Love Story: Finding God & Love in India

Beautiful Mani, from Mexico, found love and spirituality in India! Her blog, A New Life Wandering, was one of the first I read once I decided to create my own. She was living in the state of Maharashtra, the state where I now live! Her tales of rural India were fascinating, and now she blogs about her life wandering, never knowing which country she’ll be living in next. Here is Mani’s inspiring love story… 

Neither me nor my husband are from India, but our love story began there. I was born and raised in Mexico City. My parents, who are American and Mexican, gave me an Indian name and took me to India for the first time when I was just six years old. I returned to India countless times, to visit a place near the village of Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra.

sunset india expat life rural beautiful mani mexican love

Fast forward to 2008, during one of those spiritual retreats in India I met Josh, an American. We gravitated towards each other like magnets. We were staying in the same place. When we met I was there for about ten days before he had to return to the West. During those ten days, we spent so much time together. He was older, so for the first couple of days I was wondering to myself at night: “why do I have these feelings for him?”, I was also was in a two year relationship with someone else!

josh-me-motorcycle-india-road love love love love love

We continued to hang out. Together we would attend the local events, sit next to each other during the community meals and share rickshaw rides. We rode the motorcycle together, once I stood up behind him as he was driving and opened my arms like the scene of Titanic. A corny moment in hindsight, but it felt amazing. Sunset was over, the cool Indian breeze was brushing our faces and the night sky was dark and quiet. He was also totally impressed with me for doing that, as it showed my sense of adventure.

We did kiss. I fell into a deep sleep in his arms on the couch one afternoon at a friend’s apartment, while they continued to chat. I treated his small wounds on his feet and he removed my nail polish. It all felt completely natural with us, like we had known each other for years. I truly believe we did know each other in past lives; we are soulmates.

josh-mani-india-collage love love love love

At the end of the trip he went back to his life in the US and I went to London where I was studying Filmmaking at the University of the Arts. One year later, I followed my heart and completely changed my life by dropping out of college, going against all my friend’s and family’s expectations of me and moving to the US to be with my soulmate and follow God’s plans for me. This was the biggest decision I had and have ever made, and it was the hardest too because I did not have the support from friends and family, something I was used to having. But I just knew in my heart I had to do this, not just for love but for reasons greater than that. God gave me the strength.

king-ahmed-tomb-india-me love love love

I was 20 years old. I could write a whole book about our story, how it all went down with my family and friends, how we had to get married sooner than we planned because of immigration issues, how we had a second wedding, how we lived in our car and moved to different states in the US, and so much more. On the summer of 2013 we were comfortably settled in a 2 bedroom house with two amazing cats in Durham, North Carolina, but what did we do? We sold all of our possessions except for two suitcases and moved to rural India, back to the village where we had met. The short explanation as to why we did this is because God prompt us to do it.

saree style marathi firangi love style living in rural india love life spirituality mani

This is when I started my blog. My life in India was so interesting that I had to share it with the world. I experienced lots of firsts and lots of culture shocks, but most of all it was a major life experience. From learning to drive a scooter, wearing a sari for the first time and going shopping to the market, our life in India was a cultural and spiritual adventure. Moving to India is one thing, but moving to rural India is a complete different thing. We thought it was going to be a permanent move but circumstances led us to leave India after just 3 months. We ended up in Oregon, USA and that is where we are currently stationed in life.

tulip-farm-oregon-josh-me

Josh and I have now been together for five years and married for almost four. We have broken people’s expectations of our relationship (which weren’t good), we have gone through a lot of resistance which has only made us stronger, and we love each other more every day. When it is meant to be and it is in God’s plans (because we have no doubt that God plays cupid), nothing can’t stop it from happening. In spite all odds, age differences, cultural differences, geography differences, opposition, and struggling times, we have thrived. Our life is a constant unpredictable adventure and we have no idea what will come next.

To read about serial expat Mani’s life in rural India, and other travel writings, check out her website ANewLifeWandering.com

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27 thoughts on “Love Story: Finding God & Love in India

  1. God’s plan. God prompted you to do it. God played cupid…. Really?
    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but kissing a man, falling asleep in his arms, acting out scenes from a romantic movie while on the back of his motorbike… when you’ve been in a relationship with someone else for two years…. and are supposedly on a spiritual retreat…. doesn’t sound much like a script written by God to me. By most people’s definition it’s called being unfaithful and pleasing yourself. I don’t see what God’s got to do with it.

    If, in the future, your husband goes off on a spiritual retreat on his own, and hooks up with someone else while he’s there, I trust that you will regard this as also Divinely ordained? You know? “God works in mysterious ways” and all that??

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    • I can kind of understand where you’re coming from, but look she was following her heart.
      I don’t know her personally, but i’m sure in her previous relationship the guy and her just didn’t complete each other the way she and josh did. She probably felt an overwhelming experience of love..which she couldn’t fathom before :). I guess one could always argue that she should have ended her previous relationship before getting into this one…but i strongly believe that when it comes to love you have to live in the moment and..follow your heart

      As for the part about god, god definitely did bring the two of them together by allowing them to be in the same place at exactly the same time, while both working on a common thing- their spirituality

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      • HI Divya.
        I don’t have any problem with Mani following her heart… it’s everything being dressed up as “God’s work” that I take issue with (especially as it is applied to a relationship that was initially infidelity). And leaving America and moving to India, because “God prompted them to do so”…. It’s not as if they went off to tread the path of Mother Theresa, devoting their lives to helping the starving… they are changing countries as the whim takes them, and having a fine old time. Good for them, but don’t try and tell me they’re following “God’s plan”.

        As for the idea that God definitely brought them together by allowing them to be in the same place at the same time, while both working on their spirituality… Does that also apply then when a middle-aged vicar (priest) of a church in England leaves his wife and children in order to get together with a much younger woman who attends the church? This happens on a semi-regular basis, and it always makes newspaper headlines. Applying your criteria, that also would be a union brought about by the hand of God.

        Yes, people do sometimes fall for someone when they are already in a relationship, but to justify it as “God’s plan” seems a bit too convenient. Affairs of the heart can be a complicated matter, and I would rather see people accept responsibility for their actions, and acknowledge the complexity of hurt they cause, as an adult with free will…. rather than simply brushing everything off as “God’s plan”.

        ….I’m an atheist myself, so I don’t believe in any of the whole God thing, but I imagine that some who do have a strong faith could find it offensive to hear what could be regarded as a self-indulgent life described as living according to “God’s plan”. This term is usually reserved for scenarios based on personal sacrifice and service to others, not continent hopping in search of adventure.

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      • Hi Nicola, I get what you are saying but in my defense, there is A LOT more to the story than it seems, I tried keeping it short and therefore left out a lot of information of how it was God’s plan for me. I certainly was not faithful, and I struggled to include that because it is a negative thing but I decided to be honest.
        What Divya said above is completely true. She understood. It was absolutely God’s timing and I don’t really feel like explaining why I believe 100% this was God’s will.
        It wasn’t all as easy as it sounds, in fact it was very hard when, a year after meeting Josh in India, I decided to change my life by following my heart and surrendering to God’s wish.
        I sacrificed my very comfortable life. I turned from a life of luxury, high education, family support, and career to follow my heart, help others and surrender to God (along with my soulmate).
        You assumed a lot of things that were incorrect. No, we didn’t move to India to go feed the people, but we have done so much for others. We dedicated 3 years of our lives volunteering and helping the homeless. In India, we paid for other’s college tuition and hospital fees. Several times we gave away our last dollar to others in need.
        I still don’t know why I need to explain and justify myself, but I honestly didn’t like how much you wrongly assumed about me. You make me wish I wasn’t honest on my piece, you know, leaving out the unfaithful part to make me look good, and adding all the things I’ve done for others.
        Anyway.. I should stop there.

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      • Hi Mani,
        I wanted to like your story, I really did … but it left me feeling perplexed. And (unlike all the other stories, including the one that came after yours), as no-one at all had posted a comment, I couldn’t help wondering if others were left feeling at a loss as to what to say after what they’d read.

        Perhaps it comes down to how you have portrayed yourself here. I found it made for slightly uncomfortable reading, with details of your physical intimacy (kissing, falling asleep in his arms in the company of others, tending to the small wounds on his feet, and him removing your nail varnish) when you’d just told us you were still with someone else…
        And after you had told us that God had prompted the pair of you to go to India, I was expecting to hear that you were there on some sort of Divine mission… but there was no mention of doing anything for anybody else, only references to the experiences you had of wearing a sari, riding a scooter, going to the market. I just couldn’t couldn’t see where God was supposed to come into it.

        I am pleased that you and Josh have such strong love for one another and that you are enjoying your lives to the full. That’s a great thing, it really is. It’s just that the way you told your story made it difficult to feel a warm glow for you. No-one else here has talked about their irresistible visceral attraction whilst at the same time telling us that everything they do is God’s plan. It comes off as a bit of a strange juxtaposition.

        You say in your reply that to keep things short you left out a lot of information about how it was God’s plan for you. The problem is, you didn’t give us ANY information of how it was God’s plan, you just told us that it was! If you had told us something of how you were following God’s plan (serving God through service to others perhaps), it would have helped us to feel convinced. I don’t think you can repeatedly allude to having a higher purpose without saying what that is, if you want your words to ring true. Unfortunately, your story came across as being about doing whatever you please. No problem with that. But if you also tell us it’s all about pleasing God, you must understand why a reader (such as myself) could be left thinking “How, exactly, does this story of hedonism have anything to do with holy?”

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      • Hi Nicola, thanks for taking your time to reply.
        Actually, one of the reasons why my post didn’t get as many comments, or any at all the day it was published, was because on that day Lauren’s site was down for a big part of the day.
        Anyway, you are right in many ways about how I did not explain or give any reasons as to the God part in my story. With all that you say above I realize I did a pretty crappy job at writing my story. There is just so much more of it that it was hard to write in a short post. It was a challenge for me because the story is not simple nor short at all and I tried to simplify it, and by doing so I extracted all the deeper motifs and feelings and explanations and events.
        The last thing I will say is that it wasn’t an act of hedonism as I suffered and struggled and lost a lot, but all the time I knew it was what I had to do. This probably means not much to you as I didn’t include most of what I’m talking about. As I tried to mention in my last comment, I used to have a very comfortable life in many ways and that was my biggest sacrifice.

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      • Dear Nicola,

        My website went down that day (no idea why?!), as I said before. So hard to include everything. I hope that Mani’s comments could verify some things for you! I have learn a new word from you ‘ juxtaposition’!

        xxx

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      • It’s really really hard to write your story in a short piece. SO many things happen and past experiences influence our choices.
        I am really glad that Mani and her husband are happy now.

        xxx

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  2. Pingback: My Story Featured on English Wife, Indian Life Blog | A New Life Wandering

  3. I dont know why this story didnt receive a flurry of positive comments like all the others do…maybe its because none of them were Indian? but beautiful intercultural love relationships dont just have to exist between Indian and white people!…anyways.. I love all these stories, but I found this one quite refreshing as it was a change from the usual desi boy, white girl stories.
    I think its sweet that you found love in the land of love Mani :), its also great that you and your partner are following your heart and doing what u guys love doing
    I wish you all the best xoxox

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  4. I think your story of love and spirituality is your own Mani and nobody should be questioning “God’s will” for you. It is a personal thing and the fact that you shared it with us is beautiful and precious in your own life. I admire your honesty and I myself, felt I was following God’s will and path for me. Nobody can walk in your shoes and you don’t need to defend yourself to anyone. Thank you for sharing your story and God bless you!

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    • That is so very sweet of you to say. Thank you so much. Frankly, I probably should’ve not even bothered to “argue” or defend myself against an Atheist as we would obviously never come to an agreement on the matter. Thanks again, all the best to you
      -M

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      • Hi again Mani,
        I am always interested to know the reasoning behind people’s decisions; that’s what makes it so interesting to hear their stories. For example, if someone says that they believe they and their partner were husband and wife in a previous life, although I may not believe in previous lives, it explains for me why they feel a strong sense of destiny about their union, and why they may have got married very soon after meeting.
        I wasn’t asking you to defend yourself for having a belief in God, I was just curious to know what the “plan” was for you to do, specifically with the move to India, which you said “God prompted”. …If I said I was moving to Liberia in West Africa, and said it was God’s plan, I can imagine that a lot of people would have a lot of questions. If I said I believed that it was God’s plan for me to go and nurse people who were dying and who other people were afraid to help, that would make sense of my decision for another person, whether they believed in God or not.
        I understand that your faith is a personal thing, and you don’t have to justify it to anyone… I just found myself wanting to know why you believed God wanted you specifically to move to India. If I said that God wanted me to move to Thailand, I’m sure people would say “Why Thailand?” and “What is it that God wants you to do there?”
        I wasn’t asking for you to defend yourself for your decisions. I just felt as if I was looking at a jigsaw puzzle picture with some of the vital pieces missing. I have every respect for people who believe they are following God’s plan, I just wanted to know why India, and what the plan was for you to do.

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      • Hi Nicola, I guess you are a very curious individual, and there is nothing wrong with that. I also understand you were unclear and wanted some answers. Our move to India in fact turned out very different to what we thought, specifically being a lot shorter than we thought. Nicola, I wrote a post some time ago specifically about that question you have, maybe it will make things clearer, or it might make you even more confused, but here it is: http://anewlifewandering.com/2014/01/07/why-did-you-move-to-india/

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      • Thanks for the link; I feel like I understand more where you’re coming from now. One more question, though, if I may?! Why did you stay in Oregon rather than just get your visas and return to India as planned? Do you still intend to return to India?

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