On the plane into Dubai, a 15 hour flight, I sat next to a young Islamic man who was returning to India for a couple of months. His name was Moz. He works for a very large computer company and lives in northern Arkansas. He related to me that he loves it there and that there is a large Indian community there. Seems like an unusual place for such a community to exist, but I assume it is made up of employees of this large computer company.

Anyway, when I asked Moz why he was returning home to India, he said he was going home to get married in February. He proudly showed me a picture of his fiancé and a picture of him in his very American (as opposed to Indian-style) wedding suit, which he had purchased just a day before this trip at Men’s Wearhouse.

As we talked, he also related that he’d never met the girl and that it was an arranged marriage. In fact, he said he had never seen or spoken to the girl. We talked about that for a while, and he was surprisingly forthcoming, considering that I am a Christian American, a minister, no less. Maybe he just needed to say it all out loud to someone completely neutral, to hear it said in the 21st century that he actually lives in. We even joked that if he’d wait till March when I get to India, I could meet up with him and perform the ceremony for them (well, I joked, he laughed politely, and perhaps tolerantly).

I asked him how he felt about marrying a complete stranger. He said that he trusted his parents to pick out a girl who was right for him, to know how to pick someone who would match him well. Wow!

So he’s going to marry this girl, this stranger, and immediately whisk her away from her family and her homeland to live in northern Arkansas. I asked if she was a country girl or a city girl, and he said she was a country girl, so she should be able to adjust easily to her new surroundings in Arkansas. Wow! And I thought I was having a little culture shock passing through all these new environments and cultures – major reality check! I’d like to see how she’s doing by about June.

Apparently a good part of the world still does it that way. I guess that’s one way of doing it. This would be an interesting perspective to share during the marriage series that is going on back home in our church right now. Hey, parents, any takers out there? Anyone want to take that kind of responsibility for your sons’ and daughters’ futures? Could solve some problems…could cause others…..