Nervous groom meets reluctant bride: WSJ on US-India ties

Monday, November 8, 2010

WASHINGTON - The US is a nervous groom and India a reluctant bride and the visit of President Barack Obama was “butterflies in the stomach time” as both sides get to know each other in an “arranged marriage” that was yet to blossom into love.

The highly regarded daily Monday said tongue-in-cheek of the Obama visit to India Nov 6-9: “In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, we heard several politicians say there was no reason to worry about the chaos, it would all come together like an Indian wedding - joyously and at the last minute.

It conjured a matrimonial imagery “of a nervous groom, the US, being sent to an arranged marriage with a somewhat reluctant bride, India”.

“Consider (then US president) Bill Clinton as the man who introduced this power couple in 2000…George W. Bush acted as the friendly auntie who moved things forward to the point where an engagement was sealed with the promise of great things to come.

“Now, with Mr. Obama arriving in India with a vast US guest list - probably the largest wedding delegation ever to leave US shores - there is a little reticence on both sides as this arranged marriage actually comes close to fruition.”

Calling it “butterflies in the stomach time”, the daily said that “the groom is nervous, a little distracted, seems to have a lot on his mind, doesnt want to put a foot wrong”.

“The brides family, in contrast, hopes hell just get straight to the point. Is he going to mention that ugly business that everyone is gossiping about: Isnt he sort of seeing someone else just up the road from a clan that this family cant stand? Is he going to renounce her publicly, as he should for heavens sake, if hes about to tie the knot? When will he ditch her and declare his undying love for India?”

It went on to say that “the big delegation of guests shows they are willing to do their part to bring the two families together. There is a grand exchange of presents, to the tune of $14.9 billion.”

“All very positive, a good start to the celebration from that standpoint.”

The daily wraps up, saying: “We expect this to be like many arranged marriages: One that starts positively but with some misgivings and nervousness on both sides.”

“It is only over time, as the couple gets to know each other better, builds trust, steps in helpfully at awkward moments, and shows signs of genuine affection and mutual interest that they can declare that most delightful and optimistic of romantic phrases: `First it was marriage, then it was love’.

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