Indian-Americans looking for love
19 January, 2010, 00:02
Indian Americans make up less than 1 percent of the population of the
United States, however when it comes to marriage - many choose to find
someone within their own community.
You'd think you were in a hip Mumbai night club by looking at the
crowd, but these were young Indians in the Washington, D.C. area,
gathered at a local bar hoping to find their future spouses.
"It's always nice to meet more Indian guys, hopefully maybe finding
the guy that you know piques my interest and I pique his," said Rekha
Tiwari, a young Indian single.
It's 21st century arranged marriage, with an American twist. Tradition
meets technology as young Indian singles log on to matrimonial
websites like Shaadi.com to find a mate who might meet their parents'
"I feel that in the Indian culture there is this concept of marriage
beng the joining of two different families so not just two
individuals, but the entire families: their parents, their extended
family and so I think that families are more involved," said Johny
Vengal, a young Indian single.
Rekha Tiwari, 27, came to this Shaadi.com mixer to find a nice Indian
boy her parents might like. By Indian standards, the clock is ticking
for her to settle down.
"I've gotten a 2011 deadline, but I also had a 2010 deadline and that
hasn't been met," she said.
And beyond the standard charm and wit – Rekha expects her dream man to
be Brahmin, the highest caste in the Hindu religion. So why do so many
modern Americanized South Asians still care about these ancient social
"In other cultures, when you're born the parents are sort of grateful
that you're born and they give you the most possible, but in our
culture we're grateful to our parents for giving us our life…so I
actually need to find a Hindu Brahmin guy to please my parents," Rekha
Even though many young Indians choose to come to events like this to
find a future spouse who would be acceptable to their parents, others
say the background of their eventual partners isn't a big deal. Even
though Smriti Popenoe's parents had an arranged marriage, she chose a
different path. She's been married to her husband, Charles, for almost
"What was important to me was about finding someone who really
understood me as a person and appreciated me as a person," she said.
But she realizes that marrying someone outside her culture is
considered scandalous by some Indians.
"There's also negativity to western culture in general. People in
India have the perception that western culture is looser, it's more
permissive and they don't want that. It's kind of hanging on to some
conservatism that I think they want for their kids," Smriti said.
Indians make up less than 1 percent of the population of the United
States. For some, like Smriti, such numbers make it easier to fall in
love with someone outside the community. But for those like Rekha, the
statistic means finding that perfect Indian American Hindu Brahmin is
just that much harder.
"I think ideally dating someone of your own race is actually a
benefit because there are cultural ideals that you share, but
logistically I've grown up in a white majority," Rekha said.
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