Love Story: Behind the Red Door

Gorgeous Rebecca, from Scotland, is such a sweetheart. We were at Heathrow airport on our way to India at the same time. Unfortunately, during her flight from Scotland to Heathrow, they lost her luggage so we couldn’t meet. Hopefully we will be able to meet one day! After following their journey for over a year now, I am just so happy for them, their story is a big inspiration for all of those in long distance relationships. We love and dedication, you can close the distance… 

Behind a beautiful red door is the home of Rebecca & Gautam, reunited at long last. Their relationship was tested, questioned and faced with unexpected long distance but nothing could separate them.

Our relationship began in 2012, we met through a mutual friend after hearing a lot about each other, Gautam contacted me via Facebook. He was living in a neighbouring town, we went for date in a village nearby. From that day until the day he had to leave the U.K., we saw each other everyday. We were so in love. We were both so happy and busy, working and spending time together. When the visa rules change, meaning that he had to leave the country to apply for a new visa, we were devastated.

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We woke early and went to Edinburgh, from there Gautam would get the train to London and fly home. We enjoyed every minute of that last day. We enjoyed it so much that we lost track of time and forgot to buy suitcases for Gautam’s new clothes, we had to beg a shop to open their doors and let us in to buy some and then we nearly missed his train to London! When he got on the train, I didn’t want it to move, the train conductor was blowing his whistle at me, telling me to move away from the train trying to leave. I was in floods of tears, I couldn’t believe this was happening. I dropped to the floor, we didn’t know when we would see each other again.

Two days later my Indian visa arrived in the post, so I booked my ticket to India. As the news of my trip spread, I lost a lot of friends. The sad part of intercultural relationships, not everyone agrees and many people question your love. The negative comments wouldn’t stop me, I was doing what I wanted for a change, for happiness and love. My mum was my rock during this time, as I watched relationships around me break down, she was there beside me. I left for India alone, a very scared girl.

My visit to India was great, those memories will live with me forever, I spent three weeks with my husband and in-laws. There were still difficult times, language, cultural, religion, jealously, touching the feet of elders, the water spray in the toilet, squat toilets, bucket showers and only eating vegetarian food. At that time, I knew nothing about Indian culture or traditions. 

Our wedding day was perfect, I truly felt like a Gori Rani, my lehenga was beautiful and the long week Vermont was amazing. I didn’t plan any of it, I hadn’t a clue of the traditions, Gautam and Daddyji organised it before I arrived. I know one day I will plan our British wedding which will be more my day, I see our Indian wedding day as Gautam’s day. In India, I had a normal family where two parents lived together, with lots of love to give. This was really special for me, coming from a broken family.

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I returned to the U.K., miles away from my husband and my new family, I was heartbroken. The new visa rules hit us again, for Gautam to be granted a  spouse visa, I needed to earn £18,600 per year. I was a student working part-time, not earning anywhere near that amount, and if I were to leave college I would be working for minimum wage, still not earning enough. It got too much, so I left my job to focus on college so I could get a good qualification and start earning decent money. Three weeks later, I couldn’t stand the distance anymore, I booked a ticket back to India. Life in India was good, temperatures were high and our love grew stronger. 

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When I returned to the U.K. a second time, I gave college another go and we didn’t see each other for over a year. It was a difficult year, but I made new friends, friends who supported my intercultural marriage and who were happy for me. This time I was determined to complete my college course, I used the pain of the distance to drive me forward and motivate me to work harder. I never chose to be in a long distance relationship, it was overwhelming to be so far from the man I love. We survived with persistence, dedication, broken FaceTime calls, costly phone calls and most importantly with our love.

I took an au pair job in Ireland and we started to plan his visa file, it wasn’t easy and Gautam did the majority of it, I helped him with the legal things and certain laws. We kept it a secret, just incase new issues arose, we were scared. Thankfully, his visa process was straight forward, he was granted his visa, I was over the moon and extremely impatient. When in a long distance relationship arguments are difficult, you can’t kiss and make up, you just have to forget and move on (my impatience caused many arguments). He finally booked his ticket to Ireland, I was so excited. It was so hard to keep my mouth shut and people started to guess he was coming! Gautam first flight was cancelled, so yes, more waiting but it was so worth the wait, all the long distance pains were over, he was finally coming!

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Waiting for Gautam at the airport was everything I had dreamt of. I wore a traditional Punjabi suit to Gautam’s surprise, he loved it and so did passersby. I had many comments of how beautiful I looked and I even made one woman cry after telling her our story. When I looked through the double doors, there was my man, looking perfect. I ran to him and gave him the tightest hug, I burst into tears while he comforted me telling me everything was fine now, we were together! My dream comes true! Life has never been better, we moved into our own home where we can cuddles besides our open fire, behind our beautiful red door.

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When you want something and know it’s worth it, you will fight for it, in my case it was love. I’m a lover not a fighter but I will fight for what I love!

Rebecca write an awesome blog at http://GoriRani.blogspot.in/ 

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How to Avoid Internet Love Scammers

When I fell in love with an Indian online, I was bombarded with ‘he only wants you for a British passport’, from various people in my life. It was only when I told them all that he was living and working in America, they shut up. It was our choice to move to India, anyway, that’s another story…

So many people are meeting their spouses online these days and it has become socially acceptable. If you are from a Western country and meet an Indian love online, people automatically think ‘he only wants a passport’. Why do people think this? Well, it’s a common phenomenon. Many see the Western world as a paradise, and they see their ticket to ‘paradise’ on Facebook/dating websites/chat rooms. There is also a common misconception in India, people think that everyone in the West is wealthy, so getting a Western spouse is literally like hitting the jackpot. Even now, obviously married, I get messages from Indian men proclaiming their love and wanting to marry me? Wah?

I have been in contact with women who were fooled by Indian men typing from an internet cafe, desperate for an American green card or a European passport or to have money wired into their bank accounts. It’s by no means only Indian men who do this, but because of the title of my blog, it’s the Indian’s I am told about. I have also had some of these scammers contact me themselves, ‘can you instruct me on the next step in getting a British wife, I want to live in the UK’. Gah! No!

There are many women and men who have fallen in love with an Indian online and have gone on to have genuine and happy marriages (hi!). I believe in love above all things, but there are people out there trying to fool us. I have shared many online love success stories with you, but I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that every single online love affair has a happy ending or is genuine.

So, how to avoid those who care solely about your Nationality and your ability to improve their lives? Here are some tips…

1. ‘Random’ Facebook friend requests

It’s not always someone trying to ‘scam you’, but the chances are, if someone is going around adding ‘random’ people on Facebook, they have a motive. Plus, it’s probably not completely random, they may have a type of person in mind. I know of several couples who have married through ‘random’ Facebook friend requests, they were lucky. Just be vigilant, has your new ‘friend’ targeted you? Are they proclaiming their love immediately? Does it feel suspicious? Do they have a really low facebook friend count (this could show that this is a second account for targeting purposes)?

2. Skype Skype Skype

It’s easy to type lies, so much harder to speak them. If your new love doesn’t want to video chat, or says they don’t have a webcam, this should be a huge warning sign. Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t most laptops have inbuilt cameras now? If you do Skype and things don’t feel right, think about it. Does your love look a lot different on Skype than they did on their Facebook photos? Do you still feel that same connection after coming together ‘face to face’?

3. Rushing into things

I know I sound like a complete hypocrite by saying this, but don’t rush into things. If your love is asking you to send them money so they can buy a flight to come and meet you or if your love is insisting on setting a date for a legal marriage before you’ve even met, press the brakes. Are you suspicious of an ulterior motive? Do they only send you compliments on your looks and marriage proposals and never want to talk about personal or emotional matters?

4. If you come to India before you’ve met in person, try and get someone to come with you

I don’t think my mum would have let me go to India alone without meeting my husband first, luckily we met in London. In many cases the Westerner comes to India first. India, I love you, but your cities and airports can be very scary and dangerous places for foreigners! Try and get a travel companion, the added bonus is that they can meet your love too and report back about how lovely he or she is!

5. Culture shock

You have a different religion, race, culture, nationality, language, upbringing, diet and the list goes on. Sometimes these things are not a problem, sometimes these things cause huge conflict. Make sure that you are not going against any of your personal values to make the other person happy, relationships (especially intercultural ones) sometimes require compromises. These things might not be an issue whilst chatting online, but when the relationship becomes ‘offline’, things might change. Before you commit, talk about your values and talk about your beliefs. Talk about your goals in life and discuss the future. The culture shock might not be between you and your love, it might come later, once you meet their parents…

6. Indian parents

In India, many people are still very traditional. They want their children to marry someone within their caste, who has a good education and many Indian parents want to choose their child’s spouse themselves! Even if they accept a Westerner, then they might want to check if your astrology chart. Something which may seem trivial to a Westerner can be make or break a relationship for an Indian. I know of Indian men who have broken off engagements with Western women because the astrologer said they were not compatible.

Are you planning on moving to India? Will you be expected to live with you new in-laws? This is a very difficult thing to do, even for Indian’s who have grown up in the culture. The lack of space, lack of control and lack of privacy is really stressful, trust me, I know. Initially I thought it would be great but after a couple of months, it became really (really!) difficult.

7. Trust your gut

I am a firm believer that you cannot manufacture an immediate spiritual and mental connection. On the other hand, you can make someone fall in love with them by figuring them out and manipulating them, this usually happens over time. Some people feel suspicious at first but then fall so in love with the idea of being in love with an exotic person from an exotic land (which can easily be confused with being in love with the person themselves), they completely ignore any of those visceral feelings of ‘danger, danger, danger, flashy red lights’.

Love can blossom online, no doubt about it, but always be cautious. Do not ignore those small suspicions, don’t jump in headfirst. AND, if your online Indian love does turn into online disaster, don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith. Love, genuine love, can still be found. 

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Any other tips? Have you met any of these tricksters? 

Love Story: Switzerland Meets India

Larissa is a sweetheart, we met through Instagram and I just fell in love with her and her story. She made a brave decision and has now moved to Delhi for five months, living with her boyfriend and his family. As we have both wandered into joint family life in India, we always have a lot to talk about (and laugh about)! Beautiful and caring, her story shows that you can find love in the most unexpected places…

In Switzerland they say that if you don’t want something, you’ll get it. When I was 15 I wanted to travel around the world but I always said I never want to go to India. I guess they were right, since now I am living India with an Indian boyfriend.
I met Prageet online, May 2013, and we couldn’t stop talking. In September 2013, I decided to take a thirteen day trip to India, by myself, the country I swore I would never visit. Despite all of my family’s warnings and worries, I still went. It turned out to be an adventure.
 

I hadn’t met Prageet in person yet, we had only Skype’d, but for some reason I knew I could trust him, and I knew he would be waiting for me at Delhi Airport. His parents didn’t know I was coming to India, so he told them that he was staying with friends, when actually he was with me.

 

Visiting India was quite tricky and totally new for me, but I had the best time and we both were very sad when I had to go home. We knew we both wanted to continue with this relationship. In December, he came to Switzerland and I returned to India in March. My second visit to India, his parents had found out about me and thankfully welcomed me into their home. We are so blessed that they accept our relationship and are always so sweet to me. I spent five weeks with Prageet’s family, it was great!

 

 
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In June, this year, Prageet came again to Switzerland for two months. I didn’t want him to leave, so I made a huge decision. I quit my job so I could spend five Months in India! Two weeks after Prageet left Switzerland, I came back to India to be with him and his family. It’s great to be here and have these amazing experiences, but it is hard sometimes with the culture differences. 
Please don’t take this personally, but I really do not like Indian food.

 

There are days when it’s hard. The people I meet are very straight forward, they sometimes say things which would never be said in Switzerland, but I have accepted that it’s because we have been brought up differently. Some days it’s just feels overwhelming and you don’t know where to put your emotions, but I have realised, it’s part of being on this journey. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with a new culture and there is nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t mean that I am disrespectful, it means that I am trying to learn and adjust.

 

Being in a long distance relationship isn’t easy and on top of that being in an intercultural relationship can be hard, too. There are always two different points of view and those are inevitably going to clash sometimes. This means a lot of adjusting on both sides and I am just very lucky that his family is so understanding. On my five Months journey I started a blog to show that India is not all rapes and bad things, there are inspiring and good things also. I want to document both, good and bad. It’s so important in the world today that you are open-minded and try to experience different cultures and different countries. So be open minded guys! Finally, thank you Lauren for being such a great friend and inspiration. Love, Larissa

 

Larissa blogs about India and her experiences @ www.SwitzerlandMeetsIndia.wordpress.com/

Love Story: My Hindi Heart

I first spoke to Crystal after she sent me a message, telling me that she was moving to India from America! We started speaking regularly, became good friends and she even attended my wedding!! A beautiful girl with a beautiful soul, she also found love in India. I am proud to introduce my first ‘Your Stories‘ post, an inspiring love story which shows that dreams do come true…

It started with a love for the Hindi language. The melodic flow of words, the speech pattern, the way Hindi sounded like a language I have always known but couldn’t remember. I wanted to speak it more than anything. Second to that was culture. Beyond the colors, the language, the spirituality or values, was a place that seemed to beckon me. Little did I know, the one who sparked my love for India would become the one I now call my true love.

About three years ago, I was working three jobs at a time. I lived on my own, supporting myself, in an ugly peach house in Blue Springs, Missouri. My full-time job was an overnight stocking job, my day job was part-time and I worked as a teacher, and finally, my weekend job was working as a barista at a coffee shop. It was lonely working nights, but I at least had the company of my online Indian friend, and we would talk at every opportunity. I was unhappy with my life, working so much and having no time for the things that were important to me, but at least I was making enough money to support myself, and enough to save for traveling. I was making plans to go to India.

Unexpectedly, I lost my full-time job, and my other two jobs were not enough. I couldn’t support myself, even with my savings, and went into a financial crisis. India was far out of my reach and I felt hopeless. After that, friendships began to crumble and even relationships with my family were falling apart. I moved in with my best friend and her husband. Though I was happy to have her support, I was at an all-time low.
One night, moments before falling into a deep sleep, I wondered where my life would take me. I closed my eyes, tears falling down, and not long after, Lord Ganesha appeared in my dreams. Without a single word, he spoke to me. His presence was warm and comforting, but in a way, he was pointing me in a particular direction. When I woke, something became very clear to me, but I couldn’t figure out the message I was supposed to understand. Three days later, I received news that I would be going to India and that someone would be sponsoring my trip. 

I worked until the day before I had to leave for India. My nerves were shot as I packed my suitcase and backpack. I questioned reality several times, because it just felt too good to be true. Reality didn’t fully sink in, until after I crossed the Atlantic Ocean. It didn’t sink in until I saw the sun rising over a dusty field in Hyderabad. This is where my adventure really began.

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My travels took me from Hyderabad to Jhansi, where I met my online Indian friend, DN. Immediately, we both felt a spark between us. We felt as if we met a thousand times before. Despite what we felt, we remained as friends until the day I witnessed Lauren and her husband marry. Though at a distance, it inspired him, and we forged an unbreakable bond and made an oath to each other. I traveled back to Jhansi and then moved on to Delhi, to work with DN. Our relationship flourished, and despite the fact that we lived apart, we went everywhere together.

I knew that our relationship would come with mutual sacrifice, and there was so much for me to learn. The youngest of his elder sisters lived in Delhi also. She and her husband approved of me and approved of us. They helped him break the news to his parents. His parents were shocked, and they did not approve. They had dreams of his future, and didn’t understand why he wanted to be with me. It was scary to them, that I was a foreigner, and they had several doubts and fears. They offered to find him a nice Indian bride, but DN stood his ground.

He assured me that they would understand with time, that they would come to know I was nothing like the stereotypical westerner they feared me to be. I learned a hard lesson of how much I was judged in India, but it made me want to prove myself even more. I would meet them MORE than half way, by learning Hindi and carefully studying society and culture. I struggled with not being accepted by a culture I was in love with, but found balance between being myself and learning to be like an Indian.

By the time I had to leave, I found it almost impossible to say goodbye to DN and impossible to leave India. Struggles aside, I found a place that truly felt fulfilling to me. It felt like home. I was ready and willing to do whatever it took to make things work between DN and I – but knowing our story would go on, did not make it any easier to leave. It all hit me at once. The realization that I accomplished my biggest dream, made many friends, had an amazing adventure and fell in love. India was everything it was meant to be, even the challenging parts.

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Currently, I am preparing to return to India in less than two weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited! Currently, DN’s parents seem to be more accepting of the idea that we are together, but I hope to strengthen our bond when I return to India. I’m ready to face every challenge. I’m ready to see me and DN’s relationship flourish. I’m ready to embrace India and free my soul once again. To think this all started with a love of the Hindi language, inspired by my first Indian friend many years ago… It’s been an incredible journey so far!

Crystal writes an inspiring blog at MyHindiHeart.com

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