To all the American daughters of South Asian immigrants: Have you ever felt that you just can’t be a Good Girl? Your parents and South Asian community have likely tried drilling in you that Good Girls follow the path of academic excellence, a well-paying job (doctor, lawyer, or engineer), marriage to a well-paid Desi man (preferably a doctor), and then a happy house with kids. Obedience to parents, no dating (at least not while a student), and virginity until marriage are absolutes.
A short documentary on India's menstruation man, Arunachalam Muruganantham, who wore an artificial uterus, was left by his wife for five years, and was called a pervert by the neighbours – all in his pursuit to create cheap yet effective sanitary napkins for women who cannot afford safe menstrual hygiene products.
They were stranded together on an island, the only two English-speaking writers at a conference (this somehow happens in Berkeley). They have wild and instant intimacy of the kind where you tell each other everything. It’s the kind of friendship in which you want to be together all the time, the world is not enough, the day is not long enough to give you all the time you want with your friend.
In the debates around the need to expand the rights that accrue through marriage to same-sex couples, what is often lost are the forms of legal recognition of relationships not in the nature of marriage or blood. As the nature of traditional relationships changes across India, with more people opting to live singly or with friends, we really need to begin thinking seriously about new forms of legal recognition.