I flew to London and went directly to the United States Embassy. There I learned that the DEA had been trying to catch the American man for decades. I wasn’t wanted for arrest because the DEA had tracked my involvement and determined that I had no awareness of the smuggling ring. The embassy representative told me I shouldn’t go back to America or India because the involved men were still out on bail. It wasn’t safe for me in either country until the cases were resolved and the accused were in prison.
I had no money, so I moved into a bed and breakfast in a seedy townhouse that cost $5 a night. They served me cornflakes, eggs and toast every morning. I spent the next two years working and studying while the trials proceeded in both countries. As soon as the trials were over and the accused were in jail I went back to India. I didn’t care about the life I had built up in London.
When I went back to New Delhi I was more mature and sophisticated. I danced every morning for three hours and at night I made inroads into the New Delhi social circuit. I was dating here and there but one man named Arun got his eyes on me. I was 24 and he was 42 and married with children.
The first time I met him a whole group of us went into the foothills of the Himalayas for ten days to hike and shoot. Initially Arun and I were friends but one morning on the golf course he announced to that he was going to marry me in front of all his friends. New Delhi was a very gossipy social scene and the news spread like wildfire.
I was overwhelmed that this man would upend his life for me. Looking back I question why I didn’t run the other direction. Instead of running I went on a month long trip to research dance and contemplate Arun’s proposal. After a period of reflection I decided that since his marriage appeared irreconcilable I would give our relationship a try.
Arun was a very successful commodities trader and government representative to companies that wanted to sell weapons and munitions to the Indian army. Everything was wonderful with him except for his temper – there were times I questioned whether I could be with a man that had such intense anger.
One day his employee was arrested out of the blue. We didn’t know what had happened. Four days later Arun was arrested. It turns out Arun’s employee worked part time for two retired military officers who passed military secrets to the United States government.
Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister at the time and had been elected out of office for corruption due to her ‘Emergency’ period when she slung her opponents into prison. But at this time she had managed to regain power amidst fierce opposition. Believing that Arun was sympathetic to the opposition and that he had potentially damaging information about her, Indira’s government accused Arun of wrongdoing without evidence and denied him bail.
Arun spent the next two years in prison. His life was totally wrecked but he handled everything with such dignity that I loved him more in prison than I had ever loved him before. Suddenly his bad temper seemed irrelevant. What mattered was the strength of his character – to have your whole world torn apart and not collapse…