12/16/13, post 2 of 2

The morning starts with students reciting the Indian National Anthem

The rest of Dr. Singh’s talk and what we did today

If there is one thing Westerners find fascinating about India, it has to be arranged marriages. Dr. Singh explained what that means in the India of today.

The Marriage System in India

There are three major marriage laws in India all based on religious affiliation. When you marry or divorce you are under the jurisdiction of the Hindu, Islamic, or Buddhist marriage laws.

Many Indian people, both in the United States and outside of it have arranged marriages. It is more of an arranged introduction these days. Rishi, the 22 year old fellow I am working with at my placement said the same thing. I asked him if his parents were going to arrange a marriage for him. He said not unless he was still single in his mid 30’s, and then they most likely would start making suggestions to him about girls they knew of. I asked if his parent’s marriage was arranged and he said sort of. That it was the modern type of arranged marriage, where two people are introduced who the parents think would make a good match.

This is how it works

1.) Parents do some homework to find someone who will be a good match for their child and the entire family. Families in India often live together or at least close to each other. It is important that anyone new coming into the family meshes well with the fabric that makes that family. The feeling in India is that young people do not have good enough judgement yet to choose someone who will work long term as a good life partner.

2.) Next parents arrange an introduction, but the couple has the final say.

3.) Divorce is very uncommon in India. People have the attitude that they have to make the marriage work. This has a big effect on the importance of choosing the right partner and getting help making the right choice.

4.) If there are any problems the entire family will help to make the marriage work.

There are exceptions to this. The two groups you see the most exceptions with are the highest and the lowest classes. The group who is most affected by these attitudes about divorce and marriage is the middle class.

Both these posts are my notes from Dr. Singh’s talk. These are not my original thoughts or observations.

Now for our day.

We started our week returning to our placement. Sean commented multiple times Saturday and Sunday that he couldn’t wait to go back. He is really going to miss those kids when we leave.

Everybody loves suit guy.

At 12 all the little kids get a meal of dal.

This is in a classroom. This dog wandered in to it and went to sleep.

Dogs are everywhere in India, puppies, lactating females, male dogs fighting, and hanging out too. They are in the streets, wandering into buildings, you name it, they are everywhere. We have seen a few hit too, the driving is really crazy here, and dogs run right into the streets. We have seen some dogs with owners, but not most. At first I felt sorry for the dogs, but after observing the situation I came to a new appreciation and understanding of what I was observing. I have never seen anyone here be mean to a dog. In fact they are quite nice, warm, and tolerant of the dogs. If a dog wanders into a place, it is as if they have the right to be there. No one says anything. If a gate or a door is open and a dog wanders in, no one does anything about it. Often the dog is not even acknowledged. If they are acknowledged it is with kindness. I came to understand that these dogs are free. They have free will. I have heard that this is the same situation with monkeys, which I will get to in tomorrow’s post. These dogs are really and truly free and enmeshed within the fabric of the society and areas they live in. Their freedom is not always perfect, some have mange, some look malnourished, and some wander in to the street. Some people would argue that freedom at any price is still worth the price.

Sean’s group is waiting for lunch.

We went to the sweet shop. You were right Sandeep, they did let Sean and me taste things! We had so much fun here.

Sweet shop in Hindi is Mithai ki Dukaan

Aren’t they beautiful?

Look how beautifully he is wrapping our chocolate. I just went down one of the rows and got 1 of everything.

A country that loves dogs and sweets as much as I do. I might never come home.

Marigolds are everywhere in India. They are used for religious blessings and offerings.

I am counting on you Denise Perpall to help me figure out how to make this drink. It is a salted fresh lime soda, it is non-alcoholic, and is both sweet and salty, but not too sweet or salty.

This sign is outside establishments that serve alcohol in Delhi.

I spent hours tonight booking the next leg of our journey. We are not extending our volunteering, we are getting on the road and seeing some of India instead. It took some work to get it all planned because we put it off. I was not sure what we were going to do in the end, but Jim wants to see some of India. He is afraid we might not get back here again and he wants to see more than just Delhi. I am not so sure though, Sean and I love India. Because we put it off, we have to take the bus for part of it. We could hire a car, and that is not very expensive, but the buses are supposedly more comfortable. We will try the first leg by bus and see what we think. You are all in for a treat though, because you will also see more of India this way.

I also had to write a worksheet for my students today. Last Friday I had a great day working with the older grade school students, and I was asked to stay until 1 to work with the high school aged girls who are getting ready for a big test. Today was so rewarding. I worked with the grade school students on answering what, why questions. For example, “What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite?” They did great on the first question, but it became more complicated when they had to add the because part from the 2nd question to their answer. Then I worked with the older girls on pronouns, but they were writing their own sentences, and there was so much going on with them, that I realized they couldn’t get a good handle on pronouns. There was too much to keep track of, so worksheets for all! I am not necessarily a fan of worksheets, but sometimes they are the best solution.