By Chloe Sweet @ChloeSweet

A CROSS-CULTURAL couple who tied the knot after just two months of meeting share their experiences of overcoming judgement and prejudice

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Videographer / director: Virendra Khanna
Producer: Chloe Sweet, Ruby Coote, Nathalie Bonney
Editor: Florence Kennard

 

Kelly Keyser, 34, and Harjot Arora, 31, were discussing the idea of getting married by their second date.

Originally from a city in Northern India called Saharanpur, Harjot met Kelly while visiting the US and looking for companionship.

Their love story blossomed on the dating app ‘Plenty of Fish’, when he wowed her with his best pick-up line.

He told Barcroft TV: “The line was like, ‘God must have been in a good mood when he made you’.

“It’s kind of cheesy, but it worked.”

Kelly added: “It’s better than what most guys say, or sending inappropriate pictures.

“He likes to say we met in the gym, but that’s a total lie.”

Kelly described their meeting as ‘love at first sight’. So much so, that the pair were hitched less than two months after their first date.

However the swift decision to get married sparked concern from family members on both sides.

After announcing their engagement, some of their closest relatives refused to attend the wedding.

“My brother didn’t support it actually,” Kelly admitted.

“He thought I was crazy. Like, ‘You just met this guy, I don't even know who he is, you're marrying him within two months. You're crazy.’”

Despite not being at his sister’s wedding, her brother has eventually come to accept the relationship now they have been a couple for over a year.

Discussing his own family’s prejudices, Harjot says that differing cultures may also have played a part.

“When I spoke to my dad, like, I can see his main concern was that she's not Indian,” he said.

“He's from a generation where stereotype is inbuilt. So he had that fear, I think he still has that fear that this woman won't be a family person.

“My dad is really not in a mood to accept her in the family.”

Kelly added: “Breaking the news that he just came to visit USA, and then all of a sudden, he's marrying a white chick within a month or two of meeting her, it was quite the shocker.”

Harjot’s mother Nisha told Barcroft TV: “When he went to America, I got his call just two months later saying that he wanted to marry Kelly.

“Me and his father feel that when a marriage is concerned, the couple should give each other time.”

Although Harjot’s father was not present on the wedding day, Nisha flew out to the US to attend and offer support to the couple.

She thinks that reconciliation may be on the cards once they have their first child.

She said: “I feel that when Harjot and Kelly start a family - grandparents aren’t the type to stay angry - it’s possible that everything becomes okay then.”

Soon after the wedding, Harjot’s US visa expired, meaning the couple had to move to his hometown in India while awaiting a green card.

Along with the judgement they face from their families, they have also received negativity in public spaces after moving to India.

Harjot said: “I am very conscious of where I take her.

“I don’t think we openly show our affection to each other in public.”

Kelly added: “People stare all the time, especially if I’m wearing shorts.

“I guess it’s the short hair and the tattoos and the edgy look. It’s totally different.”

While Harjot’s green card application is extended by another four months, Kelly is learning Hindi to better communicate with Harjot’s parents and is embracing her new surroundings.

She said: “When I first came to India, it was a culture shock, like, writing a tough talk was crazy. Seeing cows in the streets was crazy. Just adapting to an entire other lifestyle.

“But the food is amazing, the culture is amazing. 

“Not knowing Hindi and not being able to communicate with people gets frustrating sometimes but I’m used to it now. I love it, but I definitely miss home.”

Their plans for the future involve returning to the US so that Kelly can continue her career in acting and eventually growing a family together.

But for now, the couple are living in the present.

Harjot said: “I don't care about society, I don't care about religion.

“You want someone to enjoy life with you. And people fall in love but grow in love together. I think I can grow with her.”

Kelly added: “He's really loyal. He's crazy fun, like me. We'll go to any country, to any place any event, do anything together.

“He is always there to talk to me, whatever issues that we have.

“What makes our relationship click is just the strong bond and love that we have for each other.”