On Marriage. On Email.

There is a saying in Nepali: Namari Bache, Kala le Sache… You see many things in a life; you just need to be alive. I agree with that. After we started UWB a year ago, we have seen so many unexpected things happening in Nepal. A king suddenly appears on TV to declare that he has just kicked out a multi-party collation government, squelches civil liberties, assumes executive power and declares the state of emergency. Well, lets not talk about politics here. I want to make Wagle’s Web World is an apolitical forum. Lets leave politics to UWB.

I want to talk about a marriage under consideration. My marriage? No No No. I mean I am not against marrying. In fact I consider myself as the one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. (Well, seems girls are not thinking exactly that! Or are you thinking, girls? Come on, don’t be shy.) Anyway, I want to talk about an email that I received today in the email address of UWB. What a strange and unexpected email that was.

The email was from an American woman married to an Asian whose daughter was planning to marry a Nepali “gentleman”. “As her adopted mother,” she states, “and wanting only the best for the both of them, I am curious as to what questions I should ask of him.” Oh… what to suggest her. I was in dilemma. So I first introduced myself to her like this: “I do not know what to write since I have very little idea about the complexities of a relationship like marriage. By the way, at the age of 27, I consider myself as the World’s Most Eligible Bachelor. So, you can think of me when you see a beautiful girl in the next few months!”

Then I started my lecture on marriage. “Look,” I wrote, “marriage is all about trust. As they say, marriages are made in heaven and done in earth. (By the way, I am not sure if I have mentioned the saying correctly). So the most important question is do you trust the man? Does your daughter trust him? Try to find that answer first.”

The mother had asked a question: “Do you have any suggestions as to important issues I should raise with him?”

I think I answered her as honestly as possible.

“Another important question is where the pair plans to live after marriage?” I wrote. “In Nepal or in the US? If the answer is Nepal, then your daughter has to learn many things. Language comes first in the list. Then comes the tradition that will be learnt as time passes.”

Well, I want to you to read the important parts of email that I received.

“I am an American also married to someone from Asia so am somewhat acquainted with asian culture, customs etc.”

“However, his being from Nepal is quite different than what I am used to. In fact, the only other Nepalese people I have knowingly met were the Gurkha soldiers stationed in Hong Kong.”

“Do you have any suggestions as to important issues I should raise with him? Plans call for them to return to Nepal in 2 months for a traditional wedding. The one here honors her traditions. From the brief conversations and e-mails I have had with him, he seems like a very nice gentleman. However, as a stand-in for her mother, and someone who loves her very much, I want to be responsible. I have considered questions including where he is from, why he chose an American rather than the traditional arranged marriage and even which caste he is.”

“Truthfully, I like him so much, that when I found out the American wedding cake was going to contain eggs and him being a Vegan, I volunteered to provide a cake for the bride and groom.”

And this is my answer to the lady:

“I am delighted to read your email, ….completely unexpected.”

“If the pair plans to live in the US, then I have very little suggestion except that they should find a good job for Mr. Gentleman. Now, here comes your question: “why he chose an American rather than the traditional arranged marriage.” Why he intends to marry an American girl? There might be several answers but two are most important and should be considered seriously: 1. He loves her very much. 2. He wants to use the marriage as a card to get the US citizenship.”

I explained her about the case number 2 and also clarified that I prefer living in Nepal with my future wife!

I also wrote in one paragraph, “But why he choose not to marry traditional arranged marriage is an irrelevant question. Come on, its not mandatory to do an arranged marriage. If you love someone, you are free to marry him/her.”

“And your intention of wanting to know the gentleman’s caste really came as a shock to me. Come on, dear, its 21 century even in Nepal. Yes, millions of traditional societies go with strict caste division but new generation people like me (a Brahmin, upper caste, by the way) give little importance to caste.”

And I suggested her to do a small research of sort if she wanted to know why he was willing to marry an American. He could be a Internally Displaced Citizen from a Internally Displaced Family (I told her my family is was displaced from village but I don’t consider myself displaced because I had left house well before the family was displaced.)

She has also asked about possible gift to her son-in-law. I gave her a small lecture about Daijo tradition in Nepal and India and told her how bad it was and why I am opposed to that idea. I suggested her “not to give too much gift as Daijo in the marriage.” And added, “Yes, you can give a small ring or something like that. I really don’t know much about that thing.”

And I signed off with these words: “Okay, I think the email has gotten pretty long. Still, if you have any questions, please feel free to file some. Though [UWB’s] aim is to restore democracy in Nepal, we will consider that as an achievement if we become helpful to you to find a suitable man to your beloved daughter.”

By the way, if you have any more suggestions, please feel free to email me or drop them below.

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