So, you had an arranged marriage???

There is always a bewildered silence when I tell people about how long I knew my husband before I married him.

“21 days???” they squeak, not quite believing their ears.

Of course I could easily say ‘three weeks’ instead. It’s just that ’21 days’ has such a deliciously shocking ring to it 🙂

‘Umm….err…so was it an arranged marriage?’ is almost always the next question I’m asked, in hushed tones, a sense of quiet disbelief still lingering in the air.

‘Yes’ I smile back.

‘Wow!’…The listener leans back and digests this piece of information, not quite sure how to proceed. I sip my coffee/white wine/mocktail (depending on the situation) and wait.

‘So, you did have a choice?’ this is said in a slightly worried, at the same time hopeful voice. ‘I mean, could you have said ‘no’ if you didn’t agree’

I lean forward and decide to let my audience out of its misery. ‘Yes’ I smile. ‘Arranged marriages are an old tradition in India.’

Without fail, what follows is an interesting, thought-provoking, animated conversation about the enigma called arranged marriage. For it is a mystery in the true sense of the word. What makes arranged marriages tick? Do they have a higher chance of survival compared to love-marriages? How does it feel to marry someone who is little more than a stranger? How does love grow? Can you LEARN to love someone?

I have explored all this in my debut novel: ‘Unravelling Anjali: Diary of an Immigrant Bride’ (a fictional account of a young Indian girl who migrates to a foreign country following a traditional arranged marriage). And no! it’s NOT autobiographical. But I’m hoping the story resonates with every girl who has moved to a foreign land following marriage and faced the challenges of settling into a new culture.

If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear from you about your thoughts on it 🙂

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