“I was so angry that I shrieked, and we ran after them. Then seeing that I was not going to go, he apologised.” Another time, a group of men sneered as they passed by the young couple: “? )” My friend Neha Belvalkar’s first visit to India after two years in a film school in the US was “appalling,” in her words.
Chris, her American boyfriend, had accompanied her.
One day when walking on a street in Pune, Neha’s hometown, a biker slowed down near the couple and almost hit her. She said she sensed a mix of repressed fury and lust in the man’s tone, when he hissed back: “I will f*** you.” To many Indians, the idea of a mixed-race couple is alien, repulsive even.
Nicholas Chevaillier, my friend Aarya’s French-American husband, has been asked more than once in India where and how he “picked up” the woman he was with.
“Being with my own husband would make me uncomfortable because men would pass lewd comments with even more alacrity than when I was alone,” said Aarya.
By the fourth day of our vacation on the islands, we had got used to being stared at.
But when curious glances turned to quizzical looks, we began to realise that we were considered an oddity: A brown woman with a white man. ” one of the two women asked me as soon as my husband left my side.
When I decided to marry a Frenchman, my family’s concern was the normal one that parents have about whether their children have made the right decision; my partner’s nationality played only a minor role.
So when a neighbour took it upon herself to tell my mother that I was being an irresponsible daughter by marrying outside my “caste” and moving abroad, it upset me at many levels.
“My husband,” I replied after a while, snapping out of savouring my first-ever snorkelling session.