Dec. 21, 2008 – Marriage Proposal!…Business Proposal!…And Shopping
This has been a most interesting day full of surprises. It is now 8 in the evening and I am listening, and dancing, to my folkdancing music, getting ready to eat my kitcheri, and trying absorb and digest all that has happened today.
So, let’s just begin at the beginning. I had mentioned this guy who came to ask me some questions for his research project about 10 days ago and I had mentioned that the only problem I have in India is that I can only get a visa for 6 months and then must be out of the country for 6 months before getting another one. He said he would check and see if he could find a way for me to get a permanent resident visa, or Indian passport. OK.. sounded good.
A couple of days ago he asked to meet me and so today I met him at 1 to hear what he had found out. His idea was, that I MARRY HIM! He is 23 years old! Well, first I just laughed because I thought he was joking. It is true that is probably the easiest way to get permanent resident status, to marry an India…but certainly
not something I would ever think of doing. Then I realized he was serious. He already went and got permission from his father! And went to see the family lawyer in Dehra Dun who said he would take care of all the paper work and bribing necessary for such a thing. He went on to explain (me just sitting there staring at him …I couldn’t think of anything to say at first), that we would have to say we are love and have known each other for the last two years, and despite our age difference (!) we decided to get married and have both our families blessings. It would then take a month after the wedding for me to get my status changed. Then we would have to stay married for a year and then could get divorced. I would still retain my status (or so he says). We wouldn’t have to live together as many Indian men work far away from their wives and it is a common situation here. He just kept going on and on…finally my brain started working again and I asked what’s in it for him. He first, very clearly, let me know that he is not looking for my money as his family is well to do and he now works as a lecturer. He has a MA in biotechnology and teaches this at the local government College. He is expected to work one hour a day (!) and gets paid 15,000 rupees a month for that! Says in a years time he will be earning double that. And he gives none to his family since he is the youngest son and has no responsibility to anyone but himself. He went on to say that he wants to do something different than everyone else…something exciting. I mentioned that there are lots of young beautiful western women around who would be glad to give him some excitement and he wouldn’t have to marry them. And that even he married me, he understands it would be fictitious. I also mentioned that it seemed like it would be a problem for him later on when he REALLY wanted to get married to find a girl from a good family who would marry a divorced man. He had an argument for everything and seemed intent on actually doing this. So I asked “Ok, where would we live?”…and he said anywhere I’d want to…he earns enough for a nice house anywhere I would want to live. I then mentioned that I would not cook, clean , do laundry etc…and he said of course I wouldn’t. There would be servants for that! In the end, I told him I didn’t think it would be practical because I would have to leave the country all the time and he said that would be no problem either. So, I finally told him that actually, it really isn’t something I would do just to get a permanent resident status because I could not live an untruth like that even if other people do it all the time. Nothing I said phased him. In the end I simply said I’d speak to other people and give him my answer in a few days. Obviously it is not something I am considering, but just imagine if I was more adventurous. It could even be fun!! Whatever…it was fun listening to his excitement and his obviously being convinced that I would say yes and within a couple of weeks we would be married!!!
Anyway, after that, I had to go down to Laxman Jhula to pick up a necklace I had bought the other day which had to be shortened. On the way down I met my friend, Indian, the healer and laughingly told him the story of the marriage proposal. Well, after he also couldn’t really figure it out…he just assumed at first, as I did, that he was looking for easy money or a visa to Israel…but that wasn’t true…so he really couldn’t figure it. But he also thought it was funny, but then seriously asked me about the visa problem which I explained to him. So HE offered me a business deal. He has a business license and export license although he hasn’t done any business in 8 years, but he said he would find out if there was any way he could take advantage of his status to “hire” me to export some things to Israel for him and thereby get me a business visa. This could actually be a possibility and we are both looking into it. He then said that he has a friend, who has been asking him for a couple of years to help set up a program for tourists to come and have spiritual sojourns in the area combined with trekking etc. His friend is a yoga master, he himself is a healer, they already have a massage therapist interested and he would want me to come in as a Reiki Master but also to do some administrative management and help them deal with the “whims” of Westerners who I understand better than they do. He is going to set up a meeting with his friend. I have no great hopes or expectations from this, as I’ve been offered things before by Indians, but you never know. And I like this guy. I know him for a couple of years and he is a “real” person…Could be an interesting partnership.
And from there, I went down to continue my day, and because I now have access to a centrally located toilet, I can spend much more time out than I used to be able to. Today dawned cloudy for the third day in a row, but by 2 the sun was out and another 2 weeks of this lovely weather, most unseasonable, is predicted. Daytime highs of 24-25 and lows of 4-9. It is just perfect. So, although dressed a little too warm, I continued down and went to pick up my necklace which is really lovely. And then stopped at another more expensive, REAL jewelry shop, to pick up something which einat had made for her. (She is in an ashram retreat for a few weeks). Well, while there, I just couldn’t resist trying on some of the beautiful rings he had available. He designs most of them and the gemstones are high quality and they are either silver, silver and gold mixed, or gold, and he has a very good reputation for quality. Well, I tried on ring after ring and ALL were beautiful and even fit me, which is a big problem for my fingers. He knew exactly what would look good on my hand, and even on which finger. Of course the things I picked were VERY expensive, and then I asked for cheaper things, but in the end, I bought the cheapest of the expensive rings and another less expensive one which he is making up for me in a different gemstone. This is the first time I have ever bought real stuff for myself. I always buy the cheap fake stuff…It was really hard picking, especially since I was alone there. But he had such good taste and seemed to know exactly what was good for my hand…I hope my choices are successful. I’m happy with them and that’s what’s important. I was very happy when I left.
And tonight is the first candle of chanuka, and about an hour ago, instead of the usual puja chanting I usually hear in the evening, I heard the music all the way from laxman Jhula where Beit chabad was lighting candles. No mistaking Hasidic music, even when it wafts up on the wind from far away. Maybe tomorrow I will stay out later and stay for candle lighting.
And that’s my day. It is now 9 PM and I will get into bed, watch a little “TV”, maybe give into the urge and eat a little chocolate (I have this wonderful homemade chocolate which I buy here…also home made yellow cheese…all soooooooo delicious). The days just follow each other, each one different and each one perfect.