David Patrick Reynolds of Kensington last saw his bride Renu, 23, when they went to break the news of their elopement to her father, an employe of the Embassy of India. They hoped to receive the family's blessing.

Instead, P.K. Malhotra, his wife and son reacted violently, Reynolds said. They locked a sobbing, struggling Renu into a bedroom, shoved Reynolds and two friends out of the Silver Spring apartment, tore up the marriage certificate and retreated behind the solid wall of diplomatic immunity.

"We knew they would take it rough," Reynolds, 26, said yesterday at the home of a friend, alternately crying and shaking his head in disbelief, "but we didn't think they'd go wild. We just thought they'd disown her."

Reynolds fears that the family, which has been here four years, will try to send his wife back to India, a threat they had previously used when they thought her behavior was too Americanized, he said.

In tradition-bound India, parents often arrange marriages for their children. The Malhotras, who wear native dress, had warned their daughter, who favors T-shirts and blue jeans, that they expected her to marry an Indian of their choice, according to Reynolds.

The couple met 2 1/2 months ago at Computer Systems Inc. in Beltsville, where they work as computer operators, and immediately launched an intense, secret courtship with the aid of friends and coworkers.

Renu Malhotra had never told her parents she was dating Reynolds because she knew they did not want her to become involved with an American, Reynolds said.

Yesterday, Reynolds was at a loss on how to cope with the situation, he said.

P.K. Malhotra is an economic adviser at the Embassy of India and has diplomatic immunity for himself and his apartment, said Montgomery County police, who were called to the home Friday night by Reynolds and his friends. Police spokesman Cpl. Phillip Caswell said the police could not get involved because the daughter was in no physical danger.

The uniformed division of the Secret Service, which handles embassy matters, also visited the Malhotra apartment Friday night at the behest of the police department, Caswell said.

A spokesman for the Secret Service confirmed yesterday that "there was an incident" but refused to comment further. The State Department also declined to comment; a spokesman at the Embassy of India said he was unaware of the situation.

Reached by telephone at his home yesterday, P.K. Malhotra refused to discuss the incident. "It is a private matter," he said politely, "and we will handle it in our own way."

Asked if his daughter was at home, Malhotra replied, "Very much so." He said his daughter could not go to the phone.

Julie Kaplan, 23, of Beltsville, a coworker of the couple, said she picked up the bride-to-be at her home Friday morning on the pretense that the two women were going to a spa for a workout. She often helped the couple get together in similar ways, she said.

"They were very happy together," Kaplan said yesterday. "It was obvious to anyone that they were in love."

Renu Malhotra and Reynolds were married at the Montgomery courthouse in Rockville at 1 p.m., with Kaplan as the maid of honor, coworker Rainer Esders as the best man, and Martin Duvall, a supervisor at the computer firm, as another witness.

The bridegroom wore a navy blazer and cowboy boots; the bride wore a white lace and silk party dress that she had smuggled out of her home.

The wedding party took snapshots and enjoyed a leisurely dinner at a Rockville restaurant. Then the newlyweds, accompanied by Esders and Duvall, visited the Malhotras.

"We tried to talk Renu into just calling them on the phone," Esders, 26, said yesterday. "She was very nervous, but she wanted to show her respect to them."

According to Duvall, Esders and Reynolds, the following scene unfolded in the Malhotra living room:

Renu Malhotra spoke to her Newlyweds Find East Is East, West Is West By Sue Anne Pressley Washington Post Staff Writer

David Patrick Reynolds of Kensington last saw his bride Renu, 23, when they went to break the news of their elopement to her father, an employe of the Embassy of India. They hoped to receive the family's blessing.

Instead, P.K. Malhotra, his wife and son reacted violently, Reynolds said. They locked a sobbing, struggling Renu into a bedroom, shoved Reynolds and two friends out of the Silver Spring apartment, tore up the marriage certificate and retreated behind the solid wall of diplomatic immunity.

"We knew they would take it rough," Reynolds, 26, said yesterday at the home of a friend, alternately crying and shaking his head in disbelief, "but we didn't think they'd go wild. We just thought they'd disown her."

Reynolds fears that the family, which has been here four years, will try to send his wife back to India, a threat they had previously used when they thought her behavior was too Americanized, he said.

In tradition-bound India, parents often arrange marriages for their children. The Malhotras, who wear native dress, had warned their daughter, who favors T-shirts and blue jeans, that they expected her to marry an Indian of their choice, according to Reynolds.

The couple met 2 1/2 months ago at Computer Systems Inc. in Beltsville, where they work as computer operators, and immediately launched an intense, secret courtship with the aid of friends and coworkers.

Renu Malhotra had never told her parents she was dating Reynolds because she knew they did not want her to become involved with an American, Reynolds said.

Yesterday, Reynolds was at a loss on how to cope with the situation, he said.

P.K. Malhotra is an economic adviser at the Embassy of India and has diplomatic immunity for himself and his apartment, said Montgomery County police, who were called to the home Friday night by Reynolds and his friends. Police spokesman Cpl. Phillip Caswell said the police could not get involved because the daughter was in no physical danger.

The uniformed division of the Secret Service, which handles embassy matters, also visited the Malhotra apartment Friday night at the behest of the police department, Caswell said.

A spokesman for the Secret Service confirmed yesterday that "there was an incident" but refused to comment further. The State Department also declined to comment; a spokesman at the Embassy of India said he was unaware of the situation.

Reached by telephone at his home yesterday, P.K. Malhotra refused to discuss the incident. "It is a private matter," he said politely, "and we will handle it in our own way."

Asked if his daughter was at home, Malhotra replied, "Very much so." He said his daughter could not go to the phone.

Julie Kaplan, 23, of Beltsville, a coworker of the couple, said she picked up the bride-to-be at her home Friday morning on the pretense that the two women were going to a spa for a workout. She often helped the couple get together in similar ways, she said.

"They were very happy together," Kaplan said yesterday. "It was obvious to anyone that they were in love."

Renu Malhotra and Reynolds were married at the Montgomery courthouse in Rockville at 1 p.m., with Kaplan as the maid of honor, coworker Rainer Esders as the best man, and Martin Duvall, a supervisor at the computer firm, as another witness.

The bridegroom wore a navy blazer and cowboy boots; the bride wore a white lace and silk party dress that she had smuggled out of her home.

The wedding party took snapshots and enjoyed a leisurely dinner at a Rockville restaurant. Then the newlyweds, accompanied by Esders and Duvall, visited the Malhotras.

"We tried to talk Renu into just calling them on the phone," Esders, 26, said yesterday. "She was very nervous, but she wanted to show her respect to them."

According to Duvall, Esders and Reynolds, the following scene unfolded in the Malhotra living room:

Renu Malhotra spoke to her father in her native language. His face contorted with anger. "No!" he shouted. Renu turned to Reynolds and said, "Let's go." Then her mother and brother snatched her from Reynolds' grasp and began dragging her, screaming and kicking, into a bedroom.

Her brother returned and helped her father push the three other men out the door.

At one point, Renu Malhotra, fighting against her mother, waved her marriage certificate in the older woman's face, then tossed it to Duvall. Duvall was shoved into the hallway and pursued, he said, by the brother.

"I was running and he was on my heels," Duvall said. "I turned and tripped him. The father came running out and took the marriage certificate" and tore it up. Reynolds said he would get another copy of the document Monday.

"I don't know what to do," said Reynolds, who spent most of yesterday telephoning congressional offices, the Embassy of India and the State Department, with no satisfactory results. "I've run out of things."

"All I know," he said, "is that I love my wife and she belongs with me. CAPTION: Picture, David Reynolds. father in her native language. His face contorted with anger. "No!" he shouted. Renu turned to Reynolds and said, "Let's go." Then her mother and brother snatched her from Reynolds' grasp and began dragging her, screaming and kicking, into a bedroom.

Her brother returned and helped her father push the three other men out the door.

At one point, Renu Malhotra, fighting against her mother, waved her marriage certificate in the older woman's face, then tossed it to Duvall. Duvall was shoved into the hallway and pursued, he said, by the brother.

"I was running and he was on my heels," Duvall said. "I turned and tripped him. The father came running out and took the marriage certificate" and tore it up. Reynolds said he would get another copy of the document Monday.

"I don't know what to do," said Reynolds, who spent most of yesterday telephoning congressional offices, the Embassy of India and the State Department, with no satisfactory results. "I've run out of things."

"All I know," he said, "is that I love my wife and she belongs with me."

Staff photographer Fred Sweets contributed to this report.Picture 1, David Reynolds.