I was more precocious when it came to affairs of the heart, having enjoyed my first kiss with cute Matt from the football squad at 14.
Perhaps it was that same spirit of romantic adventurism that led me, shortly after college, to go on the first of these “introductions,” though I agreed to my parents’ setup mainly with an eye toward turning it into a story for friends.
Before long, though, I gathered that he was of a type: someone who prided himself on being modern and open-minded but who in fact had horribly crusty notions passed down from his Indian parents.
I was taken aback when he told me about an Indian girl he’d liked.
My father recalls my mother’s greatest concern, after learning that I hadn’t been gravely injured: “What boy will marry her when he finds out?
” she cried, begging my father to never mention my broken arm—from which I’ve enjoyed a full recovery—to prospective suitors out of fear my dowry would be prohibitively higher.
“I thought maybe she was the one, but then I found out she had a Muslim boyfriend in college,” he said.
I lodged my protest against him and arranged marriage by getting ragingly intoxicated and blowing smoke rings in his face. Maybe, but I didn’t want to be marriageable back then. But for Indians, there’s no way to escape thinking about marriage, eventually.So while we, as modern Indian women, eschew the idea of marrying without love, the idea that we’re being too picky tends to nag even more than it otherwise would.Still, for years, I didn’t want to get married the way my brother did.He’d met his wife through a newspaper ad my parents had taken out.He’s very happily married, with a baby daughter, but he also never had a girlfriend before his wedding day.“Imagine you are on a safari in Africa with your parents,” he said. Your mother turns to you and says, ‘Son, when are you getting married? A few days after my 1st birthday, within months of my family’s arrival in the U.