Will You Marry Me?

A Nepali young woman ponders her future in the film Untouchable Love
Oops, I set out writing the ten things I hate about Nepal, and stopped at two.

Really, there is nothing to hate here – or very little – because the rest of it seems like they are goodies disguised as baddies. For example, look at this number eight, or is it seven?

Well, the next bad thing about Nepal is that it’s so easy to get married. So easy.

This is a land where arranged marriages account for over eighty percent of the marriages. What they call ‘love marriages’ is still a strange phenomenon – but gaining momentum. They just can’t understand how you fall in love before getting married. They have a popular saying here, “Marry first, love later” or a more vulgar one among the women goes like this, “The pipe (read penis) entered and love followed”.

Well, being a bidesh (foreigner) I get offered a girl at least once a week. Even girls who have boyfriends who they are going to marry, like this Newari friend of mine, have tried to get me to marry her. It happened last week. I knew she had a boyfriend, who she’s been in love with for at least one year (they fall in love here, but if the parents don’t approve, then marriage won’t happen. So it is possible for one to be in love with someone else for four years, only for her parents to force her to marry another man – who she probably meets for the first time during the wedding – and she can do nothing about it) Those in the cities especially fall in love, the lucky ones go ahead and marry their loved ones, hence they call it ‘love marriage’, and the unlucky ones are forced to marry someone else in an ‘arranged marriage’.

Okay, so this Newari girl (very, very pretty, btw) tells me, “Will you marry me?” Just like that. Out of the blue. We are talking about music, about Anil Singh and Narayan Gopal, and she just says it as though she’s asking me to pass her the salt. At first I think she is humming the lyrics of Anil Singh’s song, “Will you marry me”, but she’s looking at me with her large eyes, enchanting eyes, and I can’t resist the charm I see in her eyes.

“What about your boyfriend?”
“He doesn’t matter. If you want to marry me, let’s go to my parents now and we set a date.”
I know they have special marriage months. If I agree, I can be married the first day of the next marriage month – which is soon. I tell her I’ll give her a reply the next day.
I ask her friend, who says, “She’s thinking about a Visa. She wants to leave Nepal, so if she marries you, she thinks you’ll take her away.”
A young Nepali woman and her love child, a product of inter-caste marriage.
I wonder if Uganda is better than Nepal?
I haven’t yet given her an answer, because she is so pretty, and so tempting, I wish I could post here her photo, but that won’t be so ethical and might ruin her current relationship with her boyfriend, who I have met and is a really nice guy, like most Nepalis, but I will have to find a way of at least getting a kiss from her, if not tricking her into getting into my bed before I say no.
Ooops, no. Not a good idea. I should just tell her no.
But last week, a daughter offered me her mother, who is a widow. She told me “My mother is very sad. She can’t find another man to marry her because she is a widow. Will you be my new father?” (Update: I later wrote a short story about it, which got published in The Kathmandu Post. Read it please. http://www.ekantipur.com/2010/07/04/features/the-young-matchmaker/317795/)
The girl was only twelve years old. Her mother is about thirty, and still very good looking, and I had to use my best language to say no and still remain friends with both of them.
So should I put this among the things I hate about Nepal?

Watch the Trailer for Untouchable Love

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6 thoughts on “Will You Marry Me?”

  1. 8:11amRaquel

    ok, talk to you later smelly man, with no water pipes
    read your blog today


    because i wanted to

    oh, did you say 'read your blog' or "I read your blog' :):) I thought u were telling me to read my blog

    someone sent me an email saying it's full of hate of Nepali's and nepali people, do you think its full of hate for nepalis?

    i read your blog

    i think it is full of hate for nepal

    you were reading the wrong things then :):) or you read it upside down :):)

    what does phrases like "this newari friend of mine", and "the newari is very very pretty"
    have to do with hate?

    if I say I hate being offered girls whenever I visit a home, doesn't mean I hate the country,get it?

    I hate that particular thing about the country, (just as I hate being called a ghost, or being thought of as rich, or being stared at) but not the whole country, or the people – I'm not supposed to love everything about this country!

  2. This was the wake up call :)Why are american's so sensitive to words? I got this email from another american friend, just before I went into the chat above. I've omitted all names.


    Just a thought that is meant to be friendly and helpful….and I hope you will take it this way…

    I looked at your blog the other day (since you sent the link). You are a good writer – it is really interesting to read.

    I wonder if you want to keep your personal/artistic writings separate from your work in the community, however. Much of the focus of your blog seems to be about how much you hate Nepal and Nepalis….and if someone like R or J come across it (or your partners)….they might not feel super excited about having you do a video project in the community.

    Take care,



  3. Being American, it's hard to imagine marrying someone chosen by my parents–and especially marrying someone who I might not have even met. Thinking back, I know exactly who my father would have chosen, and I can say with certainty that I would not have had a happy life married to that man. Yikes.

  4. Hahaha… word nerd, it sometimes is a blessing. The Nepali's have a crude saying "the pipe (penis) entered and love followed". And you've certainly seen those movies where people start by hating each other, and end up falling madly in love with each other :-)) anything is possible.

  5. I think the cultural differences on this subject–make it hard for me to understand the pipe entered and love followed theory. I do think if my marriage was "arranged" I would have been very resentful–but that is because I was brought up to believe in the fairy tales. So interesting to learn what it is like where you are!! Keep the posts coming!! Cheers, Jenn.


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