Love Story: Unconventional Iyengars

Gorgeous Alexandra, from Canada, is one of my favourite bloggers so I am really excited to share her beautiful love story with you! It’s been nearly a decade since she found her soulmate, and together they have created a beautiful family! If you want to learn about Foreign daughter-in-law/Indian mother-in-law dynamics, she is your woman! Alexandra is passionate, fearless, fabulous and has proved all the naysayers wrong! Here is her inspiring love story…

My husband is from one of the most religious and conservative sects in India. They are said to be the “purest” in their lineage. He is an Iyengar Tamil Brahmin. There are many priests in his family. His grandfather came from a small temple town in Tamil Nadu, where many residents still do not even let in non-Iyengars into their home. And he also married me. And we have 7 tattoos between us. And we are artists by profession. He is what I would call “an unconventional Iyengar“.

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Back in the day, we were just students in love. He picked me and I picked him, our paths crossed and the direction of our lives was changed forever by a love that seemed so destiny charged. It’s safe to say that I had no idea what I was getting into. It didn’t matter to me then, and it still doesn’t. Life works in mysterious ways. Love works in ironic ways.

We met nearly nine years ago and had been together ever since. Like a missing puzzle piece – only from two different continents. We were both international students, far away from home at a famous art school in the USA. In retrospect, we were both running from something. Being an only child, I wanted my independence away from my parents. He was running away from both a family and a culture who placed no value on his artistic dreams. Needless to say, we ran into each other’s arms.

We started off as friends, then best friends, then we were dating for a very short time before he asked me to marry him. And then 6 months later, we were on a flight to India, which turned into an extended stay. And I have never been the same since…
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Everyone thought we were crazy. Nobody thought we would end up together. People who didn’t know us thought we were too different (in terms of culture and skin color obviously, because if they really knew us they would have known that our values were the same…) And now, being together for nearly a decade (our first of many) it has been incredibly satisfying to have proven these people wrong, to live successfully the way we want to, free of society’s rules.We put our families through the ringer. My parents decided to accept it and hope for the best. His parents accepted it but wished that I would eventually go away. My mother still eats naan and rice like a burrito, which drives me crazy. My mother-in-law still gets scared that I’m going to divorce her son, because there is “so much of divorce in western culture“. Funny things like that is what keeps our daily life interesting.

After India, we lived in New York and San Francisco, before moving back to my native Canada. We settled down, and finally after 5.5 years of being together, we decided to get married. Mentally, we were already married. We had already been through so much together – accidents, family deaths, losing jobs, relocating. The marriage served as a purpose to unite our families and also to celebrate our love and our journey. Not only that, but we got married three times in three months (talk about making up for all those years!) I’ll never forget seeing our parents sitting in the front row, all holding hands at our wedding and tearing up.

We went to India again for our honeymoon which was beautiful. At every chance we get, we are always heading back to India to discover more. I always had this dream to see the Taj Mahal on my honeymoon – kind of coincidental since I ended up marrying an Indian! We also visited Fatehpur Sikri, amongst other places. When we were there, I noticed all these couples praying for fertility. It was when we were there that I decided I was ready for a child. It was a sudden decision, but it just felt right. So, I went into the sacred tomb of Salim Chishti and prayed to God to bless me with a daughter. Nine months later, we welcomed our daughter, Maya Josephine Madhavan.

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Now she is 2.5 and the second best thing that has ever happened to us (the first was meeting each other). She has her father’s quickness and her mother’s gentleness. She looks like everybody in the family, combined. Every single person. She is literally a walking symbol of our love. She is the best of both worlds, and we lead her by example of being the best of both our cultures.
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Alexandra writes a fabulous and fearless blog detailing personal stories about her unconventional Iyengar family @ Madh-Mama.blogspot.in
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19 thoughts on “Love Story: Unconventional Iyengars

  1. Awesome! I follow Alexandra’s blog and come here via her. One funny thing I noticed – all the couples in “your stories” are Indian guy, western girl couples. TIme to change the trend 😉

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    • Hey Boiling!
      We have one Nepali guy in the mix and soon I’ll be publishing a story about love which blossomed in India between two Westerners and an German American loving a Korean boy! I am looking for guys to share their story, and Indian girl/Western guy couples, no luck yet!!

      I hope you are well, thanks for reading! 😀

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      • Hi Lauren,
        There’s a young white American guy, called Ryan Macleod, who married an Indian girl from Ranchi, called Shireen, two years ago after they met on Facebook. For the first 18 months of their marriage he lived with her family in India and now they live in the USA, and they have a 10-month-old daughter. As you are looking for guys to share their story, and you want to feature a Western male/ Indian female story, it might be worth contacting him if you haven’t done so already?
        There’s a video on YouTube about them, entitled: “Facebook love: American boy marries Indian girl”, which was filmed in India a month after they were married. You could contact him via that, if you wanted to pursue it, as he has responded to comments people have posted.
        If you watch the video, don’t be put off by it! As Ryan explains in the comments, he had been ill for months when the TV crew showed up and filmed it, and he says that he has never been comfortable in front of the camera. Theirs is an interesting story, as the video attracted a lot of negative criticism, with posters saying it was “the worst mistake of his life” and that the girl was “only after a Green Card”… and Ryan responds by saying that two years on he can say that marrying Shireen was actually the BEST decision of his life. (I don’t think Priya is going to like it, because it sounds like they are too happy!)
        Even within the confines of brief comments on a YouTube video, Ryan’s honesty and integrity, and deep fulfilment within his marriage, really come across. He is articulate and speaks from the heart. I think he would be a great candidate for your ‘West Meets East’ series of stories.

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  2. Thank you Lauren for featuring me! I have really enjoyed this experience and working with you. I loved the way it came out and the way you laid out the pictures. Thank you hun! ❤

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