Neha & Manuel Bau­mann

Neha Jain and Manuel Bau­mann have never let their Jain and Catholic up­bring­ing or re­li­gious be­liefs come in the way of making their mar­riage work beau­ti­fully

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - Wedding Special -

Mar­riage is about the two peo­ple con­cerned, and in the long run, cul­ture plays a very lim­ited role

When you’re a Ger­man groom with an In­dian bride, no bor­ing old horse is go­ing to take you to your man­dap. Only an ele­phant will do. So Manuel, the ma­haraja for the day, got to his fairy­tale wed­ding at a re­gal pace, while Neha Jain, his ma­ha­rani-to-be, gig­gled in the man­dap as she awaited her groom.

That’s the joy of a cross-cul­tural wed­ding, though no one could have seen that com­ing when Neha and Manuel first met at a party in Ban­ga­lore. They were com­pletely in­dif­fer­ent to each other, but time and so­cial cir­cle prox­im­ity soon ush­ered in ro­mance, and in 18 months, they de­cided to marry.

That was four years and a two-year-old daugh­ter ago, and Neha and Manuel, work­ing out of Ban­ga­lore and Hyderabad as an HR con­sul­tant and a sales hon­cho re­spec­tively, still laugh at their par­ents’ fears re­gard­ing a cross-cul­tural mar­riage.

“My mother thought Manuel’s fam­ily would be very out­doorsy and I may not fit in. I think she had im­ages of ski­ing va­ca­tions and ten­nis classes,” gig­gles Neha.

Most cross-cul­tural cou­ples plan suit­ably cross-cul­tural wed- dings, but Manuel in­sisted on an In­dian ex­pe­ri­ence, ele­phant et al.

Other ad­just­ments had to be made. Jains are vege­tar­ian and sup­posed to be tee­to­tallers. But Manuel’s fam­ily needed their wine and meat. “The Jain side was dis­mayed at the idea, but even­tu­ally re­lented,” re­calls Neha with a laugh.

As the wed­ding in­di­cated, cul­tural com­pro­mises are not as hard as they orig­i­nally seem to be, and that’s what Neha learned in the four years of her mar­riage.

“Mar­riage is about the two peo­ple con­cerned, and in the long run, cul­ture plays a very lim­ited role,” says Neha. “You deal with each other’s likes, dis­likes, fears, hopes and dreams, ir­re­spec­tive of where the other per­son is from. Even to­day, I am a staunch Jain and Manuel is a staunch Catholic but that has not af­fected our re­la­tion­ship in any way. In fact, I think cross-cul­tural mar­riages make the best ba­bies – they’re fast de­vel­op­ers and a lovely mix of both sides.”

Photo: PRIYANKA SACHAR

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