Bride dies after husband's sex ploy

NEW DELHI - The works of Shakespeare could have saved a young Indian bride from suicide. If only a man named Subba Rao, from southern India, had bothered to read Romeo and Juliet he would have realised the terrible consequences of feigning death, writes Tim McGirk.

In this modern-day Indian version of the tragedy there are no feuding Montagues and Capulets. The only villain is the village astrologer, who told Mr Rao and his bride that although they were married, they had to wait until the stars were auspicious on 16 September before they could enjoy sex.

This meant a delay of more than six months before they could consummate their marriage. With a month to go, the over-heated Mr Rao could stand it no longer. He hit on a desperate plan.

Smearing a few granules of pesticide on his lips, he faked a suicide attempt. As Mr Rao was being dragged off to the nearest clinic, 6 miles away in Sattupalli, in Andhra Pradesh state, he croaked out the reason why he had poisoned himself. It was because he and his wife were forbidden to make love, he said.

According to some newspaper reports Mr Rao's wife, Nagalakshmi, may have been as young as 14. She believed her husband was dying. That evening, when Mr Rao, 20, was being discharged from the hospital in perfect health, his besotted young bride swallowed the remaining pesticide. Then she lay down on their new bed, a wedding present, and waited for the poison's grip.

Nagalakshmi's agonised screams roused her family and they rushed her to the hospital. Her path to Sattupalli undoubtedly crossed her husband's, who was returning home by bus, pleased and anxious to see if his bogus suicide had stirred up enough sympathy to make her family relent and finally, after so many months, let them make love.

Instead, he learnt that his prank had caused his wife's death.

Later, the girl's father lamented to the Indian Express: 'I was only waiting for an auspicious occasion for the nuptials. I only wanted a happy life for them. Had I known . . .'

Proper medical help, as well as Shakespeare, might have saved the bride. But by the time Nagalakshmi's family arrived at the same clinic where her husband had been, the doctor in charge had left - to attend a wedding.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003