The Blurb Reads
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
So finally I had a book written by an Indian Writer (= Well she’s from India, I should let that technicality lapse!) And the blurb was enticing. So I picked it up with full gusto and devoured it in 2 days! Ruhi is the typical Punjabi mundi (=aka girl), fair, smart, temperamental and much in demand in the wedding market. Shaan is an intelligent yet reclusive bachelor. What happens when their worlds collide? How does Ruhi take it when she realises that Shaan doesn’t care about her and finds another woman attractive?
There were many things to like in this book and again there were things which made me cringe. I can’t even imagine the state of shock that Ruhi would have gone through, a newly wedded Indian bride, sitting, waiting for her marital life to start, only to have it shattered by her husband, who isn’t interested in her. She decides to be the ideal bride to convert her husband into a believer. But that fails. That’s when she takes matters into her rather impulsive and hot tempered head.
Ruhi reminded me a little of myself, the short tempered girl. But there were many times when I really wished she’d stop. Some scenes were excessive AND the story would have been FINE just without them. Shaan realises quite early on in the book that he has feelings for Ruhi. He tries to convey them to her but she doesn’t listen once she takes up her charade of being “just friends”.
At the risk of not sounding too critical of a desi writer (=rather a desi born writer!) I did feel Ruhi was too temperamental at times. A lot changes after marriage. Also I didn’t appreciate the fact that the two characters had so little bit of conversation between them. So many of the issues would have sorted themselves out had they just spoken, but then maybe we wouldn’t have had the book as it is at all. The parts where Ruhi does soften her stance made me smile. But those where she was gruff and acting all childish made me really want to slap her. Who pouts when anyone takes them to a Hollywood Boulevard? That just showed Ruhi’s immaturity and distanced me from her character.
I did try to think and re think and put myself in her shoes. But beyond a point, I couldn’t. The thing is, we as people have such FIXED IDEAS of what MARRIAGE IS and how people are supposed to behave. Everyone has it. A lot of Indian families have it, as is evidenced in Ruhi’s conversations with her mother and as is Charlotte, the traditional brunette from Sex and the City who keeps chiding her friends for not sticking to the traditional, “that is not acceptable in a marriage!”. Every marriage cannot be the same and both the parties have to discover themselves, by talks by experiences. And things that make a couple tick are different. What transpires between my parents is different from what smiles my grandparents share and that I found seriously deficient in the book. Taking a marriage headlong and usurping love is something what we’ve always seen. It doesn’t seem as real as a couple discovering themselves along their wedding journey.
But what I cannot hold back, is that Ruhi’s insanity, irritating or otherwise draws you to the book. It makes you think and it makes you laugh and smile. Shaan is obviously falling for her charms and he cannot resist Ruhi but he is reticent. How many men are reticent? Far too many!!! And that makes Shaan so much more irresistible! His aloofness and his frustration at not knowing how to express his love to his firecracker!! His love does shine in the end and wins Ruhi over.
What I really enjoyed was the consummation of the marriage. I don’t believe in casual sex. I’m making that very clear. Or pre-marital sex unless I am convinced it is with the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Something changes when a couple consummates their marriage. Like the author said, Ruhi felt like she had been claimed, there was an indelible stamp on her, she now belonged completely to Shaan. In that respect I really value cultures that propogate this. Casual sex and flings from bars will never compensate feeling full because you know you’re his. For Life. This was the HIGH POINT of the book for me!!
My Rating: 3.5/5
About the Author
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.