“In Rao’s debut novel an arranged marriage sets the stage for an intimate look at the exasperating madness of love….An often intoxicating…will-they-won’t-they tale.”- KIRKUS REVIEWS
An Incurable Insanity
by Simi K Rao
Paperback, eBook, 376 pages
Published October 8, 2013 by Tate Publishing
Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.
She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. “I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It’s probably a good thing to do anyway.”
As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, “So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?”
Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.
Saat Pheras or Seven Vows
Hindu marriages are all about customs and rituals. There are several both before and after the wedding ceremony making it a very elaborate affair. But the most important of them all is the Seven Vows or Saath Pheras which occur during the ceremony because they are said to contain the essence of the practice of marriage. Without them a marriage is considered meaningless.
These seven vows are the promises that a bride and groom make to each other while revolving around the sacred flames in front of the pundit (holy priest) and the God Almighty and hence become permanently bound in the sacred relationship.
‘Ruhi quietly and blissfully followed Shaan around the sacred flames carefully listening to and reciting the Saath Pheras in her mind.’ – An Incurable Insanity
You will offer me food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide welfare and happiness for you and our children.
I am responsible for the home and all household responsibilities.
Together we will protect our house and children.
I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely.
May we grow wealthy and prosperous and strive for the education of our children. May our children live long.
I will love you solely for the rest of my life, as you are my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste.
You have brought sacredness into my life, and have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children.
I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can.
You are my best friend, and staunchest well-wisher. You have come into my life, enriching it. God bless you.
I promise to love and cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes.
May you be filled with joy and peace.
I will always be by your side.
We are now husband and wife, and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity.
As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honor and cherish each other forever.
* Excerpt *
Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. The inspiration for An Incurable Insanity came from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community. Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from friends and casual conversations with acquaintances…
I am a physician–and to many I may appear serious and solitary. But once people get to know me better, they often think that I am frank, down to earth, with quite a quirky sense of humor. And that is what I bring to my writing—read and you shall see.
I was born in the dead center of India, but had the privilege of spending time both in the north and south. Therefore I have been able to sample and absorb to some extent the vastly diverse cultures and languages of both these regions (the very quality that imparts tremendous richness to our country’s heritage,) —a phenomenon perhaps not seen anywhere else in the world.
After immigrating to the United States in my early twenties and spending several years in this country, whenever I travel back to my homeland now, I find that I appreciate my roots a lot more. Still there is so much to see and learn, that a lifetime won’t suffice.
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