Where have I been?
Hello hello dear readers! Well! After almost a year of being offline, I’ve decided to return to the blog and return to giving you interesting and useful content. So where have I been? Well, the short story is: to India and back, with lots in between. As you may have guessed from the title, you are about to enter into the wonderful realm of a Russian Indian marriage.
Meet the Parents: Indian Marriage Edition
And now for the long story: right after I had finished my last post in October of last year, my fiancee invited me to India to attend his cousin’s wedding and meet his family. At the time, I couldn’t have been more excited. I had only met his cousin at our MBA graduation a few months earlier, and his mother, brother and grandfather over the phone, so I was really thrilled (as in both excited and scared to death) to get to know the rest of the family. Everything leading up to this seemed to flow so effortlessly and naturally, I remember seeing the whole trip as just another step in the process; I did not initially give it the gravity and depth that it actually had. Looking back on it now, I realize this was one of the most key (ключевых – it sounds more important in Russian!) moments of my life. It’s one of those moments when the course of your life is no longer hovering between one of several options, but has a clear direction and even an action plan. After all, an intercultural marriage, especially an Indian one, and a Russian Indian marriage at that, is not just a union of two people, but of two families. Relationships must be built – step by step, action plan by action plan.
At least, that is how we decided we would build our life. At this point in time, you have to make a choice. Because integrating into a different culture and family can present its challenges, you have to decide to either live out your intercultural / Russian Indian marriage independently, relatively removed from the family, or to make the effort to integrate and include the family in your new lives. I felt from the very beginning that the former was never actually an option. Now, I am so glad we came into the engagement with that mentality, because the love, joy, and support we received from both our families was truly beyond all of my expectations!
I flew in to Vijayawada (my fiancee is from Andhra Pradesh in South India) at 11:00 p.m. on a cool December night. My fiancee picked me up from the airport and we started driving to his mother’s home. First of all, let me just say y’all… I hadn’t seen him for SEVEN looooong months, ever since we graduated and moved for work. That drive was the best drive of my life haha!
His mother, brother and uncle received us at home; she had prepared a lovely dinner with my favorite egg curry. That is literally my favorite Indian dish, and I still don’t know if my fiancee had told her or if it was just meant to be. The initially awkward first meet-the-parents encounter turned into a warm evening, and I felt so much gratitude for being received so kindly.
The next morning, we went to his grandparents’ house just a few blocks away. As soon as the door opened, the whole family – grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins – greeted us with such enthusiasm I had never before seen. My fiancee’s aunt came bearing gifts of silk cloth and prasad from her morning prayers. We sat around the living room where chai and sweets were passed around, everyone so curious and engaging with each other. It is moments like these which are remembered forever. I was so overwhelmed with positivity and support that it was hard to hold back those happy tears!
That afternoon, we did some last minute wedding shopping and I was given this stunning aqua and coral Kanchipuram silk saree. Every time I take it out of the closet, I just can’t stop admiring these colors and the beautiful weave.
My Ponderings on Family
In the evening, we visited a beautiful temple with the family, the Kanaka Durga Temple on Indrakeeladri Hill on the scenic banks of the Krishna River. I mentioned I came to Vijayawada not only to meet the family, but also to attend my fiancee’s cousin’s wedding. The happy couple were with us as we made our way up the steps of the temple and into a courtyard where we all sat together under a Peepal tree. I don’t know what everybody else was thinking about, but I remember sitting under that tree and pondering on the miracle of family. At the beginning of a marriage, or at the engagement phase we can say, those conversations and feelings of comfort with your in-laws are still being forged. However, what is already bound is the actual relationship. This is the miracle of family – it is the miracle of acceptance and of relation, regardless of who you are and where you came from. And this acceptance and relation is not owed – nobody owes anyone anything, even in these situations. It is given, with love, accepted with gratitude, and given back, with love. More than a two-way street; it is a cycle.
I hope my two cents on intercultural marriages finds you well. I’ll be writing more on the topic and on our marriage as we go along. In the meantime, leave me a comment down below if you are also part of a Russian Indian Marriage or intercultural marriage – I’d love to connect… because… dun dun dunnnn (announcement in the next paragraph)!
The Russian Indian Marriage Comes to Hyderabad
On a whim, we decided the next morning after the temple, we would go visit an uncle in Hyderabad. This was the day that I absolutely fell in LOVE with the city and with India. Stay tuned for my next article to read all about our trip to Hyderabad and my decision to MOVE from SWITZERLAND to INDIA!
btw, if you’re thinking about visiting Vijayawada, I really found this site helpful in finding attractions and giving brief information about the city.
For Hyderabad, there are a few Youtube videos I loved:
The Economist – Discover Hyderabad
The Guiding Factor – Hyderabad
Travel Vlog IV – Best Indian Food: Hyderabadi Biryani – one of my favorite travel bloggers and originally Eastern European, like me!