In The Shadows

 

Very little is know about Blindian relationships outside our respective communities. It is not uncommon for our relationships to start as secrets, out of sight from family and friends. 

 

I'm convinced that the number of Black x South Asian couples would double in size — if we could date openly without persecution. Instead, many of our relationships lie hidden in the shadows waiting for the perfect moment to emerge. Despite these challenges, our stories demonstrate how love can defeat cultural and religious stereotypes present in modern-day society. 

In 2001, after spending the last 12 years of my life married to the game of Basketball, I jumped at the opportunity to study abroad. Little did I know, but God planned for me to cross paths with someone who would change my life forever. Not to be cliche, but this woman was different. She was the first Indian woman I'd dated and would later become my wife.

 



I attended University College Dublin for a semester and lived in a seaside suburb called Blackrock. One night while eating dinner, an Indian princess caught my attention. She lived in Ireland when she was younger, following her family's move from Andhra Pradesh. She studied medicine in Scotland and was visiting a childhood friend. Conveniently, her friend lived in my dormitory and introduced us. A spark was lit. 

At the end of the semester, I headed back to the States. We decided to stay in touch. A few months later, we met in Chicago while she attended a family wedding. Call me naïve, but I hoped that I'd meet some of her people while collecting her from the reception of her hotel. We met around the corner. At that time, I was utterly ignorant of how the Aunties would gossip if anyone saw us leaving together.

After a night on the town enjoying each other's company — we decided to make things official. Sure, there were thousands of miles between us, but we’d deal with that later. Neither one of us knew what the future held. I don’t think we cared. It felt right. 

A few months passed, and I told my parents. Having lived alongside South Asian communities in Uganda, they were slightly concerned with whether I’d be accepted. But, when they finally met her in person, they fell in love.

We often discussed the potential of making this long-distance, cross-cultural relationship work. I remember meeting an Indian woman who went to University and started a Blindian relationship. In the end, the girl knew her traditional family would never accept her partner. She ended the long-term relationship and sadly attempted to forget the last few years of her love life. 

I wondered when my now wife would tell her parents about our relationship and started dropping hints that it was on my mind. It felt like she was waiting for the perfect timing. But, not knowing the culture — I had no idea what telling her parents meant.

I’d be lying if I said that doubt never crept into my mind. There was an annoying voice in my head, which questioned whether I was “good enough” for this woman. I felt vulnerable and exposed as if our relationship could end at any time. And, the fact that none of my friends could relate made the situation even more isolating

Another 12-months passed before she was able to mention me to her parents. Her mother stumbled across a photo of mine on her computer. Several questions followed on who I was, but for the most part — her parents tried to avoid the conversation. I think they hoped the relationship would blow over. It never did.


As I reminisce on a defining moment of our lives, I thank my wife — for believing in our love. To this day, I don't think she entirely communicated how much stress she endured.

If I could travel back in time, I'd tell myself that the length of time it took to meet her parents — had nothing to do with the quality of the individual that I was. I'd remind myself that my now wife wasn't your average Midwestern girl from the States. And, regardless of me not being from the same caste or Indian, or studying medicine — I was enough.

 

Interested in reading more stories about Blindian relationships? Read Managing The Guilt of Blindian Relationships. 

 

Jonah Batambuze is a multidisciplinary creative. His work focuses on uplifting underrepresented voices and connecting communities through online & offline activations. As the founder of the #BlindianProject, he is passionate about uniting Black x South Asian communities through nuanced storytelling.







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