The anatomy of a marriage

The anatomy of a marriage

Buddhadeva Bose’s It Rained All Night has all the ingredients of a good scandal even without taking into account its controversial contents — it was charged with obscenity and banned when first published in Bengali in 1967. All for justifying a married woman’s passion for another man, a man not allotted to her legally.
The married woman’s need for love — just love, pure and simple — is a matter of debate still. She is pushed into marriage by her well-meaning family or ‘arranges’ to fall for the best option available at that point in time. Suddenly, there she is packing tiffins for whining offspring, hunting down socks for spouse and ageing, ageing all the time. Enter, the playboy. The over-the-hill lass begins to bloom, she is engaged in stimulating chats about something other than fish curries and stain removers.

Social expectations
While many Indian writers have performed micro surgeries on Infidelity, none had the burden of Bose, who wrote at a time when women were not granted their sexual rights, there was no concept of marital rape, few were against child marriages, Sati was still a religious act, female orgasms were unheard of and marriage was considered terminal.

Nayonangshu’s wife Maloti is Jayanto’s Lotan. As Maloti, she is inflammable in her anger. ‘I am just a means to satisfy his physical appetite, some sort of machine to provide him his comforts — and once I became convinced of this, was I still supposed to remain his gentle Sita-like wife? No, I want love — love in every sense of the word. I want to be flattered, worshipped. I want devotion, I want to see myself as larger than I am... How can I reject someone who is madly in love with me? Why should such strength be expected from me alone? I am human, I am a woman. I have a body of flesh and blood.’

But she is also realistic about social expectations and the seduction of matrimony. ‘The main thing is the family. You married me. We’re husband and wife — we still are... why not just let our entire lives pass like this, like the lives of countless others.’

The husband is, understandably, a tortured man, given to inertia, low self-worth and jealousy. What he wants of himself is to have the guts to end the marriage, to be a man of action, alas, what his wife wanted of him all along.  
As a translator and lover, he discovers ‘there are some things one just can’t say in Bengali’. He confesses: ‘In a country where even now countless people go for arranged marriages and accept these marriages as permanent, the occasion for asking such an absurd question as ‘Do you love me?’ presents itself to only a handful of ill-fated individuals. I am one of those unlucky ones.’
Jayanto, on the other hand, has the zeal of a newbie. Unfortunately, we can view him only through the eyes of the wife or the husband. His charms and his crime seem, therefore, biased renderings. 

Bold, almost dynamite in its rejection of middle class morality, Bose’s candour stands the test of time. The novel sheds light on a never-ending human dilemma and does not fake solutions to pander to any moral discomfort.

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