I’ve been married for 15 years. My wife and I met in college, and it was love at first sight for me. It took me seven years to convince her that I was even worth a second look. We had been dating for about a year when I proposed marriage – down on one knee while Dick Clark was counting down to New Year’s 1996. Making that commitment to her was the natural part. Telling her parents? My stomach churned with considerable unease.
My wife is from Gujarat, India and I’m from the British West Indies – what Americans call the Caribbean. Gujarati marriage and family traditions are quite different from what we are used to in the west. In Gujarat, marriage is not just a commitment between two people; it is a commitment between two families. My wife’s family are Brahmin – a class or caste in the Indian continent that is regarded as the priestly and pure as a general rule Gujarati Brahmin do not marry outside the caste or the culture.
So after the proposal came the hard part of getting acceptance and approval from my wife’s parents. I sat there Thanksgiving afternoon 1996, stomach all a churn, as my wife talked to her parents about college and friendships and family. She talked about my education and resume; essential things to Indian parents. My father-in-law looked at his wife, who looked at me then she started crying when I got down touched their feet and asked for her blessing. We sealed the deal with Apple pie.
1996 was also the year we became Verizon Wireless customers and got our first cell phones. So this morning when I pre-ordered two black 16GB fourth-generation iPhones from AT& T, and signed up for a data plan – I had that same feeling that I had 15 years ago. The belief that things could go very badly and my dreams of communication nirvana could be crushed.
Did I make the right decision?