Loosely based on Bindu’s own personal experiences, A Nice, Doctor Son is about the heartbreak of losing your first love, the importance of giving love a second chance, and the hope that maybe, just maybe, the 3rd time will be the charm.
In the last excerpt, the main character, Sarai, a twenty-something, first generation Indian, is devastated when her boyfriend of 5 years succumbs to family pressures and breaks up with her in favor of an arranged marriage. He wants to remain “friends” with her and even invites her to his wedding…
A Nice, Doctor Son (Excerpt Four)
It was finished. Armaan had made his choice, and there was no turning back for either of us now. I walked across the lawn, up the stairs of the terrace, but before I walked through the French doors, I indulged myself with one final glimpse at the most beautiful, enigmatic man I had ever met.
As the afternoon turned to dusk, the canopy, which had been lighted with small overhead lights, came alive in the rapidly fading sunlight. A spotlight illuminated Armaan from behind, briefly reminding me of an angel. Despite it being his wedding day, Armaan looked more serene than excited or happy, leading me to helplessly wonder if maybe, just maybe, he had his regrets.
As I continued watching him, his eyes drifted idly from the Hindu priest to his bride to the expansive number of guests that still dotted the lawn and then unexpectedly up to the terrace where I stood, a lone figure in silver and white. For a moment, he paused, his eyes fixated in my direction. I momentarily held my breath, wondering if he had indeed recognized me. But his eyes continued to drift randomly.
I exhaled slowly, resting my hand briefly on the terrace door. I once again gathered my resolve and continued, walking past the French doors, through the open foyer, and past lingering guests. I then jerked open those magnificent hand-carved wooden front doors with determination and allowed them to close behind me with a thud, a resounding finale to a chapter in my life.
As she attempts to rebuild her life without him, Sarai’s predicament is further complicated by her parents’ constant pressure to marry. At an age where many of her friends are marrying and having their first child, Sarai soon faces questions that plague many single women of today, regardless of their cultural background—where is the man of my dreams? How do I find him? And does he even exist?
Torn between being true to her family’s strict, conservative traditions and following her heart, Sarai finally acquiesces to her parents’ request to travel to India and begin the age-old quest of the “Arranged Marriage.” Within a matter of weeks of her decision, she finds herself in India, dressed in a sari, serving chai to a series of potential suitors who are all vying for her hand and a chance to come to the US and live their own American dream. While she is there, will she find the kind of man she has dreamed about, or will she have to sacrifice her idealized notions of love in order to find true happiness?
Lali quickly handed me the tray of chai, and I followed my uncle into the living room and placed the tray on the coffee table and handed a cup to each guest while I forcefully suppressed my urge to scan the room for my proposal. My patience was soon rewarded. The “boy” sat between his parents, hands resting meekly on his lap as he glanced at me and then quickly averted his eyes, suddenly very preoccupied with my uncle’s ceramic floor tile. He had a full head of hair that seemed to defy gravity and stood like wiry threads in all directions. Behind his thick gold-rimmed glasses, his eyes were small and constantly squinting. His cheeks were full and round and reminded me of someone who was trying to talk when his mouth was still full of food. He had a pronounced chin and, of course, the standard, full bushy moustache that had been in fashion with young Malayallee males for the last 75 years.
His eyes remained averted and he only gave me a passing glance when I handed him his cup of chai. There was no light in his eyes upon seeing me, no sign of interest. And with that realization came an instant sadness. Sadness for my aunt who was already treating them as family as she prompted them to take seconds of her fried banana chips and fried jackfruit. Sadness for my other uncles and aunts who had eagerly left their farming duties to gather at Rajan Uncle’s house in hopes that I wouldn’t be too picky and they would only have to do this once. Sadness for the boy’s entire family who had unknowingly just wasted four hours of travel time to see a finicky American-raised Indian who in the midst of an arranged marriage was still somehow hoping for some semblance of romantic love.
For most of my life, I have been a writer in one form or another. Through high school and college, I worked on and contributed to the school literary magazines as well as the school newspaper. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in English and Mass Media and a Master of Arts in English Literature with a specialization in technical writing, I have been working for the past 15 years as a business analyst/technical writer in various fields, from IT to healthcare. While I have written a few short stories, A Nice, Doctor Son is my first novel.