Saturday, February 22, 2014

India: Rickshaw Driver, 32, Stabs US Wife, 35, to Death, Immolates Self in Agra

According to AFP, rickshaw driver Bunty Sharma, 32, killed his US wife, Arian Willingar, 35, from Pennsylvania, on a deserted roadside in the tourist city of Agra after the couple had an argument late Thursday (February 20), police announced.

After stabbing his wife to death, Sharma immolated himself.

COMMENT: The couple first met when Ms. Willingar visited Agra in July 2013, with friends to see the Taj Mahal, the world famous monument of love.

Despite the huge differences in their cultural backgrounds, romance seemingly blossomed, resulting in their marriage, although soon afterwards suspicions of infidelity emerged.

Sharma accused Arian "of smoking too much, talking to other men and not staying at home," THE INDIAN EXPRESS reported.

At the end of her July trip, Willingar remained in India as her friends returned home and married Sharma in a ceremony held on the rooftop of a hotel located in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal.

Sadly, the hasty romance soon evaporated; in December 2013 the couple separated.

During the course of my adult life in predominantly living abroad, I have seen many mixed marriages flourish as couples age. On the other hand, many others fail largely because the cultural divides are far too dramatic.

As I have learned in my own life, a successful marriage is a challenge even for couples who come from the same culture, let alone those who stem from major educational and societal differences.

The one thing I have learned that is most noteworthy in living abroad is that it is far better to have a "cooling off period," whereby a couple from dramatically different cultures return to their own culture for a period of time.

Such a "cooling off period" enables a couple, in their own culture, to have an opportunity to objectively evaluate whether a mixed marriage is the clearly the "right fit." 

I also recommend that both partners contemplating a mixed marriage visit the country of their future spouse so as to meet respective parents and enable the couple, independently, to confer with family and friends.

If there is any silver lining in this tragedy, it is that the couple never had children together.