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Met via Matchmaking - US Based South Asian Blogger Shares Her Arranged Wedding Story

Anjali Nair, US based South Asian Blogger opens up about finding love on a matrimony app.

Image Courtesy: Sunil Thakur Photography

‘Matchmaking’ in India has existed as an organ of our society for years. Over time it has evolved and embraced the role of technology in finding partners who might be spread across the world but are destined to meet. While many aspects of the revered institution have been rightly highlighted by the famous Netflix show - Indian Matchmaking and are currently up for debate, we shifted our focus towards the happy beginnings. 

In conversation with Anjali Nair, a South Asian lifestyle blogger, who helps Asian women to transition into the American way of life and establish their careers in a new country; we delved deeper into the details of finding love through Arranged Marriage, its advantages and challenges. 

A marketeer who was based out of Mumbai before marriage; Anjali belongs to a Malayalam family with their family roots originating from Kerala. When Anjali’s parents finally had the serious talk about marriage with her in January 2016, she had not yet found the special someone in her life. Owing to the history of the unions she had seen in her family, she was open to the idea of an arranged marriage. “My father created my profile in Bharat and he was managing my account. When you take the arranged marriage route via one of these portals and your parents do the talking, you know that is not a place for casual dating. Families always look for something serious there. The best part is, my dad chose a few profiles and asked me to confirm if anyone interests me. When I came across Sidharth Palakkode’s (now my husband) profile, I found many similarities and decided that I wouldn’t mind getting to know him. Even before we took the discussion forward, our parents matched our horoscopes and made sure that their checkboxes were all marked,” Nair shares. 

When You Know, You Know! 

Image Courtesy: Sunil Thakur Photography

We communicated for the first time over a phone call in the month of January. I realised he had an American accent because he was born in the US. He had moved to India when he was 7 but he came back to the US when he was 17 years old and has been living here, ever since. I didn’t see this coming but we hit it off immediately. We were both surprised because we thought we were just going to talk because it’s a part of the process but finding ‘the one’ must take more time,” Nair gleefully shares as she reminisces the beginning of their journey. The more they got to know each other, the more they wanted to know. They met in person in a week, went out on a few dates, and explored the dimensions of a possible relationship.

An Arranged Meet 

Image Courtesy: Sunil Thakur Photography

It was a dramatic scene when I met their family for the first time. I had specifically told my aunt that I will not wear a saree, I don’t want a Bollywood scene. I was freaking out. When I finally went out to see them, all eyes were on me but there was zero eye contact from my side. Luckily, his parents did not interrogate me and asked us to spend some time to get to know each other. Sid and I went to a coffee shop to talk and we were so engrossed during our first meeting that my mom called me to mention that it had been an hour since we left the house,” Nair breaks into giggles as she remembers the initial days. 

During their courtship period, their relationship continued to evolve through a long distance relationship over a period of 10 months, after Siddharth flew back to the US. Sharing further on how they bonded in spite of the distance, Nair shares, “It is different when you are connected on calls and video calls on the weekend. There is no space for materialistic things, the only priority is to get to know each other better. We spoke for hours and we spoke about things that were meaningful to us.”

Also Read: Blogger Shweta Sood Shares Her Arranged Marriage Story

The Fundamentals of Arranged Marriage 

Image Courtesy: Sunil Thakur Photography

Does the institution of arranged marriage promise that you will find a perfect partner, a 10/10 just because the partner is carefully chosen amidst options? Well, a happy marriage does not necessarily require a 10/10 partner and Nair sheds light on the same. “I obviously had a list of things I was looking for in my partner, but we all eventually come to realise that finding a partner is not equivalent to customising an order. It’s tough to find your 10/10 partner, but even if you find a 6/10 who shares a deep level of understanding with you, you are blessed. I always wanted a man who has lived on his own and is not dependent on his family. I also wanted a partner who has had female friends, (yeah, parents will crease their brows at this requirement) but it was essential so that he respects women and understands them. Compatibility is also important, and your value systems should match but your partner doesn’t have to be your twin, you can still have differences,” Nair shares. 

Settling in a New Country after Marriage 

Image Courtesy: Sunil Thakur Photography

Before the journey of matchmaking began for Nair, she was headstrong about finding love in Mumbai and could have never imagined that she will be leaving her dear city and job behind for love. Post meeting Siddharth, the narrative of Nair’s life changed. “I was deeply in love and had absolutely no inhibitions on starting a new life with him, but the thought of moving to the US and ending up as a homemaker without a job experience in the States scared me.” They tied the knot on the 21st of December, 2016. It was a beautiful, traditional South Indian wedding ceremony in Mumbai followed by a reception in Coimbatore. The decoration and planning of the wedding was taken care of by Var Vadhu at Seventy Seven Entertainment in Mumbai. Speaking of her journey of crossing borders after marriage, Nair shares, “I had to wait for 6 more months to get my Visa. My husband is already a citizen here and works as a Program Manager at PWC, so I had an advantage, he was there to guide me in a new country. However, once I reached my new home in the US, that’s when the realisation hit me, I had moved from Mumbai, a busy metropolitan city of Mumbai to a nice and small town in Tampa, Florida. I had the work permit but it was really tough to find a job here. Everyone suggested that I should consider changing my profile but I was really passionate about marketing and didn’t want to start a job that wouldn’t make me happy. After 6 months of rejection, I decided I will give myself a year to find something in the marketing field. I finally found a job in a start up but I had to leave them 10 months later,  because the company couldn’t sustain itself. Finding another job got easier this time because I had the experience of working in a US firm to back my profile. I am working as a marketing professional in AAA in Tampa, Florida now.“

4 Years of Love & Commitment 

Image Courtesy: Sunil Thakur Photography

4 years have passed since their beautiful union tied them together and Nair shares, “With every passing year, the realisation of taking the right decision grows stronger. We thank our parents for making the right choice for us. I know the concept seems outdated, but it worked out for us wonderfully. There wasn’t any drama in finding love. It was rather smooth for both of us, and after getting to know each other better, it was an easy choice.”

So if arranged marriage is the only option you had been considering for long and the sudden outburst of criticism that has come as an after effect of the Netflix show has left you hopeless and worried for your future, worry not! Love will always find a way to knock on your door, regardless of where and how it finds you. Nair shares her two cents for all the young and hopeful men and women out there. “Don’t take a decision by reading their profile. Meet them more than once to get to know them better. It is rightly said that women have the instincts to judge a person. Don’t expect fireworks to happen, take it slow and take your time to understand the person you will marry. Most importantly, you are lucky if your parents are helping you choose the person you will marry, make sure you take this opportunity to understand the value system of the other person and their family.” 

Intrigued by the story of their journey? So are we! Here’s another telltale of couples who met through and found eternal joy. Don’t limit your options of finding love, sometimes it’s the value system of the society that needs to be under scrutiny and not the ‘way’ that love found to find you.