Since she had a wedding that incorporated not only Hindu but also Muslim and Western traditions (she had a ceremony in a flowing white gown), Ramdya was inspired to find out why having a traditional Hindu wedding is so important for her young Hindu friends in the States–especially when those traditions aren’t necessarily historical, they’re cinematic.
Ramdya found that Bollywood –with its glitzy dance sequences and soap-opera-like plots–is the most mainstream form of media that Indian-American Hindus have to draw from in educating themselves about India and the culture and the traditions that are important to their parents.
As a rule, the first generation organizes the wedding, which is largely Hindu, and their children coordinate the American-style reception.
Instead of choosing either India or America, or arriving at a compromise in between the two, this community takes a 'both/and' approach, embracing both cultures simultaneously.
Many of these couples display their Hindu religious background only on important occasions such as the rite of passage that is marriage, and they must negotiate two vastly different cultures and sets of values inside a community that has itself largely predetermined how to mix American and Indian/Hindu elements into this ritual. Khabar Ramdya approaches the subject of love vs arranged marriages in a thoughtful and modern way...
-- Wearing ethnicity : the Indian-American Hindu bridal industry -- Pre-wedding rituals : the both/and model -- The wedding day : improvising on Hindu and American traditions.She provides readers with a window into second-generation Indian-American Hindu couples who are navigating identities through a major life rite of passage, marriage.This book examines how middle-to upper-class second-generation Indian American Hindus negotiate wedding rituals, including the dating and engagement processes.Ramdya's ethnographic fieldwork includes in-depth interviews of engaged couples, observation at their wedding ceremonies, wedding videography and photography, and material culture such as the clothing her participants wore on their wedding day.She explores pre-wedding day topics such as America's Indian-Hindu marriage market and bridal industry, then goes on to describe pre-wedding and wedding-day customs including the engagement party, kanyadan, and baraat.