D58. Oct 28 . Entering a parallel universe

So. On Monday I flew from Taipei to Delhi, with three hours stop at the Shanghai airport. The first plane was full of Chinese citizen, the second plane full of Indians. I sat first. Next to the window. The seat next to me, the aisle seat, remained empty quite some time, and I was thinking I would fly with nobody next to me, which is always good news when you want to sleep. Finally, just before we took off, an Indian man came to the seat. But didn’t seat. He seemed very upset. Finally, he said something to his wife who was seating a couple of rows from here. And they exchanged seats. He sat next to his friends; she sat next to me. I was so pissed. She shyly said “hello”. I had to make a big effort to answer. “Hi”.

Capture d’écran 2013-10-30 à 08.42.14

I spent seven hours with that woman, who was clearly curious about me, so I finally calmed down. She comes from a wealthy family, father was a lawyer, brothers are doing pretty well, one of them works for the Delhi government. She studied education but never got to become a teacher. She married that guy who doesn’t sit with women in planes, a doctor. She sometimes follows him when he goes to congresses, her daughter is studying law, and she has authority problems with her boy, who is sixteen. No kidding.

Of course, my travel stories are light-years from hers.

She is nice, she says I’m right to do so, that she would have liked to do the same. She tries to understand. Ho, I don’t leave at my parents’ place anymore? At what age did you leave your parents home? Do you have siblings? Did you brother left home as well? You are in your late twenties?  You didn’t get married?

She lives in Cashmere and offered me to spend a month at her place. We exchange phone numbers. She uses Whatsapp a lot to catch up with her friends. She wants to connect and know more about the world, does she explain.

Capture d’écran 2013-10-30 à 09.02.14

Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi. I’ve asked for the hotel to organize a pick up for me. It is two in the morning and taxis, at night, can be tricky.
My driver is looking for “Mister Nedjar”. As I am a woman, he barely believes that I am who I pretend to be. I have to show him my ID. Calm down Steph, calm down.
As I try to make sure we are driving in the good direction, we have a nice chat. He is of course asking me what I’m doing here, when my husband will join me, etc. So I explain. I will be alone for a while at the hotel, waiting for my fiancé to join me (in real life Fabien, who will join me in ten days or so is just a friend), and then we will have a motorbike tour of Rajasthan…
“Did I get the authorization from my parents to travel?”
I don’t believe what I’m hearing. Do I really look like I’m 25???
But then I understand better.
“My mother didn’t authorize me to go for the week-end in the mountains with my bike”.
But the guy isn’t 25 neither. Probably 30/35, married, a daughter of three and a babe, the mum lives with them. And controls everything.

mother

He has a Royal Enfield 350 cc motorbike, that he share s with his brother.
“You are right to do that now”, he says. “Because later, you have to work, take care of kids, listen to wife”.
“Sure”, do I answer warmly. Listen to wife. Oh my gosh, I’m gonna spend one month here…

 

 

7 thoughts on “D58. Oct 28 . Entering a parallel universe

  1. I have had similar experience years ago when I traveled in China. Back then, my name was always quoted as Mr on the hotel pick-up board. At the hotel counter when I checked in, I was always addressed as Mr when in fact I was standing right in front of the hotel staff!

  2. I have had similar experience years ago when I traveled in China. Back then, my name was always quoted as Mr on the hotel pick-up board. At the hotel counter when I checked in, I was also addressed as Mr when in fact I was standing right in front of the hotel staff!

  3. You mustn’t be that surprised : you’ve tasted the sweet taste of the cultural gap during your last trip in India, haven’t you ? ^^
    Your 10 days alone are going to be tough… I really hope eveyrthing will be fine. I really don’t like the idea of you, alone, surrounded by such contempt, eventhough I’m not sure of choosing the right word.
    All my touhghts for those 10 days ! And we’re now only 4 hours away, don’t hesitate to call (even if the girls are only getting back this week end ! ^^)

  4. Did I ever tell you that I have a half-n-half friend (Vasque-Asturian) since my NY high school times that is now married to an Indian guy and has 2 kids?… all I read in this chapter reminds me of her life… and how lucky I am !

  5. I can imagine your face! Have fun and don’t let these cultural things get to you. Just think how lucky you are living where you live (where men think the same but don’t dare express it !!)

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