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First Thoughts on Arranged Marriages and Indian Wedding Customs

Sorry but I am starting off with me, right now, as I am sat here in my hotel TRYING to enjoy what I thought was going to be a light dinner.  Everything here is new to me.  Literally everything.  And on the nights I don’t take my laptop out on a date (I really do need to give him a name!), I really enjoy the adventure of plopping down on the bed when I enter my room, flipping through the five different room service menus and blindly selecting something for dinner.  Well, tonight I wanted something light and thought…Well, I thought I would also be eating something that didn’t set my mouth on fire.  Boy was I wrong! haha I have just suffered though Kachumbar Salad (a salad with tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion – with mint and lemon dressing) and Gobi Gulistan (fresh cauliflower with yoghurt, oven roasted…).  Who’da thought that veggies would kick my ass on a Wednesday night? haha  Welcome to India!!

So it turns out that once again life in Bangalore is the polar opposite to anything I have known.  This time with respect to weddings — and in some respects really marriage in general.

The new base material for my new sari…less bling bling but the material and the embroidery and subtle colors caught my eye right away. The designer suggested a rich purple for the blouse, and we are going with spaghetti straps this time — va va voom *I hope!!

As I mentioned yesterday, I am lucky enough to have been invited to my first Indian wedding, which I thought was taking place on Saturday — hence the visit to the fabulous Sari shop last night!!  Well, it turns out that the wedding PARTY is this weekend, but the actual wedding takes place days prior to the reception!!  Personally I think this is an evil plot by silk dealers and sari makers from back in the beginning of time to double their business by forcing us ladies to double our purchases.  I mean, even the guys at work today said “no way” can I wear the same sari to the wedding and the reception. haha  So back I went to the amazing sari shop on 100 Feet Road, Sanskruti Silks.  My first sari was ready for my fitting anyway so in part it was a destiny shopping trek… and I really did have fun again!!  I bought a “less formal” but ABSOLUTELY stunning sari that I can’t wait to sport on Sunday.  My plan is that the sari’s will make me blend in a bit more so fingers crossed, ok!!!!

The I-Dos::::  There are lots of things I want to share about getting married in India and to be honest I am not really sure where to begin.  First, I should share that the divorce rate in India is the lowest in the WORLD at 1.1%.  Can you imagine that?  It is the polar opposite from Los Angeles, which is where I’m from.  In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate with 55% (alongside Sweden).  We go through spouses faster than anyone else in the world!!

I love my finished sari so much…and I am proud to announce that there are no “gramma back boobs” poking out of it 🙂 Here I am with the wonderful designer at Sanskruti Silks who is responsible for my look!
Here in India, marriage is entered into roughly 70-75% of the time as an arranged marriage, not a chemical “love” marriage.  When I first arrived I was pretty shocked by this figure but to be honest, I have learned a lot of the past 2.5 weeks and now am much more informed.  First, arranged marriages today are almost never against the will of either party, that is a thing of the past and probably only commonplace in small rural villages today.  Second, this is still the preferred type of marriage, even with younger couples.  It is believed that family members know you best, so it makes sense to allow them to be the guiding hand in such an important decision.  Third, the Internet plays a large part in finding a partner — with Internet dating sites contributing enormously in the hunt for the ideal partner.  Not in the (sorry but…) cheesy way Internet dating sites seem to have exploded in the U.S. and other countries.

I have so many colleagues at work who are happily wed, all from arranged marriages.  Some who married in their early 20s, others around mid 30s.  People here take marriage seriously and live to uphold the commitment they make to one another…bringing honor to their families who set them up in the process.  It’s pretty cool.

Some Don’ts:::::  Until tomorrow I cannot comment on weddings so I will stick to some of the differences that I don’t quite have a full grasp on but find truly interesting.  When a couple marries, typically the young woman leaves her home to go and live in the family home of her new husband.  This represents a transition from an old life to a new one.  It represents a transition to becoming a woman.  Although this is not commonplace today, tradition dictates that at the time of marriage, a man has the right to change the wife’s name — both the surname and her first name.  At first I was not on board with this concept at all.  I mean, por favor, the woman is not given the equal right to change her new husband’s name.  But then I began to talk to my colleagues and again ask questions and found out the girls and women view the change as a step into womanhood, leaving behind one life and growing into another, sometimes with a new name to boot.  The couples I talked to expressed themselves with tenderness and care… and I guess in some respects it is no different than me going by Angela and leaving behind Angie from the first day I moved out of my hometown and drove that U-Haul to Newport Beach when I was 19.

Well, I will share more after the wedding!!!

THIS IS THE BEST!  Today I was actually moo’d at and then nudged by a cow that was on the sidewalk leading to my office when I tried to pass it.  I mean, come on, I was walking faster…shouldn’t it give me the right of way??  Only later it occured to me…that was it!!!!  I tried to pass the cow on the right, maybe I needed to go Indian style and pass on the left, haha.

Today the movers came and collected our things from the flat in Spain FINALLY.  And I received my checkbook and bank card finally– although when I tried to use the bank card it was denied so I am not really sure how much good it did me today, haha.  I need to sort that out tomorrow!!  But it did feel great to have two major items ticked off my list today.  And in the end it looks like the kitties will fly out on Monday 🙁

On top of all that, I also had a lovely day at work — Romi (my marketing manager) and I are starting to make some progress and it feels great.

XOXO from Bangalore

© Angela Carson, Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!

This Post Has 2 Comments


    Wow you have been a busy girl and already a Wedding coming up. Them changing their name to getting married and you driving to Newport Beach is a little different I should imagine. For one you were off to have a great time and you probably had to leave the name Angie behind!! heheh but them changing their name to fit into their new life of cleaning and looking after a guy is a different story. Find out what the most popular name is that the men choose for their future wives. hahahah
    Looking great in your new frock honey and looking forward to seeing the wedding pics.
    As for the cow!! You sure you had an early night in last night and you are not one something illegal?
    Have a great day, from Bcn xxxxx

    1. angela_carson

      I swear about the cow, old girl thought she owned the road!!! haha I think I will wait until Sunday night to write about the wedding to include the reception as well. It was again like in yin-yang world and the opposite of our “highly rehearsed, very quiet” weddings. It was loud, busy, full of tons of bits and pieces, everyone particpated in some way…it was amazing and wonderful!

      How is life in your world? Hope you are making booking after booking lately, my sweetie. And double hope a fab new bar opened up in the “B’s” right next to your place 😉 Big kiss, miss you LOADS!!!! xo

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