Chris, her American boyfriend, had accompanied her.

One day when walking on a street in Pune, Neha’s hometown, a biker slowed down near the couple and almost hit her. She said she sensed a mix of repressed fury and lust in the man’s tone, when he hissed back: “I will f*** you.” To many Indians, the idea of a mixed-race couple is alien, repulsive even.

Major bonus points if you suggest seeing a Hindi movie together. Bhangra is the percussion-heavy music that is featured in most Bollywood films.

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But when curious glances turned to quizzical looks, we began to realise that we were considered an oddity: A brown woman with a white man. ” one of the two women asked me as soon as my husband left my side.

“My husband,” I replied after a while, snapping out of savouring my first-ever snorkelling session.

An Indian woman who has got a white man must be enlightened, even by complete strangers.

A lawyer whose services I was seeking for a few marriage-related formalities started by giving me a sermon on running a background check on the man I wanted to marry because “you never know how these s are.” I didn’t call on her again.

“While talking about Akbar’s many wives of different faiths, he cited our marriage as an example,” said Divya.

“I found it out of place since he was talking about Akbar having a good time with many women.” Mixed-race couples often have to deal with scepticism about their relationship masquerading as concern about cultural differences.

And there’s the drive towards conformity: The ugly head that raises itself at the sight of anything that dares to deviate from the norm.

Milan resident Divya Kapahi was visiting Jodhabai’s palace in Agra with her Romanian husband when their tour guide made a comment that angered her.

“One of them grabbed my other hand and held it very tightly for a few seconds, and ran away,” Pradhan recalled.