What does a woman do when she is sexually not satisfied in her marital life? Does she commit adultery or seek a peaceful divorce? Bhaavna Arora raised this question in her book – The Deliberate Sinner.
Rihanna is a new age modern empowered girl from a very well to do family of Jaipur. She is fashion enthusiast and a pampered child of her parents who never hindered her in living her life. She is a sexy lady in her twenties with a perfect body so that even her relatives used to refer to her as ‘Totta’. Her family was with very modern outlook and they hardly prohibited her from taking her own decisions. Hence, when she decided to go to Bangkok alone on a trip, they allowed her without any inhibitions.
Rihanna met Veer in her flight to Bangkok and after reaching there she discovered that her Veer has come there with his friends Raj and Ravi Poonia. Veer was also from a rich successful business family from Delhi. Incidentally, Raj turns out to be known to Rihanna as well. But they did not spend their holidays together as the guys had other plans in Bangkok and did not want Rihanna to be a part of that plan.
After returning to Jaipur Veer and Raj kept constant touch with Rihanna and Veer came close to her in their swimming club. All three of them used to regularly visit the club while Veer slowly came close to her. One day Veer took a challenge to complete 100 laps of the pool to take Rihanna out for a coffee. Both Rihanna and Raj thought it was impossible for him to win the bet but he wins and after coming out of the pool he proposes to Rihanna in a dramatic style. Rihanna didn’t reply immediately but that brought them closer. So close that eventually they fell in love with each other and their families decided to get them married.
Veer had to go back to Delhi for his business purpose after the engagement and he turned out to be a different person as gradually their phone chat sessions decreased. Veer got busy in his work and Rihanna started feeling left out by him. This is the time when she started interacting with Raj more. One day her puppy was very sick. He was a darling to Rihanna and so she was very afraid of his health and tried calling Veer for suggestion, but when he didn’t respond immediately she had called Raj for help. Raj immediately took note of the situation and took him to a vet hospital. This brings them even closer emotionally.
Raj is a jovial and understanding friend who was there for Rihanna all the time. He used to make her laugh and feel homely and so when Veer was not responding to her calls Rihanna got solace in Raj and eventually they got so much attracted that one day they made love with each other. When Rihanna’s parents come to know that her father warns Raj to stay away from Rihanna’s life.
However, she enjoyed her sex with Raj thoroughly and wanted to be with Raj for good. Raj retracts saying he was not ready for marriage. Rihanna realizes that once a woman submits to man her attraction goes away and the man doesn’t want her anymore.
She marries Veer with a heavy heart and makes a promise to herself that she will make her marriage work. Her parents gave her all necessary household items, a flat in Delhi and a car. There was no demand from Veer’s side but her parents had to give these to her as presents. They reached Delhi and as they were traveling by their car through Gurgaon a bunch of goons stopped their car, surrounded them and forcefully took them away to their hideout. Eventually, they strike a deal with those goons and parts with all their valuables worth a fortune for their life. Veer tried to fight with them but was hit hard unconscious. But after release, they drove home safely.
Rihanna wanted to go to the police but Veer stopped her as the goons could take lives anytime. So she refrained. In the evening there was a small party from Veer’s colleagues and when they arrived there was a Punjabi style reception and a gala event – a movie show. The movie showed the drama of abducting a newlywed couple, their pleading for life and eventually getting away unharmed by parting their valuables. Rihanna realized the abduction drama was filmed by Veer’s colleagues to make their wedding memorable to Rihanna.
The marriage happened with such high drama and memorable events that the couple looked forward to the first night together. However, on the first night Veer makes a big mess up and tried to enter into her in a hurry when she was still dry inside. That left her in excruciating pain and left bleeding. She experienced marital Rape.
But after that painful first night her mother chided Veer and asked him to go slow and their doctor asked them to refrain from sex for some time. Veer refrained but even after months he did not show any interest in Rihanna in spite of her hints. So gradually the couple started having domestic fights and it has only grown ugly over time. When she discussed these matters with others her relatives asked her to take it easy and give their relationship some time and also advised her to take up a job to overcome boredom. Gradually the couple started distancing themselves from each other.
Veer’s colleagues started taking note of their distance in their office parties as Veer used to get tipsy and hit on other women while being possessive about her wife and protest against anyone hitting on his wife. But their relationship blues were out in the open by then.
So when Veer was out to Kolkata for some office work his colleagues started visiting his home on some pretext but Rihanna never allowed them any far. One day she got the mobile bills of both of them and came to know that Veer’s bill was a hopping Sixteen thousand rupees. Once Veer returned she asked him without any satisfactory answer but one fine day she discovered a girl named Rashmi calling him. She started doubting his fidelity and started argument that led Veer to slap her on her face. She experienced – Domestic Violence. She took pictures of her bruises and sent to her parents and in-laws separately and called them in to Delhi.
Once Veer returned to his home that night he was surprised to see both parents in his house. Under pressure from Rihanna, he had to call Rashmi to his house and it was revealed that she didn’t know about Veer’s marital status. As they parted ways Rihanna also planned to part her way with Veer and went back to Mumbai. She wanted a divorce from Veer but Veer wanted her to stay back for the sake of their relationship and promised to change himself.
But Rihanna decided to move on, and went to Mumbai and started a career in fashion designing. Veer’s friends started calling her to get back to veer but she wouldn’t budge. Raj started contacting her again and asked her out for a coffee. Raj wanted to come back to her life and marry her but she refused as one of Raj’s comment regarding her being in relation with him after engagement but accusing Veer of extramarital relation pissed her off. She closed that chapter of her life as well.
In her life as a fashion designer, she came in contact with Avinash and they became good friends. Meanwhile, Veer too wanted to come close to her and visited her house in Mumbai taking the address from her mom. He wanted to inquire with her maids if she was having an affair with anyone else. He tried to have sex with her as well but that left her more bruised.
Veer wanted to make the relationship work so he planned a trip of common friends to Coorg, a popular hill station in Karnataka. Rihanna insisted that Avinash joins in and they went to a farmhouse in Coorg for a vacation with some friends. In this trip Rihanna came very close to Avinash and Veer could get a hint of that. He catches them red-handed while having sex in the outhouse.
Veer was shocked to see this. What happens after that? Read the book to know more.
In this story the author has explained various relationship issues like – Dowry, Pre-marital sex, Domestic Violence, Marital Rape, Adultery and Divorce in a feminist way. However, there is a slight difference. Rihanna’s character is designed as an empowered and self-respecting woman and she doesn’t consider herself as a victim but a survivor. Many new age women globally, including those who survived rape consider themselves as rape survivors rather than rape victims. This has come out well in this story as well. The author also successfully narrated the successful sexual experiences in detail and created an elaborate picture of woman’s sexual fantasies in the story.
However, her creations of male characters have been negative. Veer is created as a completely negative brutal character who does not understand his woman’s feeling at all. On one hand when he wins Rihanna’s heart in a quite dramatic way his sudden switch in behavior after engagement does not go well with his characterization and leaves flaws behind. Also the image of the guy who flirts with less attractive women over social networking and spends thousands to call them but hardly answers to his most attractive fiancé’ is highly unreasonable and flawed.
While Raj was initially characterized as an empathetic person, his desire of being a Kutta (dog) to her so that he can do certain things in public without being sued was intended for humor but also leaves a self-degrading image to the readers. While women may find that statement cute that sets a wrong expectation in their mind that men need to be a kutta (dog) in order to win their hearts. Even though he could win one night sex with Rihanna for his doggy confession but in the end when he wanted to come to her life permanently he was rejected.
The author has carefully shown a woman’s sexual fantasies and there are some lessons to be learned from that as well.
Keeping the Human Rights issues separate, if we purely concentrate on the sexual needs based on gender we will know that male and female sexualities work differently and hence it is very essential for any couple to know about each other’s sexual fantasies and turn-on and turn-offs. While the author correctly mentions that daily family quarrels and fights over petty issues are a great put-off for men to have great sex, similarly men need to understand that a woman’s sexual drive works slowly and steadily unlike that of a man’s which is more abrupt and rapid. Hence a proper education in terms of the sexual behavior of the other gender is extremely important for both sexes.
The marital rape as shown in the story is a form of rape that is currently punishable under section 498a and DV Act in India. If we look into this issue, this is more of knowledge issue rather than a criminal issue. Had Veer been knowledgeable enough to know woman’s sexual behaviour (as he was having first time sex) he would have gone slow with her. We may have many such Veers in India as we do not have any mechanism to educate our youth about these and hence Men’s Rights have always opposed criminalizing marital rape. Also this is one among many reasons why they have always protested against HangTheRapist campaign because then this form of rapists also will be hanged simply because of their lack of knowledge. In a society where we have not taken any initiative to educate our youth about the “Sexual behaviour of the other gender” we can’t have such extreme punishment. Please note it is diff from the sex education as we have today. This needs to be taught to the adults and not to school kids. However, the campaigners do not understand this when they demand Hanging all the rapists if the allegation is proved true.
This story also deals with domestic violence in a high class family in one way. It never considered RIhanna being too nagging with Veer about everything and then about his relation with Rashmi and gradually driving him to slap her. While verbal abuse by Rihanna is also a form of domestic violence is completely overlooked by the author. She could have waited and suggested a wiser approach of going to a counsellor to resolve the issues between them. If Veer committed a crime for his ignorance RIhanna to was also partly responsible for a crime. There is one more lesson for men here. Men too need to be more open to discussion regarding their sexual performance without taking the feedback to their heart and hurting their ego in such discussion. Men need to be more open to the subtle cues given by their partners to resolve these issues in amicable ways.
Rihanna made one more mistake before her marriage. Getting married to Veer under social pressure. It is highly unlikely from an independent character like her especially when she has realized that they had differences even before her marriage.
This story also deals with Adultery from a woman’s perspective. While it tries to justify Rihanna’s adultery under the fact that it was in retaliation to Veer’s behavior but RIhanna has not caught Veer red-handed in a sexual position whereas she was caught in that position. That is a crime per Indian law and Avinash is direct to blame and to be imprisoned for seven years for interfering in Veer’s personal space. Since Veer’s behavior was only restricted to calling other girls or maybe flirting with them, RIhanna has directly breached the faith instilled in her. She could file for divorce on the ground of cruelty by Veer before seeking sexual favors from outside her marriage. By doing so she has also committed bigamy (Veer’s bigamy is not proved) and has committed a punishable offense.
Overall this story has portrayed the relationship blues in a feminist way. Projects men negatively. Thankfully the author didn’t portray RIhanna as a victim but projected her as a survivor and crusader. It is a good read to understand sexual nuances of a woman, however, fails to take care of the relationship issues in an objective way.