Vetting the bride to be!!

Trip Start Apr 29, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Monday, May 25, 2009

we are now doubting if we will be able to stay here till the wedding (the whole point of this trip)  its devastating, but to be honest we have to hide away for the best part of the day as its just too hot for us to cope or to venture out (and we might starve to death if we stay!!)  much as we have loved it here, and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to see it and be part of it, there is only so much you can do and we have just about done it in the last few days ... after all its only one street!! and surrounding villages are a small cluster of 4/5 houses every half kilometer or so. its just so unfortunate that the wedding date got changed again. We could visit Bardia national park but thats a trek and we have already been to Chitwan ....

We must have become quite Indian I think!!! while we were cycling Mike broke his plopper (flip flop to you) they are only fabric and leather Clarkes ones and ready for the bin really!!! when he showed Suresh he said 'no problem' (everything is 'no problem here!!) today Mike paid a visit to the cobbler shop on the pavement and got it fixed....FREE!! good as new!! amazing ... see the pic and the old cobbler wouldnt even take any payment it was such a small repair compared to most!!!

This place has marijuana growing wild absolutely everywhere...look at the pic of Mike stood next to it ........ can you imagine this in the uk!!!!!! I think they just pick it and rub it in their hands until it turns to the required consistency .... those that smoke it  at least........... and I know Suresh and his family dont have anything to do with it .....

I think Suresh understands and although upset and disappointed he is happy as long as we approve of his chosen girl, this is unreal, it seems so imperative to him and the family that we see her and give our opinion, i know Suresh thinks of us and calls us Mum and dad (so do his own parents, lol, asking him 'what your mum and dad say' !! how strange it is)  ... but we are equally fond of him and he is like another son, we have always treated him that way, taking him away with us all over India and Nepal when we went traveling with Tom, and the joy for him of going on planes which none of his friends or family have ever, or are ever likely to do...

I think maybe we are to blame for him putting off getting married as even his younger brother is married, and it just doesn't happen like that here, maybe we have turned him into a bit of a capitalist!!! seeing our way of life and listening to us (esp me ranting on about looking for opportunities!!),  finding he would like more ......he has so far resisted the pressure to marry as he wants to  make something of himself.... better himself and he knows that once he has a wife and kids it will be hard...(did i tell him that? nah) he has worked and saved so hard and managed to build his new house for his family, he is so proud it, it is a passage and 4 bedrooms outside kitchen toilet, but he even has electric, if limited to the odd light bulb!!! so after  viewing 12 girls, reluctantly, he has bowed to the pressure, and agreed on Sangita.

He told me her family is even more poor than his, preparing us i think, and judging by the house i think thats probably true, 3 small 'bedrooms' outside a little kitchen, doubling up as the goats house and a hand water pump for bathing, washing etc...all the girls from a young age have duties like clothes washing or cooking....

It now appears there still seems to us to be some doubt as to whether the marriage will take place, her father is a Brahman, which gives him a considerable amount of status..caste wise ....even if he is poor ... and they want to be sure Suresh is worthy, has a good job, prospects and able to care for Sangita etc her Dad is still having doubts it seems, so close to the day as well, this is so unknown for us how things are done here ... bit different to our great affairs that take months to prepare and execute!!!

so the day arrived and off we went for the visit to her family, thank God we had the motorbikes!! 12 kms of hot and deserted road, but fantastic .... i loved seeing the river and all the people flocking to it with their animals....see pics ... it was a stunning sight....I just couldn't stop clicking away!!

Her village was more remote still and when we got there everybody turned up to see us, we sat on the bed outside and had Chai and then her dad sent me in to 'talk' with Sangita as her and her friends remained inside...her mum is in hospital with the fever, the nearest hospital being in Nepal Ganj........ I immediately became aware that she was not happy, she was near to tears and although she had no English, she could manage with help from a friend to tell me, 'no marriage, please no marriage' as if it depended on me!!!!!! I was taken aback, i expected her to be keen, and was shocked, and didn't know what to say or do, I tried to say what a nice boy he is (using facial expression and her friends little knowledge of English) but she just kept shaking her head and her friend said, 'she sad' I really felt for her as i hadn't realised till today she is only 15 or 16 yrs old!!!!!!!!!! in fact Suresh says he didn't know either until today....

she is obviously frightened and wants to stay in her village, she is still at school.....she will have to move to his house, leave her family and friends and then Suresh will come back to work in Goa.... how scary!!! I don't actually disagree with arranged marriages, but to someone so young i think it begs the this right??!! my heart went out to her ... and Suresh, he is obviously nervous and scared too, he is only 26..... its all so alien from our own way of life, I don't think my kids would just accept a situation like this...not for one minute!!!! in fact i know it!!

Everybody from nearby turned up of course to stare at us , all wandering in and just standing and staring.... yet again ... but it was ok, and we had a laugh....and the family particularly her dad obviously felt very important and kept telling us (via Suresh) how honoured they were that we had come to see them. we felt like a pair of VIPs!! Mike did some magic for the kids and they all watched us with interest and amusement ... it was a thought provoking day to say the least!! I shall never forget it.....

I gave her the gifts we had bought her, a pretty makeup set in a box that opened in layers and a necklace in a bead box, her and her friends were oohing and ahhhing with utter delight, I was amazed.... but then they have very little... no real luxuries, only necessities, she later told Suresh she had never seen the gifts like this or received one.... so easily pleased by so little.... when Suresh knocked to come in she begged me 'no plse no' so i told him we were doing girlie stuff, i felt really concerned... but i have to say i really liked was obvious to me that she has some spirit and is not going to be pushed about ...I like a bit of spirit.... i think this will be a perfect match for Suresh as they might achieve something more from life if she to has some ooomph in her ...

Later we all joined up together, her dad, suresh and us, and her Dad was gesturing that she had been crying ... not wanting marriage ... we explained via Suresh, as interpreter, what a great boy we thought he was, how hard he worked and that he was like a son to us ....all true,  The following day Suresh was full of joy, and told us, 'now everything ok, her family is very happy now they met you, before daddy not sure, have i good job, am i hard worker, now he very happy for the marriage and she too now they met you both' ... he had been chatting to her in the evening after our visit....she told him she didn't know he could speak good English and that she was ready for the marriage now, they were all impressed with it, and it seemed the prestige of taking us foreigners to her village had done the trick..... we were dumbfounded!!!  it is surreal, He was happy then that we could leave, although he desperately would have liked us to stay.... as we would too... but it was just too long to wait ..... sadly.

You know i think this is the only place i have ever been where you can hang your washing out, shower and then put it on .... as its dry so quickly!!!!

By the last day we had grown rather attached to this place and the people, once they got used to us we had a real laugh with them.... we also found that the one other hotel had a restaurant ...of sorts a separate chalet type building ... we paid a visit, which caused a right commotion, with the entire work force coming to watch us eat!!! we had to take photos of them all with us!! the food was good ... I am just hooked on peanut masala, its nuts with salad and masala.... delicious....and they even started up the generator just so we could have the fan on as we were wilting with no power....and we were the only ones there... till we got spotted then others arrived ... it was great and we hung around chatting to them all for ages, as the manager spoke English

.... afterwords we wandered the street it was getting late and all the fires were burning cooking food at the little 'restaurants' ... all the mud ovens being alight, it was picturesque... no gas here!!!! everything seems more chilled at night i suppose cos it is cooler... or maybe us and them adjusted to each other a bit by now !!!

So time to pack up and travel on... we have decided to go out of the little used (by foreigners) border at Nepal Ganj and head for Lucknow .... somewhere we haven't been ...

On a final note,, we did offer Suresh some western advice (hmmm not that all western men adhere to it!!)  .... but here the woman is definitely the under dog and treated as such ... so we said, tongue in cheek.......'Treat her like she is a precious diamond... be gentle with her, she is young, and smile a lot!!!!' ............  He has a beautiful smile and i am sure it could win any girl over in the end!!! .he looked so stony faced and serious yesterday, but when he speaks to us about this girl he is so animated ...he positively glows ...

Hope this isn't boring you all to death......... I have skimmed the surface but still the page seems to fill with words ... it was such an experience many amazing memories ....

loved all your emails and comments, thank you :-) cant wait to reply .... here its always a case of just getting the blog written and published before i get too behind!! as the internets are not brill and very haphazard... connections go, pages are lost, keys dont work, its pretty hopeless,  I've decided writng a blog from some of these places requires a certain dedication!! haha.... its all great when you are somewhere with great connections and more reliable and stable connections and power supply, but this trip has been tough from that angle .... however i regret nothing ....

I would definitely take a small Laptop next time, (I decided against it this time...more weight ...wrong move!!!) you cant always use it, but increasingly this year i have noticed more and more places are getting WIFI and you can catch up more easily.... or write in word in the comfort of a bar or restaurant and copy it later...

India is moving fast in many ways...the rich are getting richer ... the poor may be getting poorer.....but it may never change in other ways, who knows,  its a diverse and contradictory country in every sense of the word.....whatever,  I feel so lucky to have had these experiences .....

Sooooooooo..... i have had to do everything by hand!!! and then transfer from there to here ... and uploading the pics is a nightmare, but i dont like sending the entry without pics!! what to do!!! thats life here............ but its nicer to sit in a cafe with a coffee chilling, than in an internet cafe full of people and dodgy keyboards...and its expensive here!! if u have your own PC its a lot cheaper to connect .. I state my case!!

So for now, from another world  .... bye bye :-)

Sorry these are coming all at once now but no chance of sending them up till now :-)

Chilly and Mike (aka Gilly and Mick)
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jantie on

How heartbreaking but you worked your magic and made it better hope they are going to be very happy.

take care both jan x

dragon07 on

hi chilly
when you say you like a bit of spirit is that similar to coffee,on a more serious note in some arranged marriages the girls especially must be scared to death
barbara and clif

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