“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.
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.
She had gone through all the miscellaneous ceremonies associated with the typical grand Indian wedding—the engagement, the Mehendi, the Sangeet, the Haldi, and the grand finale; her father had spared no expense…– An Incurable Insanity
Mehendi (Henna) is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word Mendika. The tradition of applying it is several thousands of years old and is perhaps the most traditional form of body art. It is meant to ‘awaken the inner light’.
The deeper the color of the mehendi, the stronger the affection between husband and wife.
The Mehendi ceremony is a very significant pre-marriage ritual in North India, one which the entire family fondly looks forward to. On the night before the wedding called the Mehendi or Henna night, the bride gets her hands and feet adorned with intricate designs by a henna expert. The groom’s name is concealed within the design and he is expected to unearth it on the wedding night.
The bride is joined by her female friends and relatives and there is much celebration along with singing of traditional wedding songs and dance. After this ceremony, the bride is not supposed to step outside her home until the wedding ceremony.
It is said that the deeper the color of the final henna, the greater the affection for the bride in her new family.
The application of Henna is also a part of various joyous celebrations including pregnancies and other festivities.
Watch a henna ceremony video:
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