Ex-beauty queen-turned doctor Ranmeet Jassal is a Sikh and she fell in love with Greek Orthodox construction manager George. Coming from different cultures, their marriage was anything but a simple affair.
28-year-old George, a construction manager, was in Malaysia for work when he met Ranmeet Jassal (27). The way they met was anything but ordinary.
The Australian-born Greek Orthodox was using a dating app to find a suitable match and was showing it to a colleague while browsing through potential matches. That’s when Ranmeet’s photo showed up and his colleague exclaimed, “that’s my niece”.
When George opened Ranmeet’s profile, they ended up being a perfect match.
“He contacted me through the app to ask me for my number and said he was with my uncle and that he wanted to send me his picture. But, I was a little apprehensive giving my number. He then sent me the photo on social media and he was actually with my uncle in a car,” Ranmeet told SBS Punjabi.
Once they met up, George really didn’t waste any time securing her hand, proposing to the ex-beauty queen-turned doctor after just six months.
Ranmeet has her roots in Punjab but she was born and raised in Malaysia where her family has been living for four generations. She was crowned Miss Grand Malaysia in 2016 around the time when she went to India to study medicine.
But she left her family and a career as a doctor in Malaysia to move to Melbourne with George after the two got married. Coming from different cultures, their marriage was anything but a simple affair.
“My parents were actually very happy. They didn’t once question me about it. I think the reason why they didn’t raise any question was because they were quite willing to accept and George. He knew a little bit of Punjabi that he did try to speak, like ‘Sat Sri Akal, ki haal chaal tuhada’, those things won my parents’ hearts over,” she says.
Both always wanted a religious wedding, with George coddling the idea of getting married in a Greek Orthodox Church and Ranmeet dreaming of a Sikh marriage in a Gurudwara, and neither wanting to give up their dream wedding, they decided to have two.
A huge four-day Sikh affair in Malaysia and a large Orthodox ceremony in Melbourne, for which she had to convert.
“In terms of the religion, yes the orthodox are very staunch. But I am trying to find a balance in a Sikh accepting the Orthodox which I’d say is a bit challenging. But my mother would tell me that we are all one. ‘Whether you are born as an Orthodox or a Muslim or whether you are born as a Sikh’. And that made it a lot easier.”
Ranmeet says instead of taking it as a conversion to Orthodox, she took it as “embracing another religion”.
While Ranmeet has been given her Greek Orthodox name, George has also adopted a Sikh name.
Click on the audio player at the top to listen to the interview with Ranmeet Jassal.
The story of Ranmeet and George’s wedding is airing on Marry Me Marry My Family on Tuesday 14 January on SBS and SBS On Demand. The series follows six couples from different backgrounds and their cross-cultural weddings.