|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
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