Editor's Note :
As India celebrates seventy years of independence, I thought there was no better way to celebrate our nation, than to acknowledge and celebrate the bonds that bring us together despite our cultural differences. Nobody exemplifies this more than the men and women that have tied the matrimonial knot despite differences in language, food and even religion. Throughout the month of August, the Times of Amma will be speaking to Moms who who are raising multicultural children and Moms who grew up in multicultural families.
Today in our Unity in Diversity Special Series, Supriya Nair talks to us about her marriage with a Maharashtrian while being a Malayali, herself.
Where did you both meet? We would love to hear your story.
Where did we meet!? Hmm when people ask me this, I have to do a lot of explaining as no one trusts our words.
The story of Sachin (My Husband) and I goes back to when we were Kids. Lived in Nagpur, Grew up in the same colony, shared the same playground but never got to speak to each other for years. He used to follow me almost everywhere. I was 16 and he was 19 when we met (in the sense spoke to each other). He finally got the courage to speak to me only when he got to know that my family is moving to Bangalore. We stayed in touch, he used to come to meet me for a day or two and “the fact I did not know until my marriage was that he used to sleep at a railway station with his friend so he could save some money to take me to coffee day. That was touching for me. It was a light-hearted teenage relationship.
One fine day, I fought over the phone and broke up with him. On the same day he left his house without informing anyone to meet me. So after all this drama, our family got to know about our relationship. My Family was totally against it. My father did not speak to me almost a year. Took my mobile phone as well. I cried for days and had no choice but to get on with my life. And then after a year Sachin moved to Bangalore just with the intention to get in touch with me.The moment I saw him, I forgot all the promises I made to my family. Whatever that looks like at 17, that very day. We have basically been together since, through thick and thin, bad day and good day, vacations, marriage and pregnancy. After years of convincing my family, finally we got married when I was 23. I felt like 23 was an “adult enough”. But I have no regrets. Our wedding was first in Kerala style followed by Marathi Tradition.
My daughter Baby Saisha is the best part of our love life which happened in November 2015. This is my story.
Which languages do you speak at home? Which language is your child most comfortable in?
We mostly speak Hindi. Our baby can understand Malayalam, Hindi & English.
What would you call are the family’s favorite home foods?
We mostly relish Poha (beaten Rice), Pav Bhaji & Appam/Dosa on our weekends.
What are some of your biggest cultural differences?
Our Cuisines. My in-laws are pure vegetarian. I find this a challenge as I am not supposed to eat non-veg when I am with them.
Custom/ Belief & Traditional differences – My family follows a very limited number of customs and on the other hand there are many customs & beliefs which are followed in my husband’s family. We have chosen to take the best of our culture forward.
Did getting married to someone from another state bring you closer to your parents or did it pose a challenge?
Oh! My family was totally against this marriage. My mother wanted me to settle with a guy from similar background like ours and should obviously be a Malayali. While all the discussions we had during those days, I could feel they always had a fear that I will have to cook for many and do a lot of daily chores if I marry Sachin.
But I am the luckiest, as my in laws are very supportive & outgoing. This has changed the perception of my mother and she is easy going now!
What have the biggest challenges been as far as starting a bi-cultural family is concerned?
The language to speak & which culture & tradition to follow.
We mostly communicate in Hindi, but when it comes to talking & pampering my baby I end up talking in Malayalam and I wonder why but it is natural. Keeping in mind that baby should understand us easily we speak with her in English. So it is confusing and challenging.
We follow most of the Family traditions. The biggest challenge we faced was during my pregnancy and after my daughter was born. My husband’s family follow a different custom of baby shower, naming ceremony, head shave and so on and my family has a different tradition. So, we decided to follow both the tradition. Few in Maharashtrian style and a few in Malayalee style.
What have been your greatest joys as a family from two parts of India?
The food and the festivals. I love the typical Maharashtrian food! They have diverse cuisine.
My husband is a huge fan of Appam and Puttu with Kadala Curry. We are foodies and we mostly enjoy street food.
The Festivals are a true reflection of Maharashtrian culture, with all its customs, rituals and traditions. The calendar is dotted with festivals all-round the year. I personally love the 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi.
And being a Keralite I never miss to wear Set Saree on Onam & Vishu and enjoy the “Sadya”
Thank you Supriya for sharing your sweet love story and just how harmonious your blended family is.
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