Husband Is Football.........

Trip Start Aug 20, 2005
Trip End May 26, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, May 7, 2006

"Husband is football between wife and mother" my driver said. Myself and Alma hired a car (1984 fiat Uno)I'm still a cheap backpacker :-) and a driver for five days.Our diver liked driving but more importantly he liked being away from his family."Husband has to
be skilled diplomat" he informed us.In India there is still extended families, e.g. when a son gets married the wife moves into his family home with his parents.They only move out when they can afford a place on their own.So wives live under the same roof as their mother in law.As you can see this might cause some conflict, hence the football analogy.The majority of the marriages in India are still arranged. So if you pick up the Sunday newspaper in the personals section you see adds parents have placed looking for husbands/wives for their children.Adds along the lines of "Hardworking, good looking Son with good IT job seeks non-hussy bride, Good cook essential and caste not a barrier" :-) Well the adds are not far removed from that example.On the news recently was a feature about children being married.30th April was a particularly lucky day astrologically.Some good omens were aligned which happens every 50 or 100 years prompting the spate of marriages.The government has banned child marriages but some parents still arranged matches. The news feature couple of kids aged 8 and 9.The kids did not know what was happening.The parents said they would not have to live together until they were teenagers.Also on the program featured 13 and 15 years old who had been married by their parents.

Caste is still an issue in India. There are four main castes Priest,Warrior,Merchant and untouchables.Just because you are born into one caste does not significantly affect your chances of improving your standard of living. An untouchable can run become a jeweler (a trade belonging to Merchant caste) but it is unlikely. The government is forcing a quota system where companies will have to employ a fixed percentage of untouchables.This caste is made out of everyone from beggars to small shopkeepers. In the past people had to marry within their own caste. Now days caste is not a big issue when arranging a match.Only a woman can change her caste by marrying a man of a different caste.Officially women are equal citizens in India but there is still some discrimination. All people will only talk to a man in the couple, rarely will they address a woman first.It is viewed he has the money and power.This had its advantageous.When Alma was being pressurised into buying something from a market stall. Once I was a little bit away from the stall, I could rescue her from the hard sell by just calling her name and beckoning her to me with my hand.Not once did any stall owner even contemplate interrupting a man calling his woman.Needless to say this tactic will stay in India, if I wish to enjoy a full and happy life :-)
Before India became a republic in 1947 it was made up of thousands of principalities.Thus there are loads of forts and castles. One spectacular fort was in Agra.As part of its defenses it had the following:
1) A thirty five foot moat filled with water and crocodiles
2) It had a large wall about 40 feet tall and ten feet thick, manned with soldiers with a drawbridge.
3)Behind this was a second dry moat filled with hungry wild lions, tigers and bears.
4)Another bloody big wall manned with more soldiers and cannon.
If you managed to breach all these defenses, the main driveway was sloped with high walls were hot oil could be poured on top of you and they would roll boulders down from the top.So a pretty safe place to live. The outer walls of the fort was about 2.6km long and 100,000 people lived within the fort walls.Akhbar the great (who built the fort) who was widely admired for being a peaceful and tolerant man had three wives.The wives were Christian,Muslim and Hindu.He claims he was uniting religions and promoting tolerance :-) I would like to hear his justification for having fifty three concubines :-) He also had a special prison within the palace for naughty concubines.....

Often when you enter a historical building you are plagued with touts,guides and kids selling or begging.At the historical mosque in Fatephur Siki, I was persistently pestered by one man.He claimed he worked for the Mosque promoting tolerance and understanding of Islam and other religions. So when I had repeated four times that I had no money for guide, I would not pay for a tour and he acknowledged that I had no money and he would not be paid for the tour, we started our tour.Over the half hour he showed me the Imam's tomb (made out of mother of pearl).Explained that women and men were buried separately,He even showed me the beehives in the Mosque.The bees were there as they used honey as part of the adhesive to stick decorative tiles.So low and behold after half an hour tour, we end up at the back gate of the mosque, where his brother is selling family crafts.You could not be up to them. I reiterated I had no money, no he could not follow us to our car,I had no money in the car, yes the crafts were good and no he could not come to our hotel(which I gave him the wrong name of) to collect payment for any crafts we like. I told him I would return in the morning to buy, a lie.When he doubt the fact I would return I did my usual "My friend if you do not believe me, than I will not buy off a man who thinks I am a liar" That's India nothing is as seems and you have to be alert.

By the way, the Indian railway actually employs ten million people, they have 16,000 trains a day and have enough track to circle the equator. I just thought you might like to know.

So folks by the time I leave India I will have a spent a month here.I've decided to go home a little bit early. I have seen all the sights that I wanted to see.Instead of staying an extra eleven days ignoring beggars, haggling with shopkeepers and telling tuktuk drivers I question their parentage :-)I'm going to spend extra time with family, friends and adapt back to Ireland :-)
I hope you have enjoyed reading the blogs as much as I have writing them.
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