Asha Jain doesn’t feel nervous when she’s up on stage, despite not being a professionally trained actress. For starters, she’s performing with her real-life son, Ravi Jain. Also consider that she’s defending her own cultural values and that she’s reenacting an actual conversation she had a few years ago with Ravi, and it’s easy to see why she’s in her element.
“A Brimful of Asha” is a stage play created by Ravi Jain, a multi-award-winning actor, director and producer. Part of the High Performance Rodeo festival, the play portrays an intergenerational clash surrounding the issue of marriage. Asha, originally from New Delhi, believes in the importance of marriage and that arranged marriages can be successful. Born and raised Canadian Ravi, on the other hand, isn’t in a rush to get married at all.
We spoke with Asha to learn more about her own marriage, why marriage is important to her and to get some relationship advice.
Asha Jain on Falling in Love
Asha’s firm belief in the success of arranged marriages, and Ravi’s opposition to his parent’s involvement in his love life, is shown throughout the play. When it comes to falling in love, Asha doesn’t believe it is between just two people. Asha explains that in her culture, “qualities aren’t really that important. Rather, the person should be very family-oriented. That’s what our culture is. We marry with the family and into the family.”
The Secret of a Successful Relationship
Asha’s parents chose her husband for her, a normal occurrence in Indian culture. Despite only meeting her husband two days before the wedding, she says her relationship has always been fulfilling, happy and surprising in a good way.
Her secret to a successful relationship? “It requires a lot of giving and sacrifice, from both individuals, not from just one person. Each side has to give in from time to time. Any marriage can be worked out.”
The play’s relationship guru also says, “I always tell Ravi that he should treat his wife very nicely and she should treat him nicely. Then there will be no problem. Put her before you and you before herself, then there’s no reason to have fights.”
Preparing Mouthwatering Indian Food
Asha explains that in Indian culture, food and family are inextricably connected, which is why the kitchen setting was chosen for the play. Asha says, “In our culture there is always a lot of food. If you go visit somebody, there will always be a lot of snacks served. I think that’s how they show their love and relationship to families.”
Like a family gathering, the play’s setting makes audiences feel as though they’re invited into the Jain’s home to discuss an important issue. In “A Brimful of Asha,” audiences aren’t seeing a show: they’re helping sort out an important familial and cultural dispute.