“The happiest baby is the one who is fed”
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam means “the whole world is one family.” We tend to think of families as three siblings, parents, and grandparents.
But this is not the case.
In India, when you see a little girl wearing a sari, you see her mother’s grandmother. There is also the “aunt” and the “aunt-nephew”.
My “great-niece” is one of many who are living in a time of rapid transition from “idealistic family” to “hyper-modern family.”
The family unit is evolving and slowly morphing into two radically different forms: 1) The nuclear family and 2) The extended family.
In the West, the nuclear family is the norm, while in India, the extended family plays a very important role.
Let me share an Indian (like-minded) family story.
During my visit to India in 2000, my wife and I attended the birthday party of one of my cousins.
After we ate, the birthday party got into high gear. We played a game and I won. I was named the captain of a team (dubbed “The Haus of Awesomeness”).
The party continued until all the grownups had had their fill and the kids were worn out. Then my wife and I left for a hotel room to rest.
My wife was feeling a bit queasy and had requested the driver to take her to the toilet. It was after midnight.
A cab came and I went to get in. My wife thought the cab driver would take her to the guest house.
Instead, he took her to a dark alley, drove down the dark street, and parked. I jumped out and ran to the cab.
The driver was just about to climb into the back seat, while my wife was looking in disbelief at the driver.
The driver looked at me as if I had lost my mind and uttered two words. The first was “Are you married?” I said “Yes” and he said, “Good because you shouldn’t get in with a woman.”
My wife was mortified and she immediately asked the driver to take her to the guest house.
I hugged her, and I pretended not to hear her. I went to bed. She didn’t know what to do.
She looked at me and then started to cry. She later told me that she felt so bad that I did not come to her rescue.
She cried all night. A few minutes later, the driver came into the room and sat next to her, and talked to her.
He did not want to sleep in the same room with her either. I was happy that at least I got to sleep in a room without another woman.
The next morning, we left for the airport and flew back to the U.S. On the flight, my wife put her head on my shoulder and began crying again.
She said that she had felt so bad that I left her in the same country where she did not know anyone.
I tried to comfort her by telling her that I was not scared. I knew I could take care of myself.
I did a little research about this incident and was shocked to learn that many women travel alone to India.
I asked my Indian wife about this. Her response, in a nutshell, was that “it is safer than America”.
I guess America is in a recession and you can see a psychiatrist on Monday and get a prescription for Viagra on Tuesday.
Men still enjoy it in India. A man who is taken to the guest house by his wife has no recourse.
He can’t go to the police or the court. And I’m not saying that a man who does that is likely to get even.
He may not even be the one to call the police. For the police, it is merely a case of “misunderstanding.”
But if the wife gets upset at the fact that she is being abused, there is no one she can turn to.
Women do not have the same protections and legal protections that American women enjoy.
That is one of the big differences between the “West” and India.
Men are expected to pay for their wives ’ trips.
In many countries, the husband does pay, but in India, it is the husband’s responsibility to pay for his wife’s trip, unless he lives in a country where he pays “Janta” (tax).
The wife pays for all other expenses on the trip.
Once they have enough money to stay in the hotel, the wife has the opportunity to earn money, by offering sexual favors to the foreign businessmen, who are based there.
The Foreigners’ Bureau is aware of these “financial arrangements”.
In fact, I am told that every major hotel in India has an official “escort” who is supposed to satisfy the husbands’ desires and earn enough money to support her.
But she is not the hotel owner’s employee. So even if she comes back with plenty of cash, the hotel owner is not obligated to give her a job or a place to stay.
She can sleep on the street if she doesn’t want to work. I spoke to one young lady, who I am told was a courtesan, who told me that the girl who worked for the hotel would also take all of the tips from the men she serviced, then get up and leave. That is the kind of income that the hotels do not want.
Foreigners who visit India often ask me how safe it is to travel in India. My response is always the same. It depends on how you travel and who you are traveling with.
You can’t travel with friends and acquaintances. When you are traveling alone, you have no recourse against anyone in India who sexually abuses you.