Here Comes the Bride | Teen Ink

Here Comes the Bride

August 7, 2019
By aditimalhotra BRONZE, Belle Mead, New Jersey
aditimalhotra BRONZE, Belle Mead, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It was 7 AM when my mom, with a forced smile, said, “It’s your wedding day!” For most girls, their wedding day is teeming with excitement. However, no enthusiasm came over me at this point. I was afraid that my wedding may not play out the way I had imagined. Would anyone object at the altar? Are my parents excited to give their daughter’s hand to someone outside of our beliefs, race, and values? I dragged myself out of bed, looked outside the window of the dressing room, and saw a procession of people nearing the wedding hall. The groom’s family was throwing orange flowers in the air, dancing, and celebrating the joining of two families that was about to take place. I saw my groom celebrating upon his white horse, just like all the grooms I had seen in Bollywood movies growing up. Except, he wasn’t Indian, and as my mom said when he came to propose, “. . . he is not one of us.” 

 

No, I did not actually get married. No, I did not tie the knot with my true love. Instead, what I’ve offered above was a school event intended to understand how different cultures celebrate weddings. However, walking down the aisle at this event as a prospective bride in the context of my Indian culture opened my eyes to the rules I had been blindly following for years.

At nine years old, it became clear to me that an interracial wedding would never take place in my household, at least not on my parents’ watch. I had never seen my brother look so pale and scared of what was about to take place at our dining table. He brought home Alexis - the most not Indian, not Hindi speaking, not Bollywood movie-watching person ever. I recalled the conversation that took place a few moments before with my dad, “Aditi, patha nahi Rohit mera time kyun waste kar raha hai. Engrais hai, kabhi shaadi toh nahi honi!” He bluntly turned down my brother’s potential relationship and happiness just because his girlfriend was Caucasian.

Growing up, I have silently listened to conversations regarding my culture’s restrictions take place, thinking that “my parents have to be right!” But now, how do I tell my mom that our Latino neighbor is cute or that I have the biggest crush on our school’s star African-American basketball player? I have been brought up on the beliefs of my parents and the expectations of India, and I have silently abided by them every day, even though I live thousands of miles away from where these values originate. At seventeen, forming my identity from two vastly different cultures and molding what I want my identity to be versus what my parents see as the perfect Indian daughter, is not easy.

Although I have grown up in America, it is a foreign place to my culture. It calls upon me to question the ideals with which my parents raised me. It calls upon me to decide if I should follow the traditional route that my parents would like, or if I should follow the contemporary path that the other 400 kids in my high school pursue. While my parents are my guiding light and deserve to be made proud of their daughter, the inner conflict of shaping the perfect dual identity often leads me to steer away from the traditional Indian beliefs. 

Despite the inevitable friction, I can value two different cultures while following the traditions that I feel best fit my life. Being raised with a beautiful mix of traditions, beliefs, values, and people makes me proud and I believe makes me a more socially and culturally aware individual. For an Indian-American girl, who seems to be in a constant tug-of-war between parental approval and personal happiness, it becomes a delicate balancing act. 

When it is my real wedding day, I want to have the ability to marry an Eric, an Alejandro or the cute basketball player from school. But I also want internal contentment, which will partly come from my parents being happy with my choice as a life partner.  I am not going to deny the fact that widening my parents’ perspectives will be difficult, but I am willing to make the sacrifices necessary if my parents’ values infringe upon my life choices. I hope that ten years down the road, when my sweaty palms are clenching those of my mom and dad and when I slowly walk down the aisle, I won’t have to question if someone will object at the altar. I hope my parents can both trust the decisions I make and can appreciate that I still respect the Indian traditions, even though I may not choose to live by all of them. 


The author's comments:

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to read this. It is a potential college essay and I was wondering if you guys could critique it!!! I wanted to know what you guys think about the topic, layout, etc.!! Please help I am high-key confused about this. lol. 

Thanks


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