Shrabani wore a blue saree for the “fulsajyar raat” or wedding night. Fulsajya literally means a bed covered with flowers and raat means night, so literally it means the night you spend on a bed made of or covered by flowers.
Shrabani’s wedding bed was carefully made under the diligent observation of her husband Abhrajyoti. He wanted the bed to look perfect. The moment the bed was ready Abhra started clicking photos with his DSLR camera from various angles and posted it on his instagram account with the caption “the night beckons.”
Shrabani was sitting in the hall, waiting for the bed to get ready and blushing within. She was excited but pretended a coy composure. In India a woman is supposed to behave shy and coy on her wedding night and Shrabani was trying to meet the standard social expectation.
Once the bed was ready few women from her husband’s family asked Shrabani to get ready for THE night. One of them winked naughtily at her. Shrabani looked down shyly. The women took Shrabani to her bed room.
Shrabani tried to get a glimpse of the bed from the corner of her eyes. It was tastefully done, unlike any other wedding bed she had seen before. The stands were wrapped with tube rose strings, yellow daisy, and different shades of roses were used to decorate the headboard of the bed. Rose petals were scattered on the bed sheet. The bed was looking beautiful and the room smelt divinely erotic.
Shrabani was given a glass of milk and instructed to give it to Abhra. She obediently followed. Abhra took the glass of milk and finished it instantly. He then took out a red box from the pocket of his punjabi. He opened the box and Shrabani could see a nice diamond ring inside. He put it in Shrabani’s ring finger. Abhra directed his cousin Mintu to click pictures. Soon many of Abhra’s relatives started clicking pictures in their mobiles.
Shrabani and Abhra posed for numerous stupid and awkward pictures. Shrabani was feeling slightly embarrassed but she kept her smiling face intact. It was getting late and the amateur photographers soon lost enthusiasm and probably got sleepy. Gradually all of them left the room one after the other. Shrabani and Abhra were now alone inside the room. Abhra went and locked the door. He then looked at Shrabani and asked her to change her sari and wear something comfortable.
Piyali was Shrabani’s best friend in college. She was a naughty girl who had gifted Shrabani a revealing night dress as wedding gift. Piyali had given the gift secretly and asked Shrabani to wear it on her wedding night. Shrabani had kept that nighty in her handbag. When Abhra asked her to change, Shrabani swiftly reached for her handbag, took out the nighty and went inside the attached bathroom. She came out of the bathroom looking ‘hot’ in her skimpy outfit.
Abhra had also changed from his Punjabi Pajama to shorts and T-shirt. Shrabani was impressed to see his bare legs. Abhra asked Shrabani to switch off the light on her way to the bed. He was already on the bed. Shrabani switched off the light and came to the bed. She was finding it difficult to find the bed in this darkness in a new room. At her home she can find anything even in pitch darkness. This room was new and she even knocked on something.
When she came to the bed, she found Abhra on the other edge. Her heart was beating in joyful anticipation. The king sized bed had enough space for both of them and Abhra was utilising the space in maintaining a good distance from his new bride. Shrabani lay down straight on the bed. Her hands crossed over her stomach. She was finding it uncomfortable in all those bangles and necklaces. She was not yet used to sleep with so many ornaments on herself. She was expecting that Abhra would probably remove those ornaments from her body instead he said “Let’s sleep now, if I stay awake till late I get dark circles.” He turned to the other side and fell asleep fast.
Shrabani felt disappointed as this was not how she had imagined her wedding night however she concluded that Abhra was not like other guys and he was too decent and sober to do anything on the first night. As theirs was an arranged marriage, they were nothing less than strangers and he was taking his time to know her better.
Two days later they left for their honeymoon to Goa. Shrabani was anticipating that they would break the ice in their Goa hotel room. The first night in Goa, Abhra again turned his back and fell asleep. The second night he said he had a terrible headache, to which Shrabani gave him Saridon and also massaged his forehead. The third night he said he was tired. The fourth night Shrabani stopped expecting.
They came back from Goa after a week and Shrabani was still a virgin. However she was getting impatient. Abhra had not even touched her hands in last fifteen days. To make it worse he started sleeping in the library. The library in their house was a small space where there was a bookshelf, the desktop and a small couch. It was a cosy little corner that Shrabani had admired the day she came to this house for the first time. The small couch in the library became Abhra’s sleeping bed.
Shrabani understood that he was avoiding her. She started feeling inferior, numerous thoughts started coming in her mind. She presumed that Abhra married her under compulsion and he doesn’t like her. She started feeling restless.
It was almost after two months of her marriage. Abhra was still sleeping in the couch and hardly interacted with Shrabani. They were living like two strangers under the same roof. Abhra’s parents lived in Pune and they had gone back soon after Abhra and Shrabani left for their ‘honeymoon’. Shrabani felt claustrophobic in the house. Abhra never spoke to her. He came home late, mostly skipped dinner, slept on the couch and left home early in the morning, many a day before Shrabani woke up.
Shrabani was getting tired of ‘juicy’ questions from her friends and family. One day she called Piyali home. She wanted to confide in someone about her ordeal. When Piyali heard she was more than shocked. She asked Shrabani not to lose hope and confront Abhra. She said maybe they should together visit a doctor.
That night Shrabani decided to wait for Abhra. She went to library and decided to wait. Abhra had a duplicate key of the house and he never knocked to enter the house. While waiting in the library Shrabani was casually arranging the magazines that were lying scattered on the bookshelf. She came across magazines that were subscribed by Abhra. She had not seen these magazines or their names before. Most magazines had good looking men on the cover page. She started flipping through the pages and saw images of men in explicit positions. While flipping through one of the magazines a photograph slipped and fell on the floor. Shrabani picked it up and saw Abhra posing with another man. The man’s hands on Abhra’s waist and Abhra’s hand on his shoulder. She looked closely at the photograph and saw Abhra’s lips and cheeks were pink, his eyelashes were also looking longer. Tears ran down Shrabani’s cheeks and she stood there like a statue. Shrabani was scared to admit to herself that her worst fear had come true.