Recently I came across an article on “Social Faux pas in America” namely what you should avoid discussing with people there. The one that had me thinking is the money matter because in Switzerland it’s pretty much the same etiquette: You don’t ask how much things cost and you don’t ask a person how much they earn as it is considered rude.
The reason I’m reflecting on that now, is that in India I noticed people talk about these things much more easily, I had people asking me how much I earned, I had neighbours ask how much I paid for my dog, how much the car was, how much was our plane tickets, furniture, and what not. All type of questions I actually feel very embarrassed to answer because culturally I come from a place where it’s none of your business to know how much your neighbour paid to repaint their fence or how much they pay the gardener to come trim their bushes every months. At least not in the upfront bold way I have been asked about similar things here. In Switzerland if a neighbour is looking for a gardener, they will first ask you how they work, and then ask how much you pay them if they are interested in hiring one, otherwise they will just jump to the next topic sparing you the financial inquisition questionnaire. And no one would randomly ask you how much your dog cost while you are walking in the street, unless they are interested in the breed, but then it will be first about asking questions about the breed, the breeder’s location, and then only add that they are interested in getting a dog themselves and ask if you wouldn’t mind sharing the price if asked at all.
Our former neighbour in our old neighbourhood in Bangalore was utterly famous for putting his nose in all our purchases, asking the price of everything, and then upon us telling him to exclaim “I could have gotten it for you at a cheaper price”, a practice that irritated not only me but DH as well.
Over the years of being constantly probed for glimmers of information on my finances and shopping habits I developed a series of diplomatic vague answers: along the line of “Oh I really don’t remember now” or “Hubby went to buy it, I have no idea” or “I can’t remember right now, why do you ask?” or even “It was a gift”. I also used the failure to understand look when the “How much” question came from my maids, I had one who was notorious for not only asking me the price of all purchases including our brand new bed (after years of sleeping on mattresses directly on the ground), the thing is it is never a good idea to disclose prices to your house help, they can make assumptions out of it and perhaps decide they aren’t paid enough, or tell others how much “luxury” you have which would put you at risk of getting robbed, and that same maid asking about the price of everything was also the one who went telling all her other clients in the street about my purchase, so much so my neighbours knew I had a dog, a bed, a microwave and what not and came asking for the price themselves!
Yes it is a cultural thing, money give status and one is in general prouder to show of the status money brought them in India compared than in the west were wealth symbols are more subtle in nature. But my main reason for not bragging about price tags or answering questions about the money in India are mainly safety reasons. The article states that America has a more individualistic culture, and that therefore you don’t share certain things publicly, I won’t argue that, to a large extent this is true, but India is changing, there are more and more nuclear families around, with less relatives living practically next door and no tight knit community to really back you up in cities, and to me sharing the price of your car even with a neighbour doesn’t really spell safety, a smart cookie could ask you about all your stuff’s worth over the months, and estimate the amount of the loot they could get out of having someone rob you for them (again apply to maids and house helps). Sure they probably already have an idea just looking at your stuff, but there is no point just giving the exact figures to them. Ditto with the random stranger starting by “How much did you pay for the dog” before asking for the breed or name of the canine. Why would I share such an info with them? Do they have a special status to know what percentage of my income goes into what? What is the true intention behind the question to begin with?
The Swiss in me is as secretive about money as the banks in her home country…sorry.
When we moved back to Bangalore last February I was looking forward to the cool climate, being able to walk around without sweating buckets and soaking linen pants on my way to buy milk, imagined a typical cold Bangalore winter morning with me sipping my tea on the balcony looking at the dissipating fog, little did I know that fate had different plans…
DH is still not getting his salaries paid in full (with the first 3 salaries of the year still not paid at all) and after applying just about everywhere he could think of in business consulting, got one good offer, with a nice salary hike…in…MUMBAI!
Now we aren’t really in a position to just be picky, it doesn’t take much brain to figure out that between an interesting job in Bangalore with serious salary paying issue and an other somewhat interesting job with a salary hike in a bigger more reliable company in Mumbai, the second is the best option.
So what if it is Mumbai? I mean at this point we just tapped in all our savings, we really can’t get any further without getting more debts than we can manage. I wont pretend that Dh and I are exited about the whole move though, but one thing DH told me was that this time he won’t let the monsoon and impatience get in the way of him finding us a nice place to live, it might take a little more time, and we might have a few months where we won’t be together often but he is going to avoid the Navi Mumbai ordeal, we tried it, we hated it and if we are going to be stuck in Mumbai for a couple of years, we want to be in a place were we can somewhat enjoy it. Which means mostly being in an area that won’t push him into commuting 4 hours a day, has a few nice shops and entertainment, and most importantly has a small park with a kiddie playground even if that is only inside the apartment complex. The only drawback with that plan is that finding such a place will be a bit tricky, because Mumbai has some really crazy real estate prices. With a big dog and a toddler we need a 2BHK that is at least 1000 sq ft but preferably 1200, we don’t care about balconies or terraces, we just don’t want to feel crammed, and we don’t want to have to pay half the monthly income for that. Fortunately some preliminary checks on real estate websites show some hope that we wont be asking for the moon.
Then once we have our new home picked, the waltz of boxes, can start all over again, I can fish out my old war plan, season it “a la sauce du jour” and try to break our record at settling down, though I seriously doubt we will be able to unpack the stuff faster than the 24 hours it took this time. But my mind is already racing with clutter shrinking plans, if we are going to have to live in a smaller apartment, we need to once and for all kiss goodbye to DH’s college course books, he hasn’t opened them in over 7 years, time to let go, and while we are at it we started debating the necessity of keeping or massive computer table, our desktop has been out of commission since last November and while the reason it’s not up and running is because we can’t afford to replace the mother board and processor, we haven’t exactly been missing it, DH was away all the time with his company’s laptop, and I am perfectly happy with my netbook, in fact truth be told my netbook has cured me of my made Facebook gaming addiction, why would I want to tempt the devil again? If we decide to get the desktop running again later, we can still find a less massive and far more attractive desk that will fit our new place rather than try to make our new space accommodate a table we bought to fit our old Bangalore flat but looked like a sore point in both our Navi Mumbai flat and the one we are currently living in. We still have a custom made writing desk to use for the laptops, and a dinning table we can easily turn into a workspace. Beside I’m against having the computer in our bedroom and hated having it in Ishita’s bedroom as well, and will hate it even more as she grows up and learn how to use it, that was the reason why we chose to move into a 3BHK last February, so that we can set a room as a Study/Office and not have work invade our personal space, but DH won’t be working from home in his new company, so the immediate necessity of having a Study is now more of an indulgence, which probably won’t fit our budget anyway.
The silver lining is that I am at least enjoying some of the cold monsoon weather Bangalore has to offer, and that we will probably move to Mumbai by October and then I won’t have to bear with too much heat until the cold period of December, and we will have plenty of time to get ourselves an AC unit to bear with Summer.
Now let’s see if Mumbai will be more enjoyable on our third attempt to live there?
With my birthday coming and some gift money from my grand ma i for once had a good idea of what I wanted, but an idea isn’t everything it seems.
A week ago I started seeing that Reebok had launched a top and pair of pants in their “Easytone” range, to complement the sneakers they launched last year, and I thought maybe I could get myself the top to help me tone those back muscles a little. With an active toddler at home I don’t have much time for a structured work out routine, so my days are pretty much a medley of dog walking, clutter picking, toddler carrying, more clutter picking, some cooking and dusting, a lot more clutter picking and a two hour session at the kiddie playground walking around, spinning a merry go round and pushing a swing. Surely that isn’t the regimen professional athletes go through to get fit, but I wouldn’t call myself completely sedentary, I make a point of being on my feet as much as possible, with the result that as far as my legs go, I’m actually pretty toned, the top is a different issue, so yup I could use the help of a little more resistance since clearly carrying a two years old in my arm each time we step out is not enough.
Happy Birthday to come to me, I headed to Reebok yesterday, and asked about the top, I figured out that I might as well call for the large size since branded sportswear in India is normally available in Asian size (Addidas even says so on their tags), they guy tell me to try the Medium first after eyeing me, I guess I’ll take that as a compliment, means I’m not too out of shape after all …WRONG, or at least accorded to the Easytone top, I can’t get the damn thing past my shoulders! The tight resistance elastic bands refuse to budge, so I call for the Large, with the same result, the thing won’t go past my shoulder. I Explain the problem to the shop assistant who I can see is a bit baffled and immediately ask one of his colleague to fetch the XL size they have in the storage room (Clearly XL clothes don’t look too good on the racks in a fitness apparel store…darn), I go once more to the trial room, and this time the top get stuck below my shoulder, and for a split moment even wondered how I would remove the thing as I struggle to get the elastic bands to free my body, thinking that maybe if I lock myself long enough (days? week? months?) in the trial room without food I might actually shrink enough to fit the top, or at the most get it of my head, but a few more twists and shimmies and the Lycra prison is off my chest, and I go back defeated to the shop assistant who then helpfully suggest maybe I should get the Easytone pants, I figure that since my legs are pretty toned there isn’t much point, but that then, why not, I go immediately for the XL ones, which have the feel of a a Neoprene wet suit by the way, and march right back to my cubicle of despair and low self esteem to get them on.
And I got them on! Not without some pulling and stretching and huffing and puffing I might add, but they go all the way to the hip as they are low waisted pants, the feeling? Not so good, I feel like my legs are entrapped in blood pressure cuffs and all the stretching and huffing and puffing is starting to look futile as the overstretched garment start to ride down my curvy self…darn! I check the tag which mention “XL 81cm” I figure 81cm means the waist size, which roughly translates as 32 inches, go back to the guy tell him this doesn’t fit and ask if these are Asian sizes (though I know the answer is a fat yes because in Europe a person with a 32 inches waist is a Medium Size not an XL) but the guy puzzled by the question ask the cashier who says that no they are “Normal sizes”…darn I knew I wasn’t normal, here is the proof I don’t fit Reebok’s standard of Normality, they try to persuade me to look into regular garments which will have a more comfortable fit than the Easytone range, but I’m more than all set in the yoga pants, track pants and stretch top department, why would I pay some money for some more?
The truth is that by any standard I’m not a freak, vital stats to prove it: 41-33-41 (inches) and I’m practically back to my pre-pregnancy self, at the exception of the hips which were much narrower, but childbirth changes you in some ways and you can’t will your body to go exactly back to what it was, I’m actually proud to have retained my hourglass figure all through hormonal imbalance, insulin woes, baby bump and postpartum wobble bits mind you. What I hate is that at the height of my 5’8 frame, broad swimmer’s shoulder I’m actually made to feel like I’m so “fat” fitness outfits should not fit me, oh and while we are in the fitness measurements, in my quest to get fitter these past few months I’ve lowered my BMI from 25 which was borderline overweight to 24 which now falls in the upper normal range…so by all mean, not a unhealthy lady…thank you very much. And while I will conscede the fact that yes a lot of Indians have a more petite frame than most European, there are an impressive amount of ladies in my entourage who without being fat or chubby seem to fall in the same body structure than mine so again by all mean I’m not such an oddity wouldn’t you agree?
The irony has it that the people who would benefit the most from a garment like the easytone top or tops, are actually the one less likely to fit into the damn thing huh? But then why would a person with a rock hard tone body want to buy the thing in the first place if they can’t get all the benefit from it?
That’s one of the mysteries of the fitness fashion world I won’t attempt to answer because it seems as dangerous to venture on that path as it is to peak inside the Pandora’s Box.
I marched out of that store with my chine up and my daughter on my left hip and went walking around the neighbourhood to check for some party supplies for my darling little one, all in all I walked an hour with her and then did 2 hours at the playground and ran into a friend who I haven’t seen in a few weeks who after greeting me said “look at you you have lost weight you look great!”
Today DH is out of town so in order to kill some weekend time I decided to go shopping with Ishita as my grand ma sent us both me and my daughter our birthday gift in form of a cash transfer to our bank account. Ishita has a real sudden obsession with Dora the explorer and the “choo choo” episode that you find on the Treasure Island DVD, which she managed to scratch so badly it no longer plays, so this week I tried to find it in Landmark but it was no longer there, so today I headed to another bookstore and managed to find it, along with a “2” birthday cake candle which I will need for the kiddie party I’m planning for her, then we headed to Shopper’s Stop to see what kiddie clothes they have. I normally wait for the sales, but for the past few weeks I’ve been quite irritated at never finding anything that still fit and still look decent in Ishi’s wardrobe and this morning I finally got around to store all the too small and still good looking outfits in a box, and made another pile of too small and really worn out clothes, turns out she hasn’t much left after I did that, so shopping it was.
There is something about shopping that seem to make Ishita exited, especially clothes shopping, she can’t stop running around, pulling things off the rack in a very professional shopper’s way…your typical shopping crazy teenager in the making ladies and gent. And it’s not that she pulls stuff off the racks to make a mess, nope she grabs things she likes, and keep holding her loot as she roams around to narrow on the next target, like a bird of prey looking for their next meal, while I try to find something cute that will just come in her size already!
So in Shopper’s Stop she decided to grab 3 same blue corduroys pants, a white t-shirt with a teddy bear and a pink skirt while I was with the shop assistant trying to find her right size in a pile of denim skirts. Her little miss goes shopping behaviour actually actually attracted several shop assistant who couldn’t get how cute she was doing what she was doing (looting the kid’s department) and offered to keep an eye on her while I picked up some stuff, I never let her out of my sight though, and always reminded her to behave…ok mostly saying Ishita…NO to which the shop assistants kept saying “It’s ok let her do it, we will make sure nothing is too messed up” And all the while I could not help but think that should we have been in Switzerland I would have had cold stares from the staff for not having my daughter harnessed in a stroller or behaving nicely (meaning not touching the racks), trust me when I say that I’m glad people in India don’t mind kids acting like kids in public spaces. Swiss kids are expected to be at their best behaviour all the time, and kids are strongly frowned upon in upscale place or at dinner time in a restaurant, here you can have your child being out at 9pm in a nice restaurant and still have the waiter smile and offer them treats to keep them entertained, or a shop assistant willing to play “pretend shopping” with them if that’s what they want.
Oh and you also don’t have to deal with other parents shooting you daggers if your child runs around the store with a Dora The Explorer clutched to her chest while saying “choo choo” while you abandon checking dress sizes as she starts making a mad rush for the tea mug display in the home section of Westside as it we experienced later today. Nope instead you have parents saying “Sho Shweet” and asking you her name and how old she is and end up with a “Awww she is so cute”. The Swiss parent might just question your parenting skill at this point and nag you by pushing a stroller with a well behaved kid in it like saying “See mine is strapped in and don’t make a scene”.
So I managed to stop Ishita before she could do any damage in the home section, we bought the Dora The Explorer cushion because that’s her first independent choice and I was anyway thinking about having some bedding and cute cushion put in her room in order to slowly motivate her to actually sleep in her own bed later on, and while she couldn't stop roaming around having me on high alert the whole time we got things done, and celebrated the big shopping day with a slice of black forest cake and an Iced Tea for mommy at a coffee shop. Where quite obviously Ishi scored another few “So cute” for dumping dirty napkins on the table of the couple seated at the next table and my just telling her to stop it already and sit and eat more cake.
I decided to take a few of the very few recipe on my very old blog and post them there, today a good old Swiss classic : the carrot cake. As I mentioned in the recipe, this is a pretty basic, in fact most cakes and cupcakes as I know them are made on the “4 quarter principle” with equal weight of eggs, flour, butter and sugar. I found a few recipe in magazines around here but each time I tried these they miserably failed because the ratio were messed up somehow. Trust me guys apply this golden rule of basic baking I give you and you will never fail. Then you add your flavours to the basic mix, be it a hand full of nuts and fruits, carrots, or pure cocoa powder.
Also the recipe I give you below was the nut free one, my grand ma’s recipe calls for ground hazelnuts, which are though to find in India and when you find it, expensive, but later found that ground almonds make a good substitute, so if you want to follow that route, just substitute about 60g of flour for 60g of ground almonds.
A tea time classic sponge cake and a favourite in my home country Switzerland. Like most sponge cakes this one is made on what we call "4 quarter base" in my family, meaning that the ingredients are measured as per the weight of the eggs still in their shell. Therefore if you use 3 eggs that weight around 200 grams you will have to add the same amount of flour, sugar, and butter to the mix and then add the flavouring agent of your choice to it in the required quantity (this later varies).
For 1 standard cake tin you'll need :
Weight of the eggs in shell of all purpose flour, sugar, butter
150-200 grams grated carrots
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2-3 teaspoon baking powder
The zest of a small lime
1/2 teaspoon orange essence (optional)
1 pinch of salt
1) in a plastic microwave safe mixing bowl place the butter and microwave for 10 second at a time until it can be mashed by a fork and is soft enough to beat to a paste
2) Add the sugar and the pinch of salt to the butter, stir until well blended
3) Add the eggs one at a time will stirring and blending to the sugar/butter mix
4) Add the carrot to the mix and stir, add the cinnamon, and lime zest as well as the orange essence if used.
5) Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the buttery batter, mix until all the ingredients are well blended. The batter should be thick put of pouring consistency, if it appear to be a bit too thick, you can add a little milk to it.
6)Preheat oven at 180 C , Grease a cake tin with butter and dust with flour, pour the batter in it smoothening it so it fills it evenly up to 2/3 the height of the tin
7) bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the cake is done to the middle, check by pricking the cake with a clean knife blade to its center, if the blade comes out clean the cake is done. If after 20 minutes you notice the cake is too brown but the middle is not cook, reduce the temperature of the oven to 150 and continue cooking until done.
8) Remove from oven and let it cool in the tin for 7-10 minutes, then de-mould and transfer the cake to a wire rack for complete cooling.
Serve as a desert, or with tea, you can ice it with icing sugar as well and turn it into a birthday cake.
In 2008 I was writing about my woes with the Kenstar customer care and service when it came to a broken plate inside my microwave, if you are not familiar with the saga it starts here, continues there, and finally ends that way.
I thought I would never have to deal with them ever again, but misery oh misery, my microwave oven decided to really act up on Wednesday, basically transforming my microwave/convection/grill oven into pretty much just a convection/grill appliance as suddenly the microwave option died right after defrosting some crab stick refusing to do anything more fancy than spin the plastic container of mushroom cream chicken around leaving it dead cold after 3 tries.
Realizing what was happening I got all the flashback of uselessness from 2008, the difficulty finding the customer care number, the incompetent technician coming with no tools and no replacement part, and having to wait forever to even know if the microwave could be fixed. DH decided to take the task of finding the info online and call, and we were both surprised that they had a brand new completely updated webpage, and that now Kenstar, Electrolux, Kelvinator and Videocon are a joint venture and all fall under the same group, and seeing Electrolux in the list made me hopeful that maybe things improved with them.
DH wrote down the Number but actually forgot to call until Friday morning, at which point he went through the usual drill of replying to a bunch of questions about the appliance type, brand, model type, our residential address and phone number and after hanging up told me that apparently they will come have a look, but that he didn’t ask when.
Having had experience with the service I snorted, not expecting anything to happen without a few more phone call to remind them of our existence and existential crisis with our microwave. So much so I forgot about it.
This morning at around noon (that’s Saturday, about 24 hours after the phone call) the security officer in our building inform us via intercom that a Kenstar repairman is there for us! YES! 24 hour after raising a request guys, I was shocked, because the 24 hour response is something that so far only LG delivered. But then as skeptical as I can be I decided that the guy being there so fast didn’t mean our oven would be fixed as he probably forgot the part, or never got filled in on what the problem was.
So our guy comes in, take a bowl of water to test in the oven to prove our claim right, and 2 minutes later he has the oven’s outer cover removed and is looking at the wires, he also notices a lot of grime and rust in there and remind us to not put anything on top of the oven as this could damage it in the long run, and I’m off finding a new permanent space for the fruit bowl while he examine the wires and components and then tell us that 2 components are fried and need replacement, giving us the price for each and the quote for the service charge asking us if we want to replace them, at which point DH asks if he has the parts with him, and the man to reply by the affirmative. By then I’m officially impressed, and can’t believe that things will be fixed right away. The man quickly goes to work, and within 10 minutes the oven can again microwave water to a boiling point at which point the guy also add that the lamp is not working inside the oven and ask if I want it replaced. I ask him if he has the bulb with him, and when he replies that yes he has, give him the go ahead, the lamp was the first thing to die on that oven but I never bothered about it as it didn’t go in the way of cooking and heating stuff anyway, to me the lamp inside the microwave is a fancy extra, and yes for the record the guy who came in 2008 already mentioned the lack of light but added that it would take one more week for him to get the bulb so back then I said no to the repair.
So now I can say that Kenstar really cleaned up their act, I was very impressed by the professionalism this time around, they guy had all the correct parts with him, plus the one I never would have asked for such as the bulb, he fixed the issue promptly, and was polite. I seriously could not have asked for more.
I think I spoke about maids, and drama on several occasions on this blog, even have a label under which I put such posts.
Right now I’m dealing with a totally new type of lady: The Vulture. That type was until now unknown to me, but it’s a fairly easy one to spot, look for a maid who will look around your home and spot all the old stuff, half broken, worn out or almost rotten stuff and ask “Can I have this?” without any consideration of the fact that you are actually still using these things. My current maid seem to excel at this asking about all my stuff and bits of garbage. I’m used to maids asking me to keep the glass bottles and beer cans aside for them, and I have no problem with them taking these to make a little extra money, spare me the hassle of lugging it all to the guy buying recyclables and being cheated in the process. But this maid is constantly having her nose in my fruit basket looking for overripe bananas, I told her a couple of time that no she can’t have my brown skin fruits because I make cakes with them, but it doesn’t seem to stop her from asking every single time, last week she grabbed a full bunch of very brown banana from the bowl and casually said “I’m taking it”. I told her quite sharply to leave the banana where they were as I was to use them, I have a feeling she doesn’t quite believe me here and still think I’m throwing them away, but hey when I make a banana cake it goes into ziploc bags in the freezer so I resist the temptation of wolfing down half the cake right out of the oven, and beside I don’t think it is my maid’s business to decide what she can have or not have in my home.
She also has that tendency to hint at the fact the other families in the building offer her gifts, asking us to foot the bill for her son’s school tuition and looking highly sceptical when we tell her we don’t have the money (which is true, DH is still not getting any full salary at work). Several time she asked me why I was never wearing salwaar suits and then added that if I don’t wear the one I have I should give them to her! WTF? She came back at it yesterday explaining she needs salwaar suits to give to her sister who is going to college showing me the one a neighbour gave her before leaving with her stuff including an old tube light holder.
We moved in February, and since then she is constantly asking for old stuff, money for the school tuition, and frankly I’m getting a bit fed up with the attitude. A month ago we gave her our old DVD player which doesn’t seem to want to play half of the DVD we own anymore but still plays VCD fine. But while she profusely thanked me for the player, she now thinks she is entitled to more freebies from us, and that it also gives her the right to complain about the dishes and the few of Ishi’s toy lying around…sigh!
The 2011 census revealed that the girl/boy ratio has dipped even lower with 914 girl born for every 1000 boys, despite the move by the government to ban sex determination during an ultrasound. Previously the illegal clinic would be shut, the machine seized and that was it. Now it seems they are stepping up permanently seizing the machine, fining the clinic and 3 years in jail for the people performing the ultrasound. As told in this Times of India Article.
My question is: Is that enough? Clearly the previous ban hasn’t stopped people desperate enough to have no girl to get the bit of information they wanted, in fact it seems that the ratio is even more biased in the wealthiest States, and well off highly educated families are often the one who will at all cost avoid having a girl in the family as other articles have reported. I salute the move to punish clinics further indeed, but what bugs me more than anything is that the real culprits are the morons requesting the test to then terminate the life of a female foetus. They generally get away with this atrocity, now if they are as unethical as bribing a doctor with thousands of rupees in the first place for a piece of information that is illegal to know in the first place, and seek that information to potentially kill a live being for her sole mistake of lacking a penis…then they should be jailed as well if caught. Maybe if the families who are feeding the system are equally penalized and brought to justice, we will have hope for a better sex ratio at birth.
Now of course that will not be enough yet, because if all babies are born and let be, I bet there are a few more morons out there that will abandon girls, or mistreat them. Time to face the root of the problem, which lies in traditions, what exactly push people to not want a baby girl: Dowry at the time of marriage, women not being empowered to perform the last rite at her parent’s funeral, and the fact a girl leaves her parents home after marriage and won’t take care of them in their old age.
As long as you don’t change some of these traditions, people will not really see the point of even allowing a baby girl to live to see the world should they be able to afford the gender determination ultrasound and abortion that follows.
Dowry is illegal, and a girl reporting a dowry demand from her future in-law or in-laws can throw them in jail, there have been some case of courageous girls and their families bringing the groom’s family to justice brought to the media. But for these few girls, who were aware of their rights. how many aren’t? And how many girls family will rather pay dowry than fear loosing honour in their community for turning the groom’s family in? If it all boils down to honour in the end, what good a law is?
My take on this would be maybe for medias to start glorifying the girls and their families who abide by the law and lodge complaints in dowry case more and more, prise them, make them sang heroes of the news, local or national, praise them in serials and movies until the reporting such a petty criminal act is no longer taboo or tainted with dishonour. On the other side, educate girls, let them know the penal code has a lot of provision to protect them, empower them to be strong independent ladies.
As for the last rite? I won’t mess with religious rituals, but then allow me to make an observation dear.
DH has 2 brother no sister, and in all the functions that require a sister, be it on the 5th day of Diwali, the 12th day of life of a baby, it has become acceptable to ask a cousin, as distant as it has to be in some cases. So why not do it the other way round?
Still on the last rite though, I remember reading a few articles of girls taking the place of a son in one of their parent’s funeral and be supported by their families in doing so, so clearly, some don’t see the tradition as rigid to the point no alteration can be made to it.
All in all, if you want a clear change in the alarming sex ratio, punishing is one measure, and punishment should not be done only on the side of the provider, but the requester as well. But more important than all, you need to go to the root of the issue and see what causes the ill, and EDUCATE people about it. As heavy traditions are weighting, it is actually foolish everywhere to hang on to them simply because it has be done that way for centuries…
Centuries ago in Europe, a thief caught in the act had his hand cut to punish him for the crime, that was the tradition and law in middle age, as barbaric as it was. It evolved over time
as clearly today we no longer punish thieves that way…we have other ways that are more in line with the world we now live in…our ancestors should they be brought back to our time might call them ridiculous and full of dishonour, and the generations to follow us a few centuries in the future might call our fining and jailing a thief barbaric because they found a better way to deal with the issue…the key is to move with the time and do away with the old that might have had a very legit place in our world at a time but is becoming questionable today.
And when traditions push people to actually result to female foeticide, you know the time has come to do something about it and go for a change in mind-set.
I’m the type who prefer this type of jewellery:
Cheap colourful beads and pendants, silver jewellery with semi precious stones like turquoises and crystals, yarn, ceramic, resin, glass, brass and copper. The stuff that doesn’t cost a lot, and that I can mix and match according to my mood and outfits. In the picture above are most of my fashion pieces. I have more in silver in a box, as well as earrings in the same kind of style. My engagement ring is 22k gold with no diamonds, and is current distorted and need to go to the jeweller. I wear a silver and turquoise ring instead. Ring that DH and I found in Manali in 2009.
In a country that has a serious obsession with gold and offer a majority of big showy chunky pieces, I’m the odd one.
I have a few odd stuff in gold. I almost never wear them unless going to a wedding. My bridal set was a gold plated silver base with red beads because I just don’t believe in breaking the bank on stuff that I will wear just that one day. I think there are better investments than buying jewellery, buying gold shares is far sounder in today’s world, but yeah we didn’t tell my MIL until a year after that my wedding set was “fake”. She never noticed on her own, and no one else ever did as I got a good set from “SIA Jewellery” which specialise in gold plated costume sets.
And, when some ladies I know brag about how their husbands got them a new diamond pendant for a special occasion, I nod and smile politely.
DH knows me too well. He knows I like the cheaper stuff, so when he went to South Africa in 2008 for 3 weeks he brought me back a pretty necklace made of glass beads and resin he found in a craft fair. Just last weekend, he suddenly wanted to treat me to something special, the original plan was to get myself new clothes, and he left me to shop alone pretending to have to take Ishi home. When I came back, he had a shopping bag with a multi row blue beads necklace and earrings and got a matching bracelet as well.
Yup, I’m the easy type. In fact, I don’t even think I could appreciate a diamond pendant as much as I love the small gifts he comes up with. And, he will never be the one to complain to his friends saying “My wife cost me a fortune in gold and diamonds”