The charm of the Bengali wedding is in involvement of the entire family into the wedding ceremony with each person playing an important role in some form of other. Like it or not, everyone has an opinion and everyone who is pro-active is a key influencer. Right from the paka dekha ( consent ) ceremony when the bridegroom with his family and close cousins visit the brides home the families start interacting with one another as well as with the bride and the bride groom.
Who is the next in line
Subtle and not so subtle hints are thrown about how to make love blossom and how to make one come close and endearing to the sweet heart and the family as such. If you happen to be a young girl or a boy, the grandmas will say you are the next to be married of and they will openly discuss the eligibility and plus and minus points of your girl friend or boy friend if you have one that is known to them. Love in many a Bengali home, start strangely from the Dada ( elder brother ) relationship to a boy friend status that takes years to mature. No wonder marriages are late but are sustained through common bondage of interest in music, theatre, dance, literature and endless gossip.
It is not uncommon for a girl to marry the friend of a elder brother or a cousin and a large number of marriages are fixed either mutually or by know all aunts and boudi's ( elder brothers spouse ). The Basor Ghar is one such event that witnesses the meeting of youngsters, the close friends and relatives of the bride and the groom. As per the rituals the bride and the groom have their dinner together marriage late at night, often in company of their close friends. These youngsters then spend the night together at the Bashor Ghor along with the bride and the groom. Since marriages end usually after midnight and the bride and the groom are supposed to leave for the grooms house only at daybreak there is usually an intervening period of few hours spent by the duo with their friends at the Bashor Ghor.
A night of youthful banter
All through the wedding period there is innuendoes and hints given to the bride and bridegroom about what happens during fullsojja (honeymoon) after marriage. Whereas the grand mothers and aunts can be pretty embarrassing and aggressive to demand grand children from the married couple quickly, the friends can be equally naughty explaining how to go about with the foreplay before the sexual consummation. The honeymoon night in a Bengali marriage is two days after marriage. The first night after the marriage is spent in the Basor Ghor with friends and young relatives while the second night is called Kal Ratri in which the groom sleeps alone while the bride sleeps with her sister, mother or aunts. It is only in the third night that the couple are allowed to sleep together.
At the Bashor Ghor the two sides get to know each other and their is a lot of chatting, flirting and singing and joking that goes on amongst the unmarried youngsters. There are songs and jokes, poetry and gossip which usually bring the young couple closes on all through the night. "There was plenty of touching and talking, romance and humor that primed us up as a couple, and we were raring to go at each other, but had to maintain restraint as the others were around. I did however manage a smooch before being separated by my Salis who screamed their lungs out as if I was kissing and fondling a stranger" says Debashish a young groom. " Actually they were all jealous and I told them that only to be mauled by the mob." The younger sister of the brides ( Salis) are usually the centre of attraction being the most eligible and the most approachable in a Bengali wedding. "The biggest attraction is you get to meet some long lost cousin and fall in love with his tall, dark and handsome friend" says Anamika Bagchi a 17 year old class 12 student.