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On Both Sides Of The Coin
Is it a love marriage or arranged marriage? The question lurks in the minds of many Indians who cross paths with seemingly happy Indian couples at dinner parties or restaurants and yes, even bars and clubs.

The answer these days seems to be "both," or more specifically, "arranged love marriage" because many young Indians, whether American-born or recent immigrants, are successfully blending both concepts when it comes to marriage. They date whomever they like, even if their parents don't totally approve. Yet on the other hand, they're also open to "checking out" anyone their parents suggest?be it the nice young daughter of a family friend, or the highly eligible son fresh out of medical school. However, when they meet other Indians, they're throwing out old-fashioned notions their parents may have about settling for a "biodata" match and rushing into marriage within days of their first meeting. Yes, it has worked in many cases for the parents. But it no longer fits in with their way of life and thinking.

Young Indians today have seen much more, done much more than their parents had at their age. So, their expectations are different, often more in line with Western thoughts about dating, sex and marriage. Most of them want to fall in love before marriage. They view it as a right, not an unexpected gift. Let's face it, they've been fed a steady diet of fairy-tale romances and cotton-candy images of married life from Bollywood and Hollywood. So they're taking their time, getting to know the person their parents recommend, and discovering that they can still fall in love and marry in the old-fashioned way. This is a healthy pattern of development, although it sometimes causes parents to become impatient.

Of course, let's not forget the real mavericks amongst us?those Indians who are ready to transcend cultural barriers to find their soul mate, be they Chinese, American, European, etc. A few are even ready to jump through race barriers. Take Mira Nair's "Mississippi Masala," which treads into the murky waters of a black/Indian romance. Sound too far-fetched? Maybe. But it could happen. After all, young Indians today are sailing in uncharted waters, willing to take risks to reach that elusive goal of eternal love. For them, the Indian cultural tradition may still be alive but the rules of living life have changed?for the better.
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