A Swede Meets the Indian Family

We did it and we survived! The poor little Swede came to India to meet my parents, grandmother, the cousins and aunts and uncles. Being a true Westerner and my family (parents and I) being part Westerners (lived in the US, ethically Indian), it was an experience.

In some ways I expected more drama with a white boy running around meeting Indian families. But in some very Swedish way, it just wasn’t a big deal or stressful to him. He just went with the flow and didn’t seem to mind. Quite different from American boyfriends I would say; many are scared to meet families.

The trip was packed with food, a lot of it. It is a staple of Indian culture to offer snacks, meals, drinks, whatever to guests. Him being the guest, everyone was out to impress him in an ever so subtle way. The good news was that he enjoyed most of the food (who doesn’t love Indian food?!) but the bad news he was stuffed to death; like a poor turkey ready to go into the oven at 400F for three hours. Strange as it sounds, relatives called my parents saying how they were impressed that the Swede ate Indian food AND liked it. Shocking!

I always figured my family would confuse Sweden with Switzerland; everyone does. However, they were confused that he was even Swedish, most thought he was American. Poor guy, he had to do a lot of explaining that he was not American and in fact came from a small little country in northern Europe.

What did we learn from our trip to the East?

  • Do not tell relatives that you are living together. Changing subjects always works best in case such a situation arises.
  • Do not offer too many details on how you met. It opens you up for more questioning.
  • Sleeping in the same room is not possible. It’s not a big deal to sleep apart for a week, so don’t make it a big deal.
  • Someone will have a “talk” with the boy. In this case, it was my mom.
  • Brown comes in a package. Reminds of the very failed UPS slogan: What can Brown Do for you? anyhoo…
    That’s right, you can’t just date an Asian girl or guy, you are tied to the whole family. Accept that the family will always be around and life will be easier. For example, my parents call me almost everyday.  At one point it used to be everyday (no joke, honestly) but now they’re down to 3-4 times a week.  How they afford to make a cheap call to me is totally beyond me.  And considering that I’m too lazy to find a card and make acheap call to India, is well being a bum.
  • “There are expectations to uphold.” In no overt way, Indian mothers can tell you exactly what they want in a pretty gift wrapped message. Make no mistake though, these statements should not be treated lightly. For our poor little Swede, this statement means he better get serious about the marriage bandwagon.

11 thoughts on “A Swede Meets the Indian Family”

  1. good insight…I take back my comments in the previous post…seems like you are Indian too …welcome to the family…

  2. Lol, my Swede’s experience in India was quite similar! Everywhere we went, people would ask him where he was from and he’d say “Sweden”, and they’d nod or give a little head-wiggle and be like, “Ahh, Sweet-zer-lund!” I found it quite hilarious! :P

    And I cannot possibly agree more with you when you say that when you marry an Indian, you marry the entire family! Thankfully, my boyfriend understands that. He’s very perceptive and sensitive about India and all her very many invisible intricacies :)

    “There are expectations to behold”: My darling snob of a mother wants me to marry a Chartered Accountant or an Engineer. Every Indian mother’s dream son-in-law, I dare say. To fulfill this little wish of hers, my ridiculously sweet boyfriend has decided to be just that. A son-in-law (of course!) but a Chartered Accountant too! :)

    Nonetheless, I know for sure that even after I am married to my Swedish Chartered Accountant, there will always be this niggling feeling at the back of her (and everyone else’s) mind – “there’s bound to be a divorce soon!” :P

    Oh well, everyone’s in for a surprise then :)

  3. Indianbelle – Amazing!!

    My parents hoped for engineer or doctor. Thank god Porbjörn is a programmer, acceptable and well paid. Oh, and of course he has to have a Master’s degree.

    It’s wonderful that your boyfriends understands the “marry the family” idea. Mine does as well, I hope that life then will be easier in the long run.

    I forgot to ask, but are you guys engaged? Or sambo? Or whatever? =)

  4. Hey Sapphire,

    We’re not engaged yet (we’re still in our late teens). I don’t know what sambo is but yes, we do want to get married (only after we both obtain our respective Master’s degrees!).

    Are you married yet? If not, I hope you’ll post a post (with pictures!) about it :P

  5. Haha, loved the “what we learned” list! My Swede is coming to visit in 16 days, and my mom asked if he was staying with me. “Yes.” And because she knows he’s tall, she made some comment about how my fold-out futon won’t fit him. “Oh well” is what I said. What I silently thought was “Do you really think he’s going to sleep in another room?”

    Wow, the parents are gonna flip when I tell them I’m moving to Sweden, and I can only hope they don’t start asking questions about where I plan to live.

  6. Sapphire – its reasurring to hear about your experiences introducing your swede to your family. Im British Indian with a Swedish boyfriend. Weve been together about 3 and a half years.

    Love the advice, im sure itll come in handy! Poor guy studies history, Im sure my parents want me to marry a doctor/ lawyer/chartered accountant ^^.

  7. Hey!

    No wonder that American guys are afraid of meeting the parrents, without knowing anyting other than what i have seen on TV (should be a typical swedish trait), the American father in law seems f*ing scary with them testing and making sure that the man can support her and stuff. Swedish families are from the beginning hoping to get a long with her boyfriend and working hard to do so.

  8. Wow, i’m Indian and dating a Swedish girl. I hope to introduce her to my family sometime next year, this post shows me that there’s hope for her to survive the experience! Thanks a million!

  9. @Virus – Good luck!!! I’m sure it will all go well but until then be a total nerve wracking experience. ;-)

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