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  • I was born in a small town of Sichuan Province in South West China.

    Due to my parents’ work, I moved from place to place since I was 9 years old. In 1996, my family finally settled in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province.

    In 2003, I moved to Montreal, Canada to study.

    This is the story of how I met Parag T, my husband.

    Parag is from Bhopal, a capital city in Central India. The youngest of 3 children in an Indian middle-class family, he works in the telecommunications industry. He was transferred to Montreal for work.

    In 2007, we met in a class at McGill University. I persuaded him to join my team to work for a project together, as I felt he could help the team with his experience.

    The team scored an “A” for our project and consequently, we worked together on other projects as we made a great team. Jokingly, we called ourselves “Team Chindian”.

    We were very comfortable in each other’s company, and soon realised we both liked each other a lot, that we decided to it a serious try.

    Although we were different - Parag was raised as a Hindu and a strict vegetarian – we saw beyond our differences. As a person, Parag is shy and conservative, while I am more outgoing and affectionate. For me, I am expressive in my gestures, and would hold his hand or kiss him in public.

    Being a non-vegetarian, I had no comprehension what vegetarian actually meant. A few months after we started dating, I decided to cook a “vegetarian curry” for Parag in my apartment.

    When I was serving the food on his plate, Parag noticed that I had cooked the curry with chicken and was only dishing out the vegetables on his plate.

    He laughed and then told the real definition of a ‘vegetarian’. It was only then did I realise what I had done – I had assumed vegetarian meant you only ate the vegetables from a meal dish!

    The concept of vegetarianism is quite foreign in China as well. When Parag visited my relatives in China, we went out to have “hotpot”, where you cook your vegetable in a meat-based soup. They didn’t realise that he couldn’t eat the vegetables cooked in meat broth.

    Over time, I have learnt how to cook Indian vegetable dishes and Parag has learnt how meat is important in my diet. On our dining table, we will have a variety of meat and vegetable dishes, so Parag just avoids the meat ones.

    My parents are traditional and knows only what they see on television and were concerned about how Parag would treat me. Even some of my Chinese friends had warned me that he would only use me, and then fly back to marry an Indian wife. I refused to listen to them and I stood by him, and trusted him.

    Things weren’t so rosy on Parag’s side as well.

    His family wanted him to marry someone who is Indian and family-oriented. They initially thought I was Canadian and wouldn’t hold strong family values. It took months of convincing and persuading his patents to accept me.

    On January 2011, we visited India to meet his family. When I met his family at Bhopal airport, I felt a strong connection with them. With tears in our eyes, it felt like a long overdue family reunion.

    Three days later, Parag and I became husband and wife. We had an amazing Indian wedding reception in his hometown with 600 guests.

    Although I am not big on wedding ceremonies, my Indian wedding went smoothly despite not having a wedding planner or rehearsal! The experience was special and unforgettable, and it was something I will remember for the rest of my life.

    This January, it will be our fourth year anniversary and to top it all off, we are expecting a baby girl – our very own Chindian baby!

    The story of Melody & Parag for The Chindian Diaries
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