Growing up, we traveled to India at least every other year to visit my family. The trips were expected, and you can bet my brother and I whined about them until we stepped onto our flight. We didn’t want to spend our whole summer trying to conjure sentences in broken Telugu (our mother tongue) while relatives we hadn’t seen in years told us how much we’d grown. My brother and I didn’t want to be stared at outside and then come home to no air conditioning. We wanted to go to summer camps, have sleepovers with our friends, and stay in good ol’ Texas. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started to value my trips to India. Those trips became less about shopping and sweating and more about culture and family. And then I took my husband to India.
This past Christmas, my family, my fiancé (now husband), and I headed to India for two weeks. It was absolutely surreal to take my husband to my birthplace and introduce him to my family, whom I myself see very rarely. We traveled to Chennai and Bangalore and experienced architecture, food, friends, and family in those cities like never before. He was taken with the rich friendliness, excitement, color, culture, and food. He was taken aback by the poverty, over-population, lack of education, and pollution. It was so interesting to see India through his eyes and through my adult/almost-married eyes. As a multicultural couple, we often experience crowds differently. I sometimes feel awkward in the U.S., even though I lived there for more than twenty years. This was the first time for him to experience the way I feel.
He stuck out everywhere he went (being 6’6” didn’t help much either). His name wasn’t the easiest for people to pronounce; some looked at him in awe while others were confused, and above all, he was never in a room where the majority of the people looked like him! He finally grasped exactly how I feel—which is not necessarily negative, but just kind of odd—all the time in Texas. This was one of the healthiest experiences for us as a bi-cultural couple. He knows how proud I am to be Indian and American, and he supports me and my family so well in that. One of my favorite memories was getting all fifteen or so of my family members in the same room to play card games. Like WHAT! I never would have dreamed something like that would happen. Worlds were definitely colliding.
Besides that mutual feeling of support and understanding, we also received blessings from so many family members. Many could not fly to the U.S. for our wedding. By the way, there is nothing like wedding shopping in India. We designed our invitations, bought all of our outfits and families’ outfits. We also purchased all the wedding favors and décor. Somehow, we accomplished all of this within two weeks.
To top off this amazing trip, we celebrated New Year’s Eve and Day in Chennai. It was the only time I have celebrated New Year’s in the city where I was born since I was a year old, and this time it was with my future husband. God is so good, you guys. Walking around in my chappals (sandals) with the hot sun in my face, the ocean breeze blowing through my braided hair, and my fiancé’s hand in mine was undoubtedly one of the best moments in my life.
The whole time I was just thinking how God truly does know so much better than I ever did or ever will. Every heartbreak, every tear, every doubt, he knew it all and works all things to our good. I hope and pray that everyone in an interracial or intercultural relationship is given the chance to bring two worlds together; there’s nothing quite like it.
I’ll never forget that time I took my husband to India. It’s a part of my heart I find much joy in.