Afterward, they walked around a fire pit to seal their vows — just one of more than a dozen rituals to ward off negative energy and prove their commitment and unity during the wedding weekend.
In India, the spectacle wouldn’t have caused a second glance.
That’s how it was for Mukundan’s parents, whose marriage was arranged by their parents.
When no one did, a young man got up in front of the class. Heda, an only child, moved at age 7 from India to the Bay Area with her parents, and was an extrovert, singing at age 5, watching Bollywood movies and studying classical Indian music.
When two Silicon Valley twentysomethings get married, they can do it any number of ways — a church wedding, a civil service at City Hall, or even a backyard ceremony with a friend ordained through the Internet.
That’s how they found themselves in bright and bejeweled Indian clothing under a four-pillared tent, where an officiant conducted prayers in Sanskrit (and then translated their meaning in both Hindi and English) for 90 minutes.
I saw the chemistry, and how empathetic we were to other people. I said, ‘I think it’s time.’” “They understood it’s different here,” Heda said of her parents, “and gave me the freedom to look and see what to do for myself.
For me it was about finding someone I had a strong connection with and who shared my morals and perspective on life.” They dated through the end of college and then long-distance before getting engaged.