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“When I saw the bedroom decorated with red and white roses, I shivered with fear. I knew what would happen next but I was barely prepared,” relates Aalia Mallik who was only 20 when her parents got her married with a guy she had never seen. But, she accepted the marriage proposal because she was sure her parents would find the best guy for her. After getting engaged officially, they made calls, texted each other and liked each other’s pictures on Facebook. It was like a long distance virtual relationship for them.
It all seemed intimidating and strange. I started crying….
“Time passed quickly and the day of my marriage arrived. My lehenga was so heavy I could not walk in it without someone holding me and heavy gold ornaments dangled from my neck, hands and ears. After my nikah and after the marriage procession was complete, I was exhausted. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to get rid of my clothes and jewellery,” says Aalia. “It was 2am when my sister-in-law took me to Zaid’s bedroom. The smell of roses nauseated me. I was sitting at the edge of an unknown huge bed, unlike the smaller one which I slept on back home. Now this would be my home for the rest of my life. This is where I will live my life and give birth to my children. I wouldn’t be seeing my mother, my brother and sisters every day. There will no longer be my mom to make my breakfast. I will not be Aalia Mallik anymore. I will be Aalia Zaid Shaikh. It all seemed so intimidating and strange. I started crying. I wanted to go back home, back to the comfortable life I’ve come to love. I heard a slight knock on the door that was left slightly ajar and my skin crawled.”
Aalia had been single in her teenage years and she hardly had any male friends. She lived the way an Indian girl is expected to. Virgin and within the boundaries of her culture. Marriage was an alien phenomenon for her. Love, indeed was something she never understood.
“It was Zaid. I quickly wiped my tears. He locked the door and came to sit beside me. I was in a room with a stranger, elder to me by 9 years and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. My mom had instructed me, “He will be your husband. Whatever he will do to you, don’t worry. I have also been through it. You will love him Aalia. Just hold yourself together.”
“Zaid was sweating profusely although the air conditioner was kept at a low temperature. He was nervous, I could tell it right away but so was I. Plus, if I didn’t remove my earring, my ears would bleed. He looked at me and then looked away. Then he looked at me again. He didn’t know what to say. He was shy. If the night went on like this, I would never get to sleep. So I initiated the conversation. This gave him some confidence and he asked me if I could be his forever. This question shifted my adrenaline to the sixth gear. My heart throbbed and shakily I said, “Yes.” Then we played all the games we were supposed to, he finding his name on my mehendi-designed hand and us drinking milk from the same glass. We relaxed a little and started talking. The only thing he repeatedly told me was to feel at home, to feel free. We were going to have a wonderful life together, that I was sure of. He removed my kangans, my ornaments and assisted me in taking all the safety pins off my wedding dress.”
“Then he turned off the lights and held my hand. His touch was warm but tender. It was like a dream for me, very different from the movies that I had seen. We undressed carefully, the knot of nikah I tied with him became the strongest knot of my life with unending love and undying compassion. We made love all night and it was 7am after I closed my eyes. It was a sexy and memorable wedding night.”
I was ready for sex, but not oral sex…
Most marriages in India are arranged. A woman’s parents look for a man to marry their daughter with. People who are supposed to be married have no say in it. Women are not allowed to be in relationships, asked to keep their virginity intact and share a bed with a complete stranger. However, with time, women in India have started demanding their rights. They want to marry a man of their choice. Such is the case with Priya Chatterjee, a girl belonging to a middle class family.
Priya had a love marriage. She had known her boyfriend for 2 years and in her words, she loved her truly. “But I don’t like a blowjob, the thought of it makes me puke,” she says. She has kissed her boyfriend Harry many a times but nothing more than that. They had a friendly relationship. They were lovers but they were also best friends.
“He once tried to grab my boobs but I shooed his hands away. I had strictly told him that we won’t get intimate before marriage.” And now, she was getting married. Her parents did not approve of her boyfriend but she forced them to. “I hail from a middle class Hindu family. My parents wanted to marry me off to someone with a blue collar, that way I would be secure. When I told them I wanted to marry Harry, they did not talk to me for weeks. They told me I had lost my mind and needed a checkup but I knew what I wanted. Harry made me feel special, we had a mutual understanding and if not him, I wouldn’t marry anyone.” Priya was excited and thrilled as the day of her marriage approached. They had planned to spend their wedding night at a hotel room. “I was ready for sex, I was ready to give myself to him but I was not ready for oral sex. I sometimes tried to tell him about it but got really nervous. Now my nervousness was at its peak.”
They drove to their hotel room. A surprise awaited Priya there. “When we got to the reception, Harry picked me up in his arms and the hotel staff began cheering. I felt embarrassed and shy. I told him to let me down but he wanted to make the night special. He kept me in his arms till we reached our room. He lowered me to the floor, locked the door and blindfolded me. Everything was happening so fast and we both were excited. He then picked me up again and when he opened my blind, I was in the bedroom. The bed had beautiful flowers all over it and a sweet smell hung in the air. There were small candles everywhere. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how much I wanted to hug him. As if sensing my intentions, he came closer to me and wrapped his arms around me. He kissed me so softly, I felt jittery. Slowly and softly he brought his lips on my neck and started kissing me. I could feel hotness spread all over me. I told him to stop but my words didn’t sound as real as it should and he continued kissing me. Abruptly he stopped. He asked me if I wanted to sleep. I wanted everything but sleep.”
Harry then looked into Priya’s eyes and told her he loved her. She went to the bathroom and changed her clothes. After Priya came out, Harry took her in his arms and cuddled her. “Finally I told him what was on my mind for so long. I told him, ‘I don’t like a blowjob. Please don’t ask me to do that.’ He laughed at my words. Our wedding night was unfolding perfectly but at this I felt angry. Would he tell me that I am his wife now and I will have to do it? I asked him, “What’s so funny?” He kissed my forehead and said, “I did not marry you for sexual pleasure. It is a small thing for me. There are a few things I don’t like and likewise, you don’t. I don’t want to force it on you. I want to make my wedding night memorable. If you allow me, can I proceed?” I was moved by his honesty and gentleness. I gave him the permission to kiss my body to touch me and to be mine. His thrusts were slow. I was flying in the sky and the pleasure that came with it was eternal. I will always cherish the memories of my wedding night.”
Something got over me and I kissed her passionately…
If you don’t like your marriage, it becomes an official prostitution arranged by your parents. On the contrary, if you like it, it becomes a lifelong bliss. In a country where virgins are brought up in an oppressive culture, the thought of being naked in front of a man on her wedding night is considered ‘violating’ by many women. But they accept them, they have to. There are expectations and hopes that a woman’s partner will treat her equally and care for her. There are times when this expectation is shattered and women have to deal with it, somehow, now that she has been married.
The following narrative is given by Manish, a man whose bride was chosen by his parents.
“The prospect of holding my bride on my wedding night thrilled me. I was allowed to see Nikita only once when I went with my parents to her home to ask for marriage. She was dark skinned and beautiful.”
After they agreed to marry, they spoke very less to each other. Manish fantasized about Nikita all the time. He practiced in the mirror the way he would talk to her, he would tell her good things. He knew she would be nervous and he swore to himself that he wouldn’t be forceful. He asked his married friends how did they spent their wedding nights and they gave different answers. Some forcefully had sex with their wives while others waited for their wife’s consent.
“On the day of my marriage, I was way too excited. The ceremonies took longer than I had expected and I saw how tired Nikita looked. I wanted to remove that load of jewelery from her tiny body. I wanted to free her of all that and look into her eyes and talk to her and make love to her. She looked stunning. We were going to spend our wedding night at my parent’s home. I didn’t rent a separate house for myself and my bride because that’s what I was told to do. Nikita would be living under the same roof as my mom and dad. She didn’t refrain. When I told her this, she accepted it as if it were a normal thing. When I went into my bedroom, she was sitting on the bed with her knees drawn close to her chest. She didn’t look at me when I entered. I locked the door and started talking to her. She replied to me in one or two words. This was not working properly. I knew she was nervous but this rude behavior was hurting me.
I told her, “If you are very tired, you may go off to sleep. I won’t touch you. We have to live our lives together and I don’t want to spoil the beginning.” She smiled at me coyly. She took my hands in hers and told me she needed time. We changed our clothes without looking at each other. We went to sleep and after an hour or so, she was fast asleep. I couldn’t sleep all night. I touched her face, her slender features, her sweet lips and her shiny hair. She woke up and smiled at me. I never saw a smile so innocent as hers all my life. Something got over me and I kissed her passionately. She must have been surprised but she did not move. Rather, she kissed me back. We kissed and hugged the whole night. When morning came, I was on top of her enjoying the most beautiful time of my life. It was as if I had known her my entire life. My wedding night is the one I will always remember. Her soft skin, her innocent eyes and especially her angelic smile has it all to turn me on.”
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This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)