When Kasturi Pradeep says 'ki hol', her husband’s family bursts out laughing 'Key hole?' Kasturi, an Assamese, married to a Kanadiga, explains, 'Ki hol means ‘what happened'!
Married for a few years, Kasturi and her husband say understanding and accepting each other’s culture is fun in a marriage of ‘2 States’. But when it comes to seeing the Assamese eat mihidana (crumbled motichoor) with fresh cream, 'Not just my husband, even my other south Indian friends are shocked at seeing the amount of ‘sweetness’ in the dessert. That blissful swirl of motichoor in cream cannot be explained; you just have to experience it,' grins Kasturi.
Angelina from Nagaland is married to a Gujarati. 'I wouldn’t care if I was made fun of. Because one might only comment about my looks and I will unleash a long list about them. But no, my family is very sweet and have been very proudly introducing me to their friends and family. My sisters-in-law and parents are very protective and have become very sensitive about issues of people from the Northeast,' says Angelina. Eyes rolling? Hold it. Angelina’s husband loves her food and she loves their food — as long as she has to eat it just a few times a month.
Loving or disliking a cuisine idli-dosa isn’t about liking or disliking a community. 'As a student who lived in Chennai for several years, I still don’t like idli, but everyone else at home loves them,' says Pratyusha Majumdar who isn’t married yet.
Most couples say cultural differences are a reality but not an issue to be mocked at. Couples married within their own communities say, 'Adapting to each other’s habits, lifestyle and personality is the secret formula for any marriage.'
Shikha Johnson, a Malayalee, says her Bengali mother-in-law loves her more than her son. And she claims it was all effortless. 'I make fun of my husband in his mother’s presence and she chips in to my jokes and adds ‘another peculiar behaviour of Bengali men is… and we would break into laughter. I love their food and my mother-in-law indulges me a lot.' And when its Puja time, 'It’s gifts galore.'
Differences could lead to major fights, especially when the other is looked down upon in poor light. Young men point out they sometimes forget who is from which state at work or amongst friends.
With English and Hindi widely spoken communicating is easier. Jokes aren’t just on Punjabis. The fact is people from Nagaland also crack jokes about themselves. 'It is all about how we accept ourselves and don’t let anyone bully us,' adds Sendhil K.
'My husband is Assamese and I’m Telugu. We are both from the media, so we always had a lot in common. The realisation that the ‘two states’ concept applied to us came up after only we were married and met friends and family from our respective states. We live in the south, so he had to adjust with our language and food, while I got a taste of Assam when we went to his home in Guwahati. On the upside, I love the Assamese and their gentle culture and I’m glad I could experience a relatively lesser known state. Downside? For me, it would be the language, because Assamese love speaking in their mother tongue, and for him it would be the weather as there’s no real winter in the south,' says Yagna Balaji a journalist.