Preethi is now called a bitch. She rides a Royal Enfield, wolfs down beer, indulges in flings, and she is supremely independent. Also, somewhere in the darkest corner of her heart, she misses being loved, and wanted, she misses being able to trust another man, she misses knowing love for what it is.
Preethi was called a bitch, only because she was trapped in the circumstances of life, only because she followed the norms established by the society, only because she lived the life that she was expected to live.
She did what she was asked to do. And that almost killed her.
So, she now does what she wants to do. To discover what life is all about, and to surprise herself with her vulnerability, and strength.
Kavipriya Moorthy’s meditation on how a woman transforms when she uncovers a bag of dirty truths about her marital life, and how she processes all the emotional baggage, and the unsolicited advice that family, and friends hurl at her, is painfully true.
How is a female divorcee treated in India?
She is pitied. Poor woman must have gone through a lot.
She is judged. The monster must have driven her husband out.
She is blamed for her husband’s mistakes. She must have been so terrible that he chose to cheat on her.
She is exploited. She must be sexually frustrated. It’s okay to try.
While women recover in their own ways, their methods are judged too. No. She can’t choose alcohol. She can’t choose men. She can’t choose sex. No. She is expected to imprison herself in the memories of her past, and do an autopsy to know what were her mistakes, and replay events to see if she could have saved her marriage somehow. Or she must marry a divorcee.
If she rises from the ashes in ways that are not conventional, she is shot.
(But we shall keep regrowing our wings to take another flight.)
Dirty Martini is an intense, moving account of a woman, who finds her strength when her life plummets. I love her because I see myself in her broken shards. I love her more because she is strong, and weak at the same time. I love her even more because she recognises her true self.
As Preethi, the protagonist recovers from a harrowing past, she finds a bright light in Raghu. The man loves her for who she is; he is her home. Kavipriya Moorthy doesn’t allow us to take a deep breath, and relax there. Preethi’s cocoon breaks. What will she do when her banyan tree is uprooted? Life finds its way.
The book starts with this quote:
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
— Paulo Coelho
Dirty Martini is like a loud alarm that goes off in the morning to wake us up from our prejudices. It reminds us to not be cuffed by the insensitive notions of the world. It tells us to hug our lives, and listen to the relentless beat of our hearts.
Above all, we often have to be reminded by a book like that.