How to get rid of your spouse? Read on: Long, long ago, faraway somewhere at the outskirts of Bombay, now Mumbai, on India’s west coast, there lived a beautiful new bride with her difficult and unloving husband. For the young, attractive, sanguine wife, the hope of a romance filled marriage was dashed on the wedding night. You see, nothing happened on the wedding night, absolutely nothing.


On that faithful night, the groom came into bed, crawled under the covers and a minute later, sound of his deep throat snores filled the night. Ah, this was definitely not what the earliest Bombay romance movies that the Bride saw as a child, promised. It was supposed to be a beautiful night, a night of love and hot romance.


Naturally, the bride was most disappointed and greatly distressed. But then, her grandma had said a wife had to be patient with a husband and surely, her tired groom would make amends the next day.  She closed her eyes, said her prayers and slept off.


But it was the same pattern the next night and the one after and after and, well, nothing happened still! All her husband wanted was his food, the house sparkling, and a prize to show off to his friends.


The new bride soon became sad and depression followed. It was apparent that he didn’t find her suitable for sexual relations. Too ashamed to discuss the matter with anyone, her self-worth nose-dived. Slowly, thoughts of suicide, ending it all, began to assail her troubled mind.


Six months into the marriage, after a particularly difficult day, the unhappy wife thought long and hard and made a decision. She loved life too much to give it up. It was all her father’s fault. He picked the wrong man for her. Her husband was a horrible and wicked man. He was the problem, not her. There were better men out there who would make fantastic husbands. She would get rid of her husband.


But how would she get rid of her husband without anyone knowing she was the one responsible? She wrestled with the problem for days until one day, while washing her husband’s clothes, the solution hit her. She would visit her uncle, a native doctor in the next village. She knew him to be kind enough to understand her predicament and wicked enough to get the job done. Also, he wasn’t fond of her husband at all.


A few days later, as her husband left for work, she hurried off on her bicycle and rode furiously to the next village. Her uncle, a widower, was surprised but pleased to see her. Pleasantries exchanged, her aging uncle listened patiently, picking his dirty teeth with a broomstick all the while. Now and again, he grunted his disapproval as the unhappy wife poured out her heart.


By the time she was through, there was a twinkle in his wicked eyes, dimmed with age. He particularly understood the need to ensure that the dastardly act would not be traced to her. He withdrew into the inner confines of his weather beaten hut and emerged a few minutes later, with a tiny black bag.


Grinning wickedly, he exposed the contents of the bag, some blackish substance that filled the air with a most pleasant aroma. “Put a little of this in his meals before you serve him. It will do the job slowly but surely”


“How long before it kills him?” the unhappy but now hopeful wife asked


“Six months”


Six months? Her displeasure was apparent. Could she continue suffering for that long?


“If he dies suddenly, you will be the primary suspect” Her uncle explained.


“But I must warn you” he continued “You must be at your best behavior at all times. No arguments, no fights, you must never disobey his instructions. You must cook his favorite meals regularly to ensure that he takes the poison everyday and most important, you must lure him into your bed.”


The distressed wife couldn’t believe her ears. How on earth was she going to manage all that?


“If you are not at your best behavior, if neighbors see you having quarrels or fights during the course of the six months, you will be accused of killing him. You know that”


The sad wife shuddered. If there was any suspicion that she killed her husband, she would be stoned to death. Nobody had time for the judicial process. It was going to be jungle justice for her. She had witnessed the fate of too many widows in the village.


She nodded her agreement. “I will be at my best behavior”


“You better be” The native doctor warned in a solemn voice. Her Uncle knew that if any man in her village as much as pointed accusing fingers at her, he, as the most powerful medicine man for miles, would be called upon to administer the full punishment. That was the custom. He wouldn’t have a choice.