Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan, 37, Development Researcher, Orissa:
“Why not?” was my spontaneous response when Demos’s uncle asked me if I was thinking of getting married. After succinct e-mail exchanges and small talk, we decided to walk down the aisle in a couple of months. I felt that even if I didn’t say yes to this girl, she’d have had our wedding card printed anyway. So, we had five grand receptions: in Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam, two in Mumbai.
Friends and relatives were pushing for the ultimate eccentric wedding. Demos’s family believed in vegetable garlanding and fruity adornment instead of the usual floral exchanges. And they didn’t allow the women to wear any jewellery. I had never heard of such oddities. Foodwise, our two traditions were poles apart. While I love all the exotic meats, they all were staunch vegetarians. Her family would often remark: “That’s the taste of Andhra, you won’t understand.” And they were right, I didn’t.
Apart from food habits and lifestyle, our interests highly differ: Demos is more interested in medical science, while I’m keen on politics and philosophy. She’s a gold medallist, a state-level classical dancer and a top-notch badminton player, who has never (ever) stepped out of line, while I have been gallivanting around.
But both our families were open-minded and taught us to embrace language diversity and different nationalities. For that reason, there was nothing unusual about our marriage.
Dr Demos Gora, 37, Doctor, Andhra Pradesh:
Our marriage wasn’t the first of its sort in my family. About four of my cousins had married outside the community. Since early childhood, we were taught to look at individuals beyond region and religion.
When the wedding date became official, Hippu was ecstatic, distributing cards well past midnight and hatching elaborate plans. Aunts and uncles pitched in—on venues, food and apparel. Confusion lasted till the start of the very first ceremony, but it added to the thrill. I had to try hard to explain to tell my in-laws that we ate only rice in the south, curd is a permanent fixture on the menu and curries are never mixed together.
Being atheists, we followed no wedding rituals. Our families had similar ideals, but also many cultural differences. I had to move from a joint family to a completely nuclear one, something that took time getting used to. Fortunately, neither Hippu nor I needed to make any extraordinary effort to really ‘fit in’, like speaking the other’s language. I had spent very little time in Bhubaneswar, or he in Visakhapatnam, so we decided to stick to English.
For now, I live in Vijayawada, my in-laws in Bhubaneswar and my husband in Bangalore. Hippu can only visit our son Vidwat once a month, but the distance has never fuelled any tension. My husband is affectionate, mischievous and plans everything in the last minute. I, on the other hand, am totally meticulous and always have it all sorted out.