Ever since I saw "Monsoon Wedding" -- Mira Nair's visually stunning film about an arranged marriage in India -- ten years ago, I have longed to be a guest at such an affair. I had the opportunity, at last, this past December. My husband, Kiran, was born in Hyderabad (though he grew up in Long Island), and we were invited to attend his cousin's week-long marriage celebration.
This wedding was an arranged marriage, which is still typical in India. The groom was 25 years old, the bride 23; both were Muslim. They had met but once, briefly, at a relative's home. Evidently, it is common these days for the bride and groom to sneak phone calls and text messages to one another, or at least steal glimpses of each other's Facebook pages, prior to the wedding. But according to family members, these two kept to the no-contact rule. They were strangers on their wedding day.