Monday, February 28, 2011
Jazz In Love by Neesha Meminger: Interview
I was able to interview Deesh, Jazz's mom, from Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger.
What was it like having an arranged marriage?
I didn't think anything of it. It is what everyone does and has done for . . . centuries, really. It was exciting - we prepared for the lengthy festivities which were very vibrant and elaborate, and we anticipated family coming from all corners of the world for those weeks. Food was prepared far in advance, with all the villagers joining in. My marriage was a life-changing event that I will never forget for the rest of my life. My partner was chosen with the utmost care by my parents who adored me and had my best interests in mind. They had my absolute trust and I knew, without doubt, that they would choose the best match for me.
Coming from a different culture, why does it matter where Auntie is placed?
It is simply a matter of grammar in Punjabi. The relationship is place after the name of the person. Therefore, Kinder Auntie, Mandeep Massi, Daljeet Mama . . . the second part of all of these is the relationship. "Massi" is mother's sister, "mama" is mother's brother, there is a different name for father's elder brother (thaia), father's younger brother (chacha), mother's parents (nana/nani), father's parents (dada/dadi), and so on. This way, whenever you mention a person's name, the relationship is immediately evident.
How proud are you of your daughter and her academic achievements?
It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. She is the reason for all of my husband's and my decisions over the years. She is the reason we work so hard, the reason we left India to begin with, and the reason we continue to work as hard as we do. She is the absolute light of our lives.
I know how hard it is to stand up for your religious views, how do you handle it?
My faith is the rock upon which I stand. It is what guides me and shows me a better way to live in the world. I do not judge others for their beliefs, and I ask only the same in return. It is true, as Jassy says, that men have distorted much of the divine teachings to suit their purposes, but that does not take away from the wisdom of the ages. I need only go back to the holy teachings to feel connected again, to remember that I am here for a purpose larger than any I could possibly imagine. And whether anyone agrees with me is irrelevant. Faith and politics and science are not separate - they are all parts of the same whole. I will not argue with someone who is set in their beliefs (as I don't like to be argue with, either), but I will state my views and opinions when necessary.
What would you think of Jazz and Jeeves becoming a couple?
Jassy could never be interested in Jeevan! They are too close, like brother and sister. He is a lovely boy, from a respectable family, and if Jassy were to approach me with this, I would certainly question her - because, you know young people--they think they know of love and make far too much of it when they have not even completely experienced "like" . . . understand?
They don't know that it is often better to find a mate who is a partner more than someone who makes one faint with desire . . . you understand, heh-na? So I would want to make certain that Jassy was clear in her reasons for wanting a particular match. There are so many factors, beyond initial attraction, that go into building a strong, long-lasting marriage. Her father and I would do our very best to find as perfect a match as possible for Jassy. It would devastate us if she were unhappy.
Thanks so much for interviewing with me Deesh!
Thank you, Nicole - the pleasure was mine.