x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A perfect match: a successful arranged marriage

Meet the Abu Dhabi-based couple Vimal and Amrita Pavangat, who wed last year after being initially matched-up by their fathers.

Jessica Hill speaks to an Indian couple based in Abu Dhabi who are enjoying the fruits of a successful arranged marriage

One couple who have their parents to thank for their marriage are Vimal and Amrita Pavangat, who wed last year after being initially matched-up by their fathers. Vimal was an Abu Dhabi-based petroleum engineer and Amrita had a marketing job in Doha when they were introduced for the first time, almost a year ago. Their parents had arranged a joint family holiday to Doha in order for the pair to meet, then it was left for them to get to know each other and decide if a relationship was possible.

Amrita says that Vimal met her expectations of an understanding husband. “I was very nervous at first, meeting a stranger – I didn’t know what to say to him. But when he started talking, he made me feel comfortable.

“I met him with an open mind. It was not initially love at first sight, but there was definitely an attraction between us. I think it was ­destiny.”

Vimal visited Amrita in Doha every month after the initial meeting and, in between, there were daily Skype and phone calls. “We would always say goodbye by arranging the next call,” Vimal recalls. “Things kept getting better and better. After a couple of months, we let our parents know it was working out, then we got engaged in May. With arranged marriages, you don’t wait long before making that decision, then you start planning the wedding.” The pair wed in Kerala in October.

Growing up in Abu Dhabi, Vimal never expected to enter an arranged marriage. But his life as an engineer meant that he lacked opportunities to meet a suitable wife.

“I had wanted a partner from a similar background who could be a good friend, and I have found that with Amrita. We both love travelling and have holidays planned this year. We also watch the same kind of adventure movies. So we became friends very quickly”.

Amrita joined Vimal in Abu Dhabi a month ago, where she’s been job hunting. Vimal says: “I wouldn’t want her to sit at home and do nothing. There are a lot of opportunities for her here.”

Although arranged marriages are a tradition in Vimal’s family, he knows other couples who met through college or work, so he has seen both sides. “If you can find the perfect partner yourself, that’s great. But in our culture, marriage is about the coming together of two families, not just two individuals. So you need to find someone from a similar background, who suits your families, too. That can be hard.”

“There was some pressure from my family to get married. But I didn’t feel pressured to choose Amrita. Our families introduced us, but marrying her was still my choice.”

artslife@thenational.ae