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
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