Does contemporary dating lead to divorce
(Flock changed the names of all the people in the book.)In a conversation with Quartz, Flock explained why the growing agency of Indian women is changing urban marriages and how couples in both India and the US shy away from talking openly about the difficulties they face.
Why did you decide to tell the story of these three couples specifically?
It was like they were living in two different worlds.
In general, there’s obviously change in terms of sex, there’s liberalisation, there are more people having affairs, more people watching pornography, more divorce.
Then there was a woman who was a jewellery seller on the train who fell in love with a Nigerian millionaire and they ran away together.
Those were both really dramatic stories, obviously, but in the end I felt like I wanted to tell the stories of middle-class, ordinary people, because I connected with those people, because they had the same experience as me in some ways.
Were you ever wary of approaching this story as an outsider, an American from a completely different culture?
I’m definitely cognisant that it comes with a certain amount of privilege for me to be able to come and do this project.
One of them was two yogis who jumped over the walls of an ashram to be together.But in the process of living and working in India’s financial capital, Flock met and befriended a number of Indian couples whose approach to love was a lot like what many Hindi films promised: a form of devotion, if not outright obsession.It was a “showy, imaginative kind of love,” she thought, but one that seemed more honest and real, compared to the failing marriages and rampant divorce she knew of in the West.Then there’s Shahzad and Sabeena, a Sunni Muslim couple engaged in a long struggle against impotence and the cultural pressure to have children, and Ashok and Parvati, Tamil Brahmin Hindus who have a relatively late arranged marriage after years of trying to find love on their own.Parvati’s previous relationship with a Christian friend, whom she couldn’t have married, weighs over her new relationship, and depression and the pain of a miscarriage add to the burden.