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 easy part. Telling her parents … my stomach churned with great unease.
My wife is from Gujarat, India and I’m from the 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 – important 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 a 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 feeling that things could go very badly and my dreams of communication nirvana could be crushed.
Did I make the right decision?