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Ketki Pradhan, a French teacher in Pondicherry, told me about the time she was holding her German boyfriend’s hand when a group of men started making vulgar gestures.

If romantic love is not confined to the community, which is as narrow as a person’s worldview, it becomes, in the minds of some, a serious threat to the social order.

At times she ignored the comments, but when she did try to fight back, some men found the aggression titillating: “! )” At play here is the stereotype that men from the West are interested in women mainly for sexual gratification.

By extension, the Indian women they are with must be promiscuous.

By the fourth day of our vacation on the islands, we had got used to being stared at.

But when curious glances turned to quizzical looks, we began to realise that we were considered an oddity: A brown woman with a white man. ” one of the two women asked me as soon as my husband left my side.

Such attitudes towards mixed-race couples are just another expression of the intolerance that won’t countenance Hindu women marrying Muslim men.

And a mixed-race couple in which one person is black often brings out the worst kind of racism.

Her experiences in those two years in Mumbai before the couple moved to Los Angeles forever clouded the way Aarya thought of the city in which she had grown up.