hearts Kapur explores the minds and hearts of the divorced couple Raman and Shagun, their future spouses and the traumatic effects of the complicated custody arrangement on the children, Arjun and Roohi.Ashok Khanna is in love with Shagun from the moment he sees her It would have been a fairytale romance except that Shagun is a married woman, married to Ashok s best employee and sales genius, Raman Ashok is charming, handsome and wealthy though Shagun leads a privileged life, she desires the excitement that Ashok promises Once Raman discovers the affair, Shagun must decide whether or not to leave everything behind, including her two young children.Through familial intervention, Raman meets Ishita, who attempts to soothe Raman s pain from his divorce as well as her own longing for a child A ready made family may seem ideal, but where there are children there are complications, and Raman s son, Arjun proves to be difficult to love.Kapur writes a realistic portrayal of the effects of divorce on children, and examines the damage that parents can do to children when they are used to emotionally blackmail the former spouse She reveals the complex dance people do to settle custody disputes and what a person will do in order to fulfill their selfish desires A very realistic and honest portayal of people trying to secure what the heart wants I received this book from the Goodreads First Reads program As I really enjoyed Home by Manju Kapur I was really looking forward to reading this novel and I certainly wasn t disappointed.Raman feels blessed with a very beautiful wife, Shagan, but that doesn t stop him spending most of his time working and travelling Then Ashok, Raman s dynamic new boss, meets Shagan and decides he must have her as his wife, whatever the consequences As Shagan and Raman both forge relationships with new partners, they find it impossible to reach agreement about the cust As I really enjoyed Home by Manju Kapur I was really looking forward to reading this novel and I certainly wasn t disappointed.Raman feels blessed with a very beautiful wife, Shagan, but that doesn t stop him spending most of his time working and travelling Then Ashok, Raman s dynamic new boss, meets Shagan and decides he must have her as his wife, whatever the consequences As Shagan and Raman both forge relationships with new partners, they find it impossible to reach agreement about the custody of their two children leading to years of conflict between the two couples.Set in Delhi during the 1900s, this novel provides a fascinating insight into modern India, uneasily emerging from the traditions and culture of the past This is fiction that is impressive in its skill and heartrending in its honesty.Manju Kapur s Custody demands a sensitive reading and it offers readers with many important aspects of understanding how marital life in India is fast disintegrating and being shaped by extra marital affairs, materialistic pursuits, and so on It also offers valuable insights into the vulnerability of children of broken marriages and new happily divorced and remarried statuses of Indian couples This is not merel This is fiction that is impressive in its skill and heartrending in its honesty.Manju Kapur s Custody demands a sensitive reading and it offers readers with many important aspects of understanding how marital life in India is fast disintegrating and being shaped by extra marital affairs, materialistic pursuits, and so on It also offers valuable insights into the vulnerability of children of broken marriages and new happily divorced and remarried statuses of Indian couples This is not merely a story It is a battlefield of sorts that tears your heart and soul apart because of it s masterful narrative and honesty Read it but be ready to cry Protagonists Shagun, the initially bored Raman, the hard working corporate slave Ashok, the ambitious boss and Ishita, the divorcee Set in the 90 s in Delhi, the story revolves around Raman Shagun comes to terms with her suffocation and unexciting married life in the arms of her husband s boss Ashok Raman, the hard working and rather unobservant husband realizes his wife Protagonists Shagun, the initially bored later rather over active wife Raman, the hard working corporate slave Ashok, the ambitious boss and Ishita, the divorcee Set in the 90 s in Delhi, the story revolves around Raman Shagun and their pursuit for seeking love and companionship Married for over a decade Shagun comes to terms with her suffocation and unexciting married life in the arms of her husband s boss Ashok Raman, the hard working and rather unobservant husband realizes his wife s infidelity when irreparable damage was done And then the quest of seeking divorce begins However, the twist in the tale occurs when the divorce is granted and custody of minor children needs to be settled The mother filled with new found love and the want to marry the love of her life quickly agrees for part custody of the children Shifted from one house to another like pieces of furniture their two children began their early life in turbulence The defiant son is soon sent to boarding soon while the much younger daughter tries settles in with her father.In parallel, unravels the life of young Ishita born to typical middle class East Delhi residing parents whose sole aim in life is to get their only child settled in matrimony Love soon finds its way in Ishita s life in the form of an arranged marriage making her postpone her higher studies plans As expected, the demands for a grandchild mount upon the young couple Endless doctor visits, medical tests and taunt from relatives shatters Ishita s confidence and shakes the foundation of her marriage An amicable divorce brings Ishita back to her maternal home with a suitcase full of her marriage transactions Two parallel lives of divorcees are brought together with Raman s younger daughter seeking a mother in Ishita Fight for maternal love and jealousy surges in Ishita who cannot bear to part with her daughter and soon finds them fighting for full custody of the children.Manju Kapur s Custody is a sure shot page turner that will make you yearn to readEach character is weaved so brilliantly that you will have empathy towards each of them Dealing with sensitive issues of infidelity and infertility, Manju Kapur artfully tackles the matter with her skillful writing Custody In Custody Manju Kapur has tried to explore the finer nuances of a divorce both pre and post Not only are we taken through the journey of what leads up to one, but also the repercussions of this as well The story takes us through the life of Raman, who works for The Brand , a leading soft drinks manufacturing company He has this respectable job, gets paid handsomely, and leads a decently content life with his gorgeous wife Shagun, his smart teenager son Arjun and his adorable three year In Custody Manju Kapur has tried to explore the finer nuances of a divorce both pre and post Not only are we taken through the journey of what leads up to one, but also the repercussions of this as well The story takes us through the life of Raman, who works for The Brand , a leading soft drinks manufacturing company He has this respectable job, gets paid handsomely, and leads a decently content life with his gorgeous wife Shagun, his smart teenager son Arjun and his adorable three year old daughter, Roohi.Parellely, we are introduced to Ishita, who although not strikingly beautiful, is wise, kind and generous Ishita gets married and leads a happy life, adapting to her new family, being everybody s favourite.Raman, like a dedicated employee, gets completely absorbed in his work and starts spending even less time with his family Shagun, after leading a happily married life so far, decides that she is bored of being just a house wife and now wants to start working The twist begins with the entry of Raman s bold and dashing boss AshokFor the full review, visit IndiaBookStore