I was so excited when I was contacted by Mid Day, a top Indian tabloid paper for a question/answer session about my blog and MIM. I spent a good amount of time constructing my answers, and was a wee bit disappointed when only a sliver of what I said was published, and not exactly in my own words, but I guess that's how journalism goes, eh? The article in its entirety is still too cute and oh so colorful.
Because I spent a good amount of time on it, I'd like to publish it in full here on my blog. I've always wanted to do a question/answer post anyways so it all works out in the end! Other gori's were featured in the article as well. I love our little community of gori girls! <3
Thanks Mid-Day and the assistant editor, Sowmya for the shout out!
Click "Continue Reading" to see the article and read my original answers in full.
My Indian Love: MDG & MIM
1) Where exactly are you based and what do you do?
I live in Northeastern, Ohio, USA and I am a writer and a singer. I am just about to begin a six month singing contract with Carnival Cruise Lines and I hope to continue blogging from there.
2) What was the thought behind the blog? Why did you start it and when? What has the response been like?
I started the blog in May of 2009 and in all honesty it was initially to make money through Google Adsense. I noticed other popular bloggers were bringing in revenue through utilizing such ads. I read books and researched the best ways to make money from blogging and the most important advice was to blog about a subject you are most passionate about. That, for me, was my Indian man or, MIM as he is known on the blog, and our intercultural relationship.
After creating the blog and posting the ads, I found them to be intrusive and quickly took most of them down, but at the same time I was discovering the pure joy I felt while blogging. It soon became not a way to make money, but a passion of mine.
The response has been both good and bad. When you begin a blog, you wait patiently for it to catch wind and for more visitors to start coming. In the beginning, I would receive a few hundred visitors a month. Once I moved to India this past August, I received over 24,000 visitors in that month alone. But with more visitors brings more differing opinions and often times harsh comments, many which hurt me. It has definitely made me grow a thicker skin, though, and I also have many lovely readers who continue to take the time to reach out and support me.
3) What has been your most memorable 'Indian' experience since you got into this relationship? Why?
Nothing could be more memorable then actually going to India. I had never been to a country so different from my own. If it hadn’t been for meeting MIM, I don’t think I would have ever gone to India; I never gave it much thought before. I grew so much by going. I simply will never forget the experience and will never take living in the USA for granted again, either.
4) Can you give us a couple of anecdotes about being with an Indian man that people may not have read on the blog?
There are a lot of firsts in our relationship. Like the first time I made MIM pancakes, and made them so thick the middle wasn’t cooked all the way through. He ate half of them before I walked over and discovered they were raw in the middle. The poor thing didn’t have the heart to tell me, or else didn’t know that’s not how they’re supposed to be!
MIM and I are big teasers. We love to joke around with each other. He began saying “chup” (shut up, or, be quiet) to me so frequently that I began saying it at home around my family. Now my entire American family says “chup” to one another. (Lovingly of course!)
5) A woman in a relationship like yours must have to deal with some amount of cultural stereotyping..both in India and abroad. What is that like and how do you deal with it?
I’ve always been an open-minded person, but I didn’t realize until meeting MIM how many of my close friends and family weren’t. My parents were very skeptical when I told them about MIM. Not only because he is from India, but also because he is a Muslim. My family and I went through a lot of rough patches before we got to where we are today. Now, my parents love reading my blog - they are my biggest fans – and MIM’s gentle and loving nature has ridden them of any stereotypes they may have had in the past.
As for my friends, some continue to give me a hard time due to their ignorance of the country and religion. They imagine I will be forced to wear a burqa, or taken away to live in India, and other such stereotypes.
On the other end, being a white American woman, I have to deal with the stereotypes that I am unfaithful, controlling, lack character, and doomed to get a divorce. It’s hard to change someone’s mind through words; it takes actions. I continue to hope as people get to know MIM and I better, these stereotypes will dissolve over time.
6) Where does the blog go from here? Any other similar bloggers you'd like to mention?
It’s funny you ask, because MIM and I are currently experiencing difficulties and we have agreed to take some time apart. I returned from India very overwhelmed and decided I needed to think more seriously about the type of life I want or am willing to have. I am struggling over such things as having a Muslim wedding and raising our children Muslim. I felt I needed to step back and reevaluate if I really want to spend my life with someone so different from myself, my family, and my traditions. India has become a part of who I am, and I continue to enjoy blogging with it in mind even during our time apart. I hope to continue for as long as I can, or as long as people keep reading!
I was initially influenced by two bloggers: GoriGirl and Diary of a White Indian Housewife. But if you go to my blog, you will see a list of many other intercultural relationship blogs I read daily. I think we all have become a family, and each blogger supports the other as we each muddle our way through our intercultural relationships.
7) Can you give us some tidbits about following some Indian customs? What's that like?
When I first arrived in India I stayed with a newly married couple and their in-laws. I soon noticed the mother cooking and serving, but always eating last, once everyone else had finished. This was so hard for me to understand and it made me uncomfortable. Growing up in the US, we all eat together as a family. Being a woman, I didn’t like this certain custom; although I have since been informed it doesn’t happen in all families.
8.) What does your husband think of the blog, and what do you think you've learnt from this kind of inter cultural relationship?
MIM loves reading my blog. In fact, he designed the beautiful heading. He’s always given me the freedom to write what ever it is I want to write and he’s always there for support and a shoulder to cry on when I’ve been hurt by a comment.
I’ve grown so much from being in love with an Indian man. I’ve become a better person, and I’ve learned so much about a culture and a religion and a country I never knew anything about before. Most importantly, I’ve been able to go deep within an Indian family and find the love that abounds there, and realize the world over; we are much the same: we want the best for our families and for those we love.
9) Anything else you'd like to add?
It may have come as a shock to readers here and on my blog that MIM and I decided to take time apart. I believe this is a crossroads many intercultural relationships come to. There are a lot of compromises in relationships, but there are even more so in an intercultural one. We’re working on our compromises. Better we take this time apart now to reevaluate instead of it affecting us in the future after marriage and children. I always try to remain honest with my readers, so they understand that with the excitement of an intercultural relationship also come a lot serious, life altering decisions.