Sunday, September 03, 2006

"She no love you?"

I usually emphasize the ways that India ties me in knots and confuses me, but I'm sure we Westerners can be just as confusing to Indians. What I know is shocking to them is a non-deformed 50 year-old man who isn't married. They just can't comprehend it, and remind me of it regularly.
Some years ago a man asked how old I was, and then asked, "How many children do you have?" I said I didn't have any; he looked stunned. "Are you married?" I said no, and he squealed, "NOT possible!!"
Last week a young guy asked if I was alone, something else they can't fathom. (It's variously asked as: Alone? One? Just? Only? or just a questioning look with one finger in the air.) I said that yes, I was alone. He then asked if I was married. When I said no, he said, "Ohhh... so you're alone." He made it sound so desolate and barren, which I suppose from his perspective, it is.
On this trip I met a 16 year-old kid who wasn't content with generalities. He wanted to know WHY I wasn't married. I said I was married a long time ago, but it didn't work out.
"Why?" he asked.
"Oh, I don't know, it's a little hard to explain."
"She no love you?"
"Yeah, I guess you could say that." He pondered that for a bit, before asking if my ex- is remarried, how many kids they have, what she does for work, and what her husband does for work, of all things. Why is a 16 year-old Indian boy interested in this?
"Why you not remarry?"
"Uh, I don't know, but it's a little hard to find the right person."
"NOT hard. You just find a nice girl, and you marry her." Well, if that's true, it explains a lot. Somehow I always thought it was more involved than that.
As we parted, he said, twice, "Next time I see you, I want to meet your wife. Okay? Okay??"
"Yeah, okay. Maybe."
Too much love,
There are eight photos below:
This beautiful little girl is only about six years old.
A monk from a small monastery in Padum.
A very long glacier near the highest pass on the Zanskar road. You can see the switchbacks of the road in the lower center of the photo. The guidebook describes this glacier as "kilometers long."
Amazing geological formations near Rangdum, on the Zanskar road.
Baby Tenzin in a basket, on Dad's back. I stayed at the guesthouse of this family.
The baby's parents, separating the barley from the chaff. Lamayuru Monastery is on the hill in the left background.
Baby Tenzin, who is 15 months old.
Inside Lamayuru Monastery during a chanting ceremony, called a puja.
(The End)