When Farzana Hussain and Ishaan Puri got married after 10 years of dating, they wed in court. The two now live and work in London and don’t consider religion a part of their identity. They celebrate Eid, Diwali and Christmas. “All celebrations revolve around food and drinks,” says Hussain.
When it comes to love, religion has a way of stretching at the seams, accommodating interfaith couples, distance and a child’s curiosity. This Diwali, see how some families have blended diverse customs, food habits and of course, celebrations.
The lawyers met at work in 2014 and tied the knot in 2018. Yatin was born into a Punjabi Hindu family from Gurgaon, with Sikh lineage on his maternal side. Chowdhary was born to a Muslim family from Lucknow. Neither wanted to convert to the other’s religion. Both also retained their birth names.
Most folks may know Annie Arakkal Marwaha from the radio. She’s the voice behind Afternoons with Annie on 94.3 Radio One. Few might know is that she and her husband, Sameer Marwaha, come from conservative families. Arakkal Marwaha is a Christian from Kerala, Marwaha is a Punjabi. They met at work, hit it off, and dated for about three years before marrying in 2006.
The mix and match developed of its own accord. Arakkal Marwaha took cues from her mother-in-law for rituals. “In Christian communities, a statue of Mother Mary is usually taken ceremoniously from home to home in May and October. It visits our home too. When I’m decorating the statue or the altar, I do a mix of bright red or bright white – colours usually seen during Ganpati. The floral arrangements are also not typically Catholic or Hindu. I have my in-laws over, they pray with us. On Diwali, we meet their family. On Onam, everybody is over at my place,” Arakkal Marwaha says. “I sing the bhajans better than anyone else in the family. My son knows both the main prayers from church and the prayers said during pujas.”
“I always wanted a Catholic wedding, I hate wearing saris,” admits Pradnya Pinto, who was raised in a Hindu home, and works in corporate compliance at the National Stock Exchange. Luckily, she met banker Darrell Pinto, a Christian, in 2005 and had her dream wedding in 2010. “I never wanted a Hindu wedding. There are so many rituals and I find them quite boring. I’m not a religious person, though I do believe in God,” she says.