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To Punjab For Love

To Punjab For Love

Interracial And Intercultural Marriage: Punjabi Man and Australian Woman

About

Meet Mandeep and Tanya! Mandeep is Punjabi, and he was born and raised in India. His wife Tanya was born in Australia and raised in a multicultural family ( her father is Australian, and her mother is Finnish). Tanya is also the creator of the blog, The White Punjabi Bride, where she shares her experiences as a foreign bride that married into the Punjabi Culture. Currently, Mandeep and Tanya reside in Australia, and she is pregnant with their second son.

Tanya, their son, and Mandeep.

How They Met And Fell In Love

Tanya and Mandeep met five years ago on a dating website while he was living abroad in Australia. They immediately hit it off and began dating, and soon after, they moved in together. 

Mandeep would eventually have to leave for India, so when the day arrived, Tanya decided to take a leap of faith for love and accompanied him to Punjab, India, where they lived with his family. A few months later, Mandeep’s family began to organize a Big Fat Punjabi Wedding for Mandeep and Tanya.  

How Did Mandeep Tell His Parents About Tanya

Tanya recalls Mandeep making the long-distance phone call to India so that he could break the news about their relationship. They had been dating a couple of months by this time, and he still had not told his parents that he wasn’t with his ex-girlfriend because he was anxious about their reaction. Mandeep was afraid that his parents would ask him to opt for an arranged marriage because he was well past the age he was expected to settle down. 

Mandeep’s parents had assumed that the girl he had been dating would be the one he would marry. Therefore they would be shocked and concerned at the thought that he left her.  For this reason, when they found out about Tanya, they begrudgingly accepted them dating and warned Mandeep that this was his last chance. So while they weren’t specifically against their relationship, they needed time to warm up to Tanya and to see that their son wasn’t just fooling around with his life.

How Was Meeting Mandeep’s Family For The First Time

Tanya had just survived Brisbane’s longest flight to Delhi, India, with a 12-hour layover in Singapore. And after she arrived in Delhi, she had a 10-hour drive to the northern parts of Punjab, where her in-laws lived. Therefore, Tanya was exhausted and emotionally drained and didn’t particularly want to meet the entire family the minute they arrived. However, Mandeep’s family were all so excited to meet her. His entire extended family waited at her in-law’s home for her, despite it being midnight. 

Mandeep couldn’t understand Tanya’s fatigue, which caused an argument between them when they finally arrived at his family’s home. As a result, Tanya walked in teary-eyed, and everyone was so confused as to what was going on. They thought maybe she didn’t want to be there. Nonetheless, despite a horrible first impression, Mandeep’s family accepted her as apart of the family. 

Tanya and Mandeep.

How Was Meeting Tanya’s Family For The First Time

Thankfully, Mandeep meeting Tanya’s family wasn’t as dramatic. Tanya’s parents were so thrilled that she was getting married that they welcomed him with open arms. Still, it did take the older generation of her family a little more time to warm to Mandeep. Their first impressions were, why would Tanya bother going through the hassle of marrying outside her own culture when there are plenty of single Australian men available.

What Obstacles Have They Encountered As An Interracial And  Intercultural Couple

 Tanya and Mandeep’s biggest challenge has always been communication because it can quickly become lost in translation due to cultural context.   And while they have been married for many years, they still misconstrue what the other is trying to say at times, which leads to some heated arguments. 

How Are They Working Through The Communication Issue

Mandeep and Tanya both understand that many arguments are the result of a misunderstanding. So they try to remember that love can be expressed in many ways and words are just one of those ways. They try not to get caught up in what is said and learn to pick up on the other queues such as body language and cultural context. Working on their communication is something they both admit is easier said than done.

Tanya and Mandeep.

The Wedding Tips They Wish They Knew Beforehand

Even though, Mandeep and Tanya’s wedding day was a day to remember, it still holds many regrets for her. Tanya didn’t know much about the culture and traditions at the time. Punjabi weddings are customarily organized by the family so being able to understand the traditions would have allowed Tanya to make more informed choices on her wedding day. Such as? Not listening to Mandeep when he said she would only need an hour to get ready on their big day, as this is how long it usually takes her to get ready for special occasions. As a result, Tanya was running extremely late all day long, and she missed out on participating in several rituals, which she now wishes she had the chance to experience. 

What They Love About Being In An Interracial And Intercultural Marriage

Tanya and Mandeep believe that being in an interracial and intercultural relationship means that you continue to learn new things about your partner’s culture for life. Understanding every aspect of such a rich culture as the Indian culture is almost impossible as it is so diverse. Traditions vary between demographics and family; therefore, you can experience an entirely new culture by traveling to the next town or state. 

How They Are Raising Their Kid(s) To Know About Both Of Their Cultures

Although Tanya was raised in a multicultural family, her family didn’t blend cultures, and she was, in essence, raised Australian. Tanya and Mandeep want their children to experience both of their cultures. Thereby as a family, they celebrate Australian and Punjabi festivals each year and try to blend other daily traditions and customs into their lifestyle. 

Tanya, their son, and Mandeep.

What They Wish They Knew About Blending Cultures 

Blending cultures as a multicultural family is a challenge that they continue to face each day.  Now that Mandeep and Tanya have a second child on the way, many conversations about how to raise their son are resurfacing once again. Many of the concerns that they initially thought were important to them turned out to not be as big of a priority as the smaller concerns. Since the Indian Culture is so rich in history and holds many traditions, it is difficult for Mandeep to compromise when he believes that every aspect of his culture is important. Which it is. However, so is Tanya’s culture. Yet because Tanya’s culture isn’t as rich in history as Mandeep’s, he tends to consider that her culture has no culture.

For this reason, it can be difficult for them to find a happy medium on some aspects of both cultures. To overcome this, they are both working to prioritize which parts of their culture are more important so that they can come to a compromise.  

Tanya and Mandeep.

How They Are Working Through The Parenting Conflicts Due To Culture

It’s only natural to expect that there will be parenting conflicts due to different cultural upbringings. One of their biggest challenges is their parenting styles. Mandeep believes in being authoritarian, however Tanya believes in a balanced approach. As a child, Mandeep grew up in a home with a strict father, and this is the norm for parenting in many parts of India. Similarly, Tanya’s parents were also strict, but she is opposed to this parenting style. She believes that there are advantages to each parenting style that can be adopted so that you have a balanced approach to parenting. Therefore, this is a challenge that they encounter daily and approach each situation as it arises. 

What did you think about Mandeep and Tanya’s story? Find them on Instagram @thewhitepunjabibride! Tanya has also written an Ebook called the Ultimate Guide for The Foreign Bride To Punjabi Weddings! Go check it out! 

Want to share your story? Write to us at growingupgupta@gmail.com

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