*This post is in response to a few questions on the subject of why Indian parents will never accept non-Indian husbands for their daughters with a mighty strong dose of humor woven in. Enjoy. (p.s. sometimes they accept – see video above) For my book on this topic, click here.
Dear Non-Indian lover, suitor, knight in shining armor,
Let us give it to you straight.
You’ve been with our daughter (your Indian princess) since you both met that fateful night in college.
You think she’s Bollywood glam! The love of your life, the woman of your dreams…Aishwarya Rai, Pocahantas and Freida Pinto all rolled into one.
Unfortunately, there’s no way in this lifetime, this yuga or even in your next life, you’re going to be accepted into our family. Of course, if you reincarnate as a wealthy Indian prince or Sharukh Khan, we’ll change our minds and open our hearts to you in an instant.
You may love our daughter and she may love you.. You may want to die for her. You may want to commit suicide if you don’t have our approval.
Well…jump off the building if you must.
Move to a different part of the world, in protest, if you have to. (We’ll pick up the tab and your moving expenses)
No matter what you do, what you say, what you believe in and what you drive (well, we’re open to reconsideration if you show up in an S-Class Mercedez) are we going to accept that Priya, Anita, Maya, Leela, Rita, Sita, Shreya, Nisha is going to be your lawful wedded spouse, so help us God.
6 Reasons We’d Rather Jump Down a Well In Shame Than Give You Our Daughter’s Hand in Marriage.
1) You’re not Indian.
And by that, we don’t mean you’re not caramel brown-skinned, you don’t have an Indian passport or large family estates in India. (Well, we do mean that) We simply mean that you don’t have Indian VALUES.
You don’t VALUE EDUCATION, you don’t VALUE BLING (diamonds and gold), you don’t VALUE palatial like homes which are way too large for you to ever live in or fancy cars to make our friends envious.
2) You’re not religious.
This is not a do-or-die reason but you’re not a practicing Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Christian. A lot of Indian functions revolve around spirituality, religion, and our over-the-top century-old customs.
We sure as hell don’t have time for you to learn it and have no interest in letting you in on family traditions that have been carried on for hundreds of years.
3) We don’t trust your family background.
You can’t trace your roots back for 8 generations. But more importantly, you’re not from a stable family. Your parents are divorced, you have dysfunctional family issues and we don’t know if marriage is a lifetime commitment to you.
Sure, we’re more dysfunctional than the Kardashians and should be locked up under 24 hour psychiatry care but this conversation isn’t about us. It’s about you, son.
4) You’re not a professional, earning six figures.
If you’re trying to win over our love and affection, make a move here and you can win over our hearts and minds.
Whoever said money doesn’t talk is probably a pauper or dead. In our culture, money talks.
If you got some (a lot of cash) your Ben Franklins will make us think twice. If you can provide a stable and comfortable (opulently wealthy) life for our daughter, you might have a shot.
But listen yo, we’re not talking here 5 figure jobs or ‘good’ jobs. We’re talking high-paying, high in-demand jobs and one you’ll be able to stay employed in for two lifetimes. All medical professions and dentistry qualify. So does mechanical, electrical and computer engineering.
If you’re a creative-type or a ‘freelancer’, please find yourself a nice Greek girl.
5) You’re not from a wealthy family.
We’re looking at the long-range strategy here. If you’re not from a wealthy family, you’re not going to inherit a lot of cash. You won’t be able to pass on any family wealth to our grandkids.
You’re also not going to be able to afford luxury cars, medical school tuition for our grandkids or buy that palatial home we hope to crash at.
Are you suggesting that we’re shallow, materialistic and superficial?
How dare you!!
6) You’re not going to let us move in with you in our old age and live with you until our dying day!
When we’re old – that would be now, we’re going to move in with you.
At least that’s the happy thought we’d like to have when marrying off our daughter to you.
We want to move into your house, have you buy us groceries, have you cook us dinner and inconvenience you often. We want you take us to doctor visits, pharmacies and all special Hindu pujas at the temple or Muslim prayers at the mosque. And we want you to do it 150% out of obligation and with a smile on your face dammit!
7) You don’t speak our language or appreciate Bollywood movies.
We want to speak to you in our own language. Yes, we’ve been living in America for 60 years but don’t think we’re switching to that American lingo (and the English language) now.
We want to speak to our grandkids in Hindi, Malyalam, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. They’re sure as Lord Ganesha not going to learn it from you cause you don’t even speak English right, son.
Now, non-Indian beau – you’re in a mango pickle. What do you do – stay and fight for the love of your life or…
Yup, here are 4 directions to run in.
Run forward. Run towards the alter. Elope. Follow the love of your love regardless of the consequences. Do it big and do it bold; run-away like couples in Bollywood blockbusters.
Who cares about the consequences, the emotional trauma you’ll create for generations and the heart-attacks you’ll cause in the bride’s family. Mostly, their families over-exaggerate about heart-attacks and suicides. Rarely do parents kill themselves over the shame of their daughter marrying a non-Indian person.
Run uphill. You can run uphill. And by that I mean, try to accommodate your future wife’s family as much as possible. And what does ‘accommodate’ mean?
Well, they’ll never really accept you, embrace you or approve you. But to try to get into their good graces, you can try to fix items 1-7 above.
Never too late to enroll in medical school!
If medical school is out of the question, there’s always optometry, dentistry, podiatry, physical therapy and a whole slew of other medical-related specialties that will net you a six-figure income and make our family proud.
You can also build or buy a large house, get a fancy car and provide large gifts of gold, silver or diamonds to your in-laws. The latter will be an instant hit and you will immediately be showered with love and acceptance from your future mother-in-law.
You can also become a devout Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Muslim (depending on your fiance’s religion) although following the family’s spiritual path only brings limited favor to you.
Offering to have your family pay for the entire wedding also curry-favors with your future in-laws.
Run away. If I’ve convinced you Indian culture is neurotic, sociopathic, materialistic and most people in it have lost their mind, take your money, dignity and sanity, and run for your life.
This community’s CRRRAAAAAYYYYY! And being Indian, I can attest to that.
Sure, we care about education, stability and no-divorce lifestyles but we also care too much about your bank account, your house and what people think of us. Our lives constantly revolve around what others say and think about us.
We’ll protect our reputations like a lioness protects her newly-born cubs. Try to compromise our standing in the community and we’ll lash out against you with sharpened paws.
If you value your sanity (and your life in some cases), make a run again to the nearest Latina, Greek, Italian, Thai or Chinese girl you can find. Yes, some of those cultures will expect you to be well-settled and educated but they’re usually sane and will be respectful of you.
Run backwards. You can always slow your relationship way down and take a breath. Run to the side, run backwards or just stop running for a minutes.
Although Indian parents deeply desire you both ‘take a break’ in hopes your relationship will come to a screeching halt, it really may be the best case situation for both of you. If you both cool down the relationship, you can both evaluate your relationship and next steps.
You can allow the love of your love to show her parents that she’s not marrying anyone else and will wait for you, even if it’s a month or one year. You can get a lot of juice out of this dramatic sacrifice-ridden exercise.
Taking a break might even show your future in-laws that you’re respecting their wishes and listening to what they have to say, which might win you points in the long-run.
Finally, let me just say this. More likely than not, your future Indian in-laws aren’t going to readily accept you into their traditional and conservative family but sometimes, if the moons align and the Gods are on your side, they just might say ‘yes’ to you. You might just get the green light to marry their daughter.
In that case, run, I mean sprint like a cheetah, to the alter.