Suhaag Raat

I was listening to good old hindi songs on my comp. Suddenly one song reminded me of one funny anecdote told by my friend. Song was “Kabhie Kabhie” and when it hit “suhaag raat hai ghunghat utha raha hoon main” it turned my mind on. My friend used to blog quite a lot couple of years back. And he had written review on movie called “Suhaag Raat” which is Jeetendra starrer released in 1968. Since he is ardent bollywood fan his post had nothing to do with notorious demons of actual “suhaag raat” but from that day this post got most number of hits up until last day of blogging. I felt perplexed (even today) why is “Suhaag Raat” like ancient arcane quest that everyone is so excited about.

“Suhaag Raat” if as it is translated will mean “Husband’s Night”(once again it proves that Indian society is male dominated) is nothing but first wedding night. In Indian culture purpose of “Suhaag Raat” is to bring prosperity to newly weds life by getting intimate which generally results into children thus taking our race/religion/name/family/culture in next generation. India’s population is more than billion which tells us the significance of this night.

Sex is taboo word for Indians. But our good old bollywood is exempted from all kinds cultural inhibitions (although bitchy Censor tries its best to stop). Even though this night is perceived as night of loosing virginity and intimate accidents in bed, bollywood has portrayed it differently. In typical bollywood way, bride will be sitting alone in bed with her “ghoonghat” (piece of saree covering face) down. Flowers will be suffused all over the bed. Groom will come after having fun with his friends (most probably little drunk). When he is about to close door all his cousins (specially sisters) will tease him. Then he will close the door and lock it from inside. Then he will go towards bride in typical saunter(in similar manner of dog who is given chicken with bone after many days). He will lift the “ghoonghat” and see moonlit face of bride as if he is looking at his bride for the first time. The stage is set, couple is overflowing with all kinds of libidos. Groom is about to undress his bride and then suddenly you will see 2 birds mating on the screen. Now you must be wondering why birds on the screen when their mating procedure is totally different from humans. Either bollywood directors are bad at analogies or they are taking moral high in order to avoid miasma effect on children who watch their movies. Unfortunately both the reasons are untrue and real reason is uncle censor who acts a film nanny in India. Censor tries its best not to give any cultural liberties to bollywood.

Now the question how come this topic is most talked about subject (and most visited in blogs) for young Indians. I will give my example itself. I have been watching bollywood movies for years. Since 8 year old kid, atleast one movie that I watched amongst the many in a year had “Suhaag Raat” scene. And every time it was more or less similar to what I have mentioned. I used to wonder why all of sudden couple used to vanish from screen just to see it being replaced by birds, flowers, bees etc. (yes bollywood directors are extremely creative). I had once asked my elder cousin(who was in mid teens) about all these things. He just laughed at me and told that I will be omniscient once I grow up. And how true he was, after few years I knew more than what bollywood and our own culture could teach us. But this particular phrase brings goosebumps every time I hear it. Hence I can understand the situation of young couples who are about to be married. Torrents of curiosity must be flooding their minds. And obviously there are hundreds of perverts and voyeurs in our society since ours is culturally repressed one. Just one single aperture out of this dark world is enough for mental orgasms of these minds.

Lets do some reality checks about this celestial night. Indian weddings have turned from low key affairs to big fat bandwagons. Weddings generally take minimum 5-6 hours of actual event, excluding scrupulous efforts for getting ready. Couples generally spend 14 hours in wedding on their wedding day. In which you have to perform genuflects infront of all the distant relatives whom you are meeting for the first time. This number goes in hundreds. Then there is big reception time during which you need to stand on stage (not to forget that you are not allowed to miss single gift offered to you) that too always smiling since you are cynosure of everyone present in the hall. Then you have to perform all kinds of archaic rituals which are insignificant in todays world. Even though you loathe these rituals you have no choice since you have to follow your traditions and cultural obligations. You talk with hundreds of guys on that day but you hardly speak with your new life partner since you have whole life ahead for dialogs. If this is not enough then you have to see melodrama of bride when leaving her parents although bride is constantly told by her sisters not to cry since it will ruin her make-up (obviously before night) which costed her lots of grands. Once you are done with all these things then you are thrown into deserted room (which is decorated beautifully) just for loosing virginity. How do you expect anyone to perform at his/her best in this deserted room after so many activities in a day?

One more important factor is type of marriages in Indian society. Most of the marriages are arranged ones even though picture is changing rapidly in urban areas. If its a love marriage then couple is more open with each other in their thoughts and actions. And many times its just continuation for them on very first night. But arranged marriage has to go thru lots of difficulties. Just imagine the condition of a girl who has never been touched by anonymous man (most of the cases). For men its first time they experience the tenderness of a woman which is completely different from virile world they are living in, untill this night.

Yet we find more and more couples interested in this night. It will be foolish if couples are blindly following this tradition which has been for years. Lets remember that Sex is not the only thing in marriage. Its just a small part of bigger picture called “living together”. I believe we should first understand our partner and then proceed to these acts of celibacy in first night. Afterall successful relationships are built on trust and understanding. Once these two pillars are built you have your whole life waiting for this fucking business.

Just to end, I will also tell one more funny anecdote of my friend’s experience. He wanted his first night in very filmy manner and he ordered all the varieties of flowers to spread them on bed. He enjoyed the night in the fragrance of these flowers but very next day he and his wife had to visit dermatologist since flowers had bad effect on their skin much to embarrassment of this couple.

P.S. I’m not married. And I’m too young to consider my marriage seriously in near future.


9 Responses to “Suhaag Raat”

  1. 1 Lucid Darkness
    September 24, 2007 at 4:53 pm


    I just had to laugh at the post script, since I was about to ask you those very questions. 😛

    You’re spot on about Indian society being a repressed one. To be honest, if most parents would deal with their children ‘growing up’ in a matter-of-fact and categorical fashion, we’d be spared a lot of ’embarrassment and blushes’. And of course, the voyeurism results from the repression. The moment you taboo something, people get this insane urge to find out more about the subject-which-is-not-to-be-spoken-of.

    Wedding ceremonies sure are boring. (Yes, I know I sound twelve. Can’t help it :P). Attending them as a guest is a pain in itself, I can only imagine what it is like for the bride/bridegroom. *shudder* Frankly, I personally don’t set a lot of store by ceremonies. Compltete waste of time and energy, I’d say. But perhaps that’s just me and my unsocial habits speaking.

    An interesting and thought-provoking post, Al. My only complaint is that you erm, forgot to edit the typos. Ah well, I shouldn’t nit-pick like an OCD patient.

  2. September 24, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Yeah done with 1-2 typos. Anymore could u suggest. You have valid points too.
    Thanks for your comments.

    P.S. whats OCD patient. Forgive me for my knowledge. 😦

  3. September 25, 2007 at 7:02 am

    I’ve pondered over this many times myself and finally given up with the thought that I being one of the ‘other type’…that is to say a woman brought up in a liberal environment with access to all the information and open communication that is advocated by the powers-that-be….I’ll never be able to understand the mindframe of someone who has grown up in a different setting.

    And also, while this may be completely politically incorrect, I have to say it – with all my education and so-called openness, I haven’t managed to figure out what makes relationships last while all around I also see the so-called ‘blind choice’ arranged marriages working and apparantly very well. So what makes me fit to sit on a moral high horse and say that my way is better?

    But that’s just my thought. Good post. And thanks for dropping into the idea-smithy! 🙂

  4. 4 Lucid Darkness
    September 25, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I read the added para. 🙂
    And I couldn’t help but read what ideasmith has written as well.

    Honestly, here is food for thought. I’ve known many arranged marriages to last, and so-called ‘love marriages’ to crumble. I don’t have all that much to say on the issue since well, heh, I’m not married. 😛

    I suppose the thing is that you can’t take the other person for granted. Which is what often happens in ‘love marriages’. And the flip side of an ‘arranged marriage’ is that you may end up with a person whom you’re not compatible with at all. It’s all a big risk, isn’t it? A major gamble with your life, whichever way you put it. Heh.

    Another issue here is why ‘arranged marriages’ have been the norm in India for centuries. I suppose it’s owing to the way society is founded. You don’t have much of an opportunity to go and meet many new people, do you? These days, perhaps the scenario is slightly different. Still, most people are quite lazy and content enough for their parents to do the job rather than go out and look for a partner. 😛

    I can’t say much since I’m unsure about my own stance. All I can say is that it’s a big gamble. I mean, my question is: how can you be sure of such a thing? People often change with time, and you can never tell. On the other hand, so many couples spend their lifetimes with each other in spite of all the ups and downs. It’s strange, isn’t it?

  5. 5 Lucid Darkness
    September 25, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Oh and OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Hehe. You’ll get an entire page dedicated to it on Wiki.

    I am unsocial AND OCD-ish. Yes.

  6. September 25, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for your comments!! Well I do not completely agree with you on what you said on relationships. But I do respect your opinions.

    In my opinion marriages are nothing but gamble. In love marriage expectations become exceedingly high. Where as in arranged your are confused about your partner’s and your compatibility. And arranged marriages are jackpot in India since it is imbued in our minds that adjustment is most important thing in marriage. And this tradition will go on. But its my perfunctory view on marriages. May be when I’m married I can dance to different tune afterall “takes one to know one”.

  7. 7 Reader
    September 30, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Had laugh reading this article!!!

  8. 8 Navneet Jadhav
    December 6, 2008 at 4:26 am


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    We look forward to working with you.


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