The Wedding Night - by Shuvam Sthitapragyan

The Wedding Night - by Shuvam Sthitapragyan in a dark back ground. This is a story worth reading...

It was full moon night and there were crickets chirping all around. It could be heard within the silence of the night. Meanwhile, she entered the room with a cup of warm milk on one hand and on the other her saree. Though she disliked the whole ritual thing, being a newly married bride she had to follow it. The wedding had completed in the morning itself like any other typical South Indian wedding and now she would be alone in that huge room to spend the night with a man she’d barely known for two months before marrying off. After walking in a few steps, she slowly lifted her head, hoping to find rose buds stuck walls and a petals strewn bed; but to her sheer amazement, there was no trace of rosebud and nor was the so-called nuptial bed filled with gorgeous bed covers or fragrant flower petals for the so-called first night. Soft pink was all over the walls of the room. The thick curtains which were drawn across the windows were in blue shade contrasting the wall colour. The lights were dim but warm and the room was filled with a musk fragrance, though not too sweet but enough to make anyone feel at an ease. While she looked over these details of the room, she realized that her husband was not there in the room. She placed the glass of milk on the table near the bed and waited for her him confused and bothered. After a while, she heard some footsteps outside and realised it’s him.

In a few minutes, she heard the door open softly behind her and shut with a gentle thud, the way she entered. She could feel the footsteps heaving towards her as the musk smell of the room was now being dominated by a strong but manly scent. As he came closer to her and sat beside her, she felt nervous and a sudden shiver ran all through her body. Now, she could hear his warm breath behind her, hitting on her neck collar.

He tapped her on her right shoulder gently, scaring her enough the hell out of her. Even, she turned around all of a sudden to him, taking him a step back on reflex. They were facing each other for one whole minute. ‘She was looking beautiful and gorgeous.’ His eyes said it all with a smile. Then, out of nowhere, he gave her a gift-wrapped package. Her eyebrows rumpled in surprise but also in curiosity, at the same time, to know what’s in it.

Suddenly, she has had some unexplainable curiosity, flashing a million thoughts in her mind, from a box of chocolates to lacy lingerie which could be peeping her from the pack. He handed over the package to her and waited calmly for her to open it. She firstly ran her hand over the package to feel it and guess about the content inside. It wasn't much heavy but not light though. She looked at her husband confused as if she wanted to know it from him. To which, he just smiled back at her securely, informing her nothing to worry about. Slowly, she unboxed the gift, removed its cover and found a hardcover copy of Jane Austen: Seven Novels, one of her favourite authors. She was delighted to see this and smiled at him ecstatically. She just couldn't believe the gift she got! After turning a few pages in excitement, she found a small note at the back of the book saying “There’s a key on the table near the bed. Pick it up and open the cupboard near it.”

Once again she looked up at him, locking her eyes to his. He knew she wasn’t getting a clue of what’s happening. So, he signalled at the keys, which were on the table and asked her to open the cupboard with a smile. Still amazed, she took the key from the table and went ahead to open the cupboard. She saw another note on the cupboard, just when she put in the key to open the cupboard. “Welcome to a writer’s abode!” She looked at him, slightly blushing but still mesmerized to check out what surprises were awaiting her.

When she opened the cupboard, she was totally surprised to find five new, leather-bound notebooks, infinite fancy pens, pencils and other stationery, and also a cute coffee mug with a picture of her in it. She couldn’t tell how extremely elated she was feeling, but all she could do was smile at him.

“Would you like to come with me to the terrace?” he asked. Though she managed to nod her head in affirmative, her heart thumped loud enough for her to hear the heartbeats. They took the stairs to the terrace and the moment she reached the terrace, a million questions in her mind engulfed her enough to make her go weak by her knees. He noticed her anxious face and gave her a warm smile to make her comfortable.

“Are you okay?” He asked “I am just totally mesmerized and speechless from all these surprises! Thank you … Thank you so much for everything!” She said. “No, don’t thank me. You are really talented and I don’t want to let that go wasted.”

“Well, I am just an amateur writer, that’s all. Not that great the way you were saying.” She blushed a bit. “I have read all your writings from blog posts, short stories to poems which were published on various online magazines and websites. Either, I am lucky to have you or you are being too modest now.” He replied. Now, she was smiling wide at him.

“You know, I really want you to follow your passion and make it your career. Although it is just a suggestion from my side, I would do anything for you to see you as an established writer, not just sitting all day in the house and taking care of the chores. Have a serious thought on this.” He said.

She went mum for a while. “It’s really sweet of you to think for me and say all these, but I know I cannot take it up as my career, at least not now. I even don’t have any regrets for it.” She said at last. “I agree that I know you only for the past two months, but believe me I do know you enough and also about your abilities, which you shouldn’t waste it.” He tried to explain.

After saying that, he pulled out an envelope from his shirt pocket. The same blue envelop she had hidden inside was the safest thing she could lay her hands on at her house. She was astounded to see the same envelope in his hands that she had decided to get rid of a month ago, along with burying her dreams alive. She had fought with her dad to take admission to a renowned university for an advanced course that she had applied for. But as usual, all her pleas were denied and hushed as her parents were keener on her marriage with the boy they had chosen for her. Those fights and heart-wrenching verbal bouts with her parents reverberated once more on her ears. He could see the glimpse of a tear in the corner of her eye, which she fought hard to hid, turning around her face from him. “That is all done and over for me long back. I am not pursuing that course. I won’t able to do it. Please just leave it.” She said.

“I am really sorry. When I went through the admission letter, I saw that you still have around 10 more days to join that university. If I were aware of this earlier, I would’ve never hassled for this marriage and helped you get into that institution. I still don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity and you even also have enough time. I and my parents are completely fine with you joining your favourite course as they too believe one shouldn’t throw one’s talent like this.” He explained.

“Did you talked about this to your parents?” she inquired, unable to digest what he heard. “Yes, of course, I did and they have no objections to letting you pursue your shattered dreams.” He said. “This is too much for me to gather for now. I need some time to think about it.” She replied.

“Sure, I know you do. Do think about this and let us know what your decision is.” He said. After some time on the terrace, they came down back to their room. “I think you should get some sleep now, as you must be tired and exhausted. You sleep on the bed and I’ll take the couch in the drawing-room. Don’t worry, just make yourself comfortable… ” “I wanted to ask you something,” she said, interrupting him. “Yes?” He replied. “Did you cancel the decorations which were planned for the wedding night?” she asked him innocently.

He grinned gently and replied, “Yeah. I found it too intimidating and uncomfortable on the top of it, it was quite loud. I was quite uneasy to even imagine entering such a room, let alone sleeping in it. I hope you are fine with all these.”

She chuckled and nodded in approval. They stood distantly yet felt closer and were looking at each other’s eyes, wrapped up in the night’s quietness and drenched in the glow of the golden moon. Lying down on the bed alone, she went on to think about the entire day’s events: the detailed and comprehensive marriage ceremony and the procedures, the rituals followed afterwards, the grand lunch, the visits to the holy temple and now the best night of her life with surprises. It was quite an eventful day for her, but she was happy and strangely at ease.

- by Shuvam Sthitapragyan

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