Sasmita and I have returned from our Indian village excursion and being married again.
I met my Indian family and feel in love with them. I am sure the feelings were reciprocal, given the rolling tears from them all as I said good-bye after six days living in Sasmita’s parents house.
After 21 days spent traipsing around Delhi, Berhampur, Bhubaneswar and Village Aligonda, we are home.
There is a lot to say, but this post will just be a quick update.
India was as always a magical, emotionally exhausting experience. A few quick thoughts:
Thanks to an unprecedented Visa mess, my parents were unable to join us in India. While this was disappointing to all of us, especially Sasmita’s family, it turned out to be a positive in this regard; when Sasmita and I were married in August of 2012, she had no family with her and was clueless about customs and protocols for a Western wedding.
Fast forward, a year and a half and I was in the same situation. Because my parents were not present, I went through a wedding where everyone was speaking Oriya, a language I could not understand. Though it was a Catholic mass, I did not know what to expect or the nuances in the ceremony, just as Sasmita did not know unspoken rules and traditions in our American ceremony.
We have each sacrificed for one another by going through a marriage ceremony that the other did not truly understand. We share that experience together as a couple now, making our marriage stronger.
My difficulty in communicating with Sasmita’s family is a metaphor for my entire relationship with them. Because I was only able to smile, use rudimentary sentences, make hand gestures or other facial expressions, our interactions always felt superficial. However, because Sasmita and I live on the other side of the world from her family, even if I learned the language and was able to communicate in deep ways, the physical distance between us always means I will superficially be a part of their lives.
This realization saddens me, but I also understand that it is the reality of our lives. My heart breaks for Sasmita, because we decided that her life would be better if she immigrated to the US for us to be married, instead of vice-versa. Her relationship with the family will always be special and though she has years of memories with them, her involvement in their daily lives can only be tangential now.
After meeting my Indian family, I have a taste of the grief that Sasmita has endured, in terms of missing her family and personal connections with them.
For 1.5 years of our marriage, her parents, siblings, cousins, and other extended family were merely names to me. Now those names represent people and in-person connections I made with them, no matter how simple they were despite the language difficulties.
I care deeply about her family and miss them, wishing for more time to spend with them, and that we all lived in at least the same nation.
Here are some pictures of me, with some my Indian family. I apologize for the quality of some.
There are many more snaps to come. Keep reading.