Waiting in the living room sipping sickly sweet tea, waiting for Victoria and Simmi, making small talk with her father was probably one of the hardest things I had had to do in a long time.
Normally it was me who people wanted to see, I was used to being the most powerful person in the room. But now, sitting opposite Simmi’s father, I felt like a mouse in a Lions den.
The apartment was unlike anything I was used to, it smelled like incense and ghee and its beige walls to dark carpert, everything was awash with colour. There were bright and intricate portraits of the gods and their devotees on the walls, and not the modest type either, the carperts were covered with bright hand woven carpets and I sat in an over plush chair. its wooden frame intricately carved covered in wine read embossed material.
Simmi's father was a middle-aged man with a sky blue turban and neatly pinned beard, and a pronounced pot belly but he had these beady eyes and stared as if he could see your souls very deepest secrets.
‘ So you and Victoria are married?”
‘ yes sir.” I answered, stammered more like.
‘ Good. Very good. Arranged?” I nodded. The way he stared at me made me extreemly uncomfortable.This was starting to feel like an interrogation.
‘ bhoot acha, I’ve been trying to get my Simmi to marry, there are so many suitable men around, but they wont stay around forever.’ He sat back in his chair and waved his hands in the air. ‘ bah, but this girl, she wants to study, to work, have a career, whats the use of all that if she is going to live her whole life a spinster ? My boys are not marrying any time soon, no suitable girls around, we’ve been looking for girls in India, but its not as easy as before…”
“Simmi said you own a restaurant?” I asked, this conversation was making me feel uncomfortable and I wondered what was taking the girls so long.
“ Yes the Bombay Dhaba in Westport. Have you been? We make the best Pav Bhaji in the area. You must come!”
‘ Uncle Ji, thank you so much for letting me take Simmi tonight,” Victoria said as she practically pulled an almost incapacitated Simmi towards the lounge and I had to stifle a laugh.
What on earth was she wearing?
It was Indian clothing, a mid thigh fitted top with extremely puffy harem pants, and her dupatta was draped around her head and it was obvious her hair was dripping wet.
This was the most demure I had ever seen this girl.
‘ This project is so hard and we wont pass if we don’t finish it this week, and I really need Simmi’s help. She is one of the smartest in the class. Its been my fault really, I’ve been so distracted with being married.” And I watched as she looked at me and flashed me a shy but at the same time showy smile.
Who knew this girl knew how to be an actress.
"Na na puttra , don’t worry, I am glad that Simmi is helping you. After all, its not proper for a married woman to be away from her marital home without good reason."
" Don’t worry about Simi, we have ten bedrooms….”
‘ das rooms! You live in a mansion! A grand mahal?
‘Ji uncle, and a swimming and a poolhouse too and its also very long drive back home so we shall go now? Ok?”
‘Ji beti. Simmi?
‘ Behave yourself, and don’t trouble Mr Maholtra, he’s a very respectful man. You could learn a thing or two from Victoria, see what a nice husband she has got!”
‘ And don’t for get your morning prayers.”
‘And no funny business, if your brothers catch you..”
‘ Ji Papa.”
‘ Why are you wearing so much perfume?”
‘ Oh that was me uncle, Simmi had so many perfumes I wanted to try them, I guess we used too much, Simmi shall we go?” I watched as Victoria pulled Simmi towards the door with a vicelike grip on her arm.
I jumped up and grabbed the duffel bag that was on the floor.
‘ Phillip Ji, no need, I will take the bag down!” Simmi father insisted.
‘ That’s ok, it’s a long drive and I’ve had a long day.” And with that we finally escaped, dragging Simmi down the stairs.
‘ You gave her a shower?” I hissed as we helped Simmi into the lift. Sometime on the way down Simmi passed out and was mumbling incoherently and I had to grab one of her arms to keep her from dragging Victoria down or slumping on the elevator floor.
‘What else was I supposed to do? She smelt like alcohol and puke!"
We pretty much dragged the dead weight Simmi and bundled her into my car,praying and hoping that her father could'nt hear the noise or woudn't be watching from the window.
‘ Wait!’ Victoria hissed as I helped Simmi get into the car and she raced into the lobby and brought out a small rubbish lined with a plastic bag.
‘ you stole a bin? What do you need that for?” I asked, not wanting someone else's dirty bin in my car.
“ Relax, we'll bring it back!"
' Yep, your my partner in crime now! Anyway, thats not thepoint, have yo never been drunk before? Like really really drunk? I’ve seen enough of my brothers hangovers to know what happens when you get too drunk. Please just get us home before uncle sees. I am pretty sure he will be watching from the window!”
And sure enough, 10 minutes into the drive Simmi hurled the contents of her stomach up into the bin before she finally passed out into a drunken stupor.
YOU ARE READING
An Arranged AffairRomance
To repay the debt owed by her parents, Victoria, a young Indian girl born to immigrant parents, is forced into an arranged marriage to the only son of the weathy Malholtra family. Unable to see past her familys betrayal she makes a plan to make her...