A Punjabi Boy and a Carolina Girl: How My Parents Met in 1986
What Are the Odds?
One of the things that have always amazed me is how God unites people. Particularly, when people meet their soulmates that are from different cultures. There is no doubt that some people are just destined to be together. What are the odds of someone from a busy city in Northern India falling in love with a girl from a small town in South Carolina, United States? That doesn’t sound common, huh? But that’s the story of my parents.
They came from totally different lives.
My father grew up in a busy city in the region of Punjab, India. He spoke Punjabi and Hindi and was very street smart. His family were pretty religious with Hindu and Sikh influences. My mother grew up on a farm in Loris,South Carolina in the United States. She spoke English and was a very book-smart shy girl. Her family was Christians.
My father had recently immigrated to the United States and started working with a friend in a clothing store in Loris, South Carolina. He was pretty lonely. Being in a place that’s totally different from culture and language was not always easy. My mom had just started out her teaching career in Loris Middle School. She was ready to settle down. My mother asked her hairdresser if she knew of any nice guys who she could get to know. My father went to the same hairdresser and asked a similar question. He was looking for a nice serious girl. She immediately thought of my mom.
Crazy for You
They first crossed paths on October 5,1986. The hairdresser set them up on a date to have dinner together at her house. The first thing my mom noticed about my dad is that he had the pinkest lips and was so handsome. The first thing my father noticed was that she had a beautiful smile. He liked how she was a modest nice girl. They continued to see each other and started hanging out almost daily together. Their favorite things to do were shop and watch movies together. They also liked listening to music together. My mom told me that my father learned more English through listening to a lot of Madonna’s songs especially her song, ” Crazy For You”. My mom also got several Indian food cookbooks. She learned how to make chapatti and several other Indian dishes. She laughs about the time she set off the smoke alarm trying to make Indian food in my dad’s apartment.
When my father met my mom’s family for the first time he was very nervous. Their first meeting was pretty simple and quiet. No one really knew what to say that day. It ended up being a pleasant meeting. My grandparents thought my father seemed like a nice guy. My father also got a good impression of his future in-laws. He was so nervous though. My parents both laughed about how my dad was so nervous that he accidentally tried to go out of the window instead of the door when he was leaving.
Going to India
They decided to marry in a wedding chapel in Dillon, South Carolina. She remembers that it snowed that day. Her hairdresser was late so she was very nervous but it turned out well. My father’s parents didn’t get to attend the wedding because they were in India. My mom took her first on an airplane to India to meet them soon after. She was so nervous. She remembers that her first experience of India seemed like a dream. She was so nervous meeting my grandma and grandpa for the first time. She remembers my grandpa asking her funny questions about living in the United States. Overall, she had a good first experience meeting them.
On October 7,1988 they had their first son and on March 14,1990 they had their second child. They raised them both to be bilingual with an appreciation for both cultures. Their son grew up to marry a beautiful Indian girl from Punjab and her daughter now has a multicultural family of her own. They ended up opening two businesses together in South Carolina. They have now been married thirty-one years and are grandparents.
My mom advises anyone who enters a multicultural relationship to be patient with one another. Both of you will be learning new ways and habits. Don’t think that your way is the only way. As stereotypical as it sounds, open communication and active listening is the key to a success. She also wants to add that when you are in an interfaith marriage to find the common points between your two religions. Emphasize those things in everything. You will find that there are more common values than differences. Universally the feeling of love is all the same.