A column (thanks, Fuerza Dulce) from the women’s magazine Marie-Claire on Anjali Mansukhani’s enthusiasm for arranged marriages (including her own), didn’t really start in what seemed like the best possible way:
By age 26, after attending more than 150 weddings, I was fast approaching my “expiration date.” (link)
“Expiration date” at age 26? That’s pretty young; personally, I think women get “expired” these days at around 27 or 28…
But it gets so much better. Anjali, a Bombayite, meets a guy who seems like Mr. Right — a New York based banker — and moves to his 40th story Manhattan apartment after three dates (and a marriage). Life there is blissfully happy:
While I craved privacy in India, the lack of neighbors and family dropping in left a shocking void every day as I ate breakfast and lunch alone. My husband worked late most evenings, and I sat in front of the TV, unable to call home because it would be 2 a.m. there.
After a few weeks, I learned that I’d married a “jetrosexual.” He had an exhausting travel schedule (four cities in four days). I joined the ranks of corporate wives who saw every show, opera, and ballet in town, just to fill the hours.
To make friends, I joined a gym, went to the library, and took Italian classes. I discovered that having an arranged marriage was a great icebreaker, and my social circle mushroomed each time I retold my story.
Marriage, I soon learned, wasn’t easy â€” especially to a modern man. My husband had acquired a mistress, and her name was BlackBerry. She had the power to stop discussions midsentence, her red signal lighting up his face in the way I only dreamed of doing. (link)
Such happiness. It really brightens your day.
Off to a great start, no doubt. But Anjali’s new life really takes off when she learns to name-drop consumer goods and lifestyle choices like a professional New Yorker:
As peers in India opted for motherhood and worked on post-baby waistlines, I took Spinning and pole dancing at the gym to work off exotic dinners of sweetbreads, foie gras, chocolate mousse. After reading about America’s obsession with Venti decaf skim mochas, I went to try one â€” but came back instead with a spiced chai latte. Amazingly, Starbucks was providing my childhood drink on every corner.
I found a job as a financial consultant. The New York Times in one hand, coffee in the other, I realized that my saris of bright pink, violet, and salmon were not exactly subway wear. Quickly, I succumbed to Levi’s and Ralph Lauren.
I started to realize that I just might have the best of both worlds. I marinated my Indian marriage in the flavors of Manhattan. I kept the sari and bought the Jimmy Choos. I made fabulous curries, seasoned with spices from Dean & Deluca. And after months of enjoying decidedly non-Indian experiences of seders, Saks, and sake, I felt confident enough to direct Indian guests to a hotel, occasionally throwing in a MetroCard.
I’m not hating, really I’m not. In fact, I’m thrilled she’s so happy — with those Jimmy Choos that she got from Bloomie’s, drinking Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks (which is just like the Chai in India, isn’t it?), before her pole-dancing class, where she’ll burn off the foie gras from the night before. Arranged marriage can be great that way.