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.
“Here… lunch.” She pushed a box towards him.
“I don’t want it.”
“I feel awkward.”
“But you never felt that way before, so why now?” You took me for granted. She stared reproachfully at him.
“It’s different now.” My perspective has changed. I behaved like a slave master, it’s humiliating. He stared right back.
She pretended to appear disinterested, “you can eat it, give it to your friends or throw it away. This is all I can do to pay you back right now.”
“You don’t have to worry about paying me back. It’s the least that I can do to make up for what I’ve put you through.”
Her chair knocked sharply against the wall, as she jumped to her feet. “What? You think that’s compensation enough? Nothing you do will give me back what I’ve lost! Yes, I agreed to marry you because I was blind and innocent! But who gave you the right to destroy my life, especially since you were having an affair and there was no hope for us? You treated me as if I was a disposable object! Why? Tell me why?”
“Yes I know I’m the worst kind of cad! But my hands were tied! My grandfather was on his death-bed, I had no choice!” He snapped back gripping the counter till his knuckles turned white.
Walking up to him, she said softly, “Yes you had a choice. You could have walked away. You could have been a man.”
Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several years. Her contemporary romance novel An Incurable Insanity, published by Tate Publishing, was released on October 8, 2013. An Incurable Insanity is her first foray into writing. The inspiration for the story 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. She also writes poetry, is an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. She currently lives in Denver with her family.