by Simi K. Rao
Paperback, eBook, 376 pages
Just released: October 8, 2013 by Tate Publishing
Join the #Talk daily on Simi's Facebook
as she walks us through the beautiful backdrop to her amazing book...
"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
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.
An Introduction to Hindu Marriage (Vivaah)
Why do we do so?
Perhaps because it brings us together as a community and provides us comfort in a foreign environment. The same I think applies to immigrants from all across the globe.
Let me start with a subject which continues to baffle a lot of people in the west: Arranged Marriages.
I have been asked by some of my friends to elaborate on the tradition of arranged marriages and explain why they continue to be so popular, as well as describe the various rituals which take place during a typical wedding.
As a part of Hindu culture, arranged nuptials remain resilient even today despite the invasion of modern thought into every aspect of Indian society. Times are definitely changing but many young Indians still prefer it.
Because your work is done for you. When you have reached a certain age (early twenties in women and mid to late twenties in men on an average,) the hunt for a suitable match begins. After a lot of deliberation, one is chosen for you by your parents with advice from the elders in the family, taking into consideration among various other things; caste and social class. Marrying outside one’s caste is frowned upon and in some rural communities it can even lead to dire consequences.
The horoscopes (very important for suitability,) are matched. The girl and the boy can get to know each other. They are often able to express reservations if any and sometimes also have the veto power. But if all the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed, who would want to say no?
Why do arranged marriages succeed?
I’m not sure about the answer, but as one of my colleagues suggested, perhaps they succeed because there are zero expectations on both sides, in addition to a willingness to compromise and make it work. There is also considerable social monitoring.
More on the culture of marriage:
In Hinduism, marriage is an essential stage of life. It is the sacred responsibility (Dharma) of each and every individual in the society, unless the individual has accepted a life of renunciation (Sanyasa) due to an intense yearning for liberation.
Marriage is a sacred relationship. It is not just the meeting of two individuals but of two souls. It’s purpose is for the continuation of family and to practice one’s Dharma. There is no concept of divorce. Once married, a couple are wedded for life. Divorce is a modern concept introduced through the Hindu Marriage Act of India.
Wedding traditions vary according to the different regions in India (North, South, East and West.) But in essence the basis of the rituals is mostly the same.
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.
$100 Gift Card to Amazon
5 eCopies of An Incurable Insanity
October 18 - November 11, 2013. International giveaway. Must be able to download winnings. Must be 18 to enter. See Rafflecopter for additional restrictions.
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* part of event: An Insurable Insanity tour - check out the other stops for more details on this book and goodies sponsored by Prism Book Tours - now booking tours for 2014 here.
Tomorrow visit The Wonderings of One Person who continues this theme with "The Seven Vows".
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10/21: #Dawat-Recipe Intriguing Reads
10/23: #Dawat-Recipe Deal Sharing Aunt
10/24: #Desi-Marriage Ritual Giveaway Breaking News for Indonesia
10/25: #Shakti-Indian Culture Christy’s Cozy Corners
10/26: #Dawat-Recipe Book Babe
10/27: #Dawat-Recipe Brooke Blogs
10/28: #Dawat-Recipe Living a Goddess Life
10/29: #Shakti-Indian Culture Sun Mountain Reviews
10/30: #Desi-Marriage Ritual Mel’s Shelves
10/31: #Shakti-Indian Culture Shannon McDermott
11/1 – 11/5: Grand Finale