Monday, January 07, 2013

Look around before you utter the "d" word

It was an odd combination of foggy haze in the distant hills with the scorching sun beating down on us.  I shudder to even think about the summer days in this part of the world!

We rested a while.  I sat by myself (so, what's new!) and reviewed the photos.

A long time ago, a friend advised me to click as much as possible when being a tourist because you might never go there again.  Like an obedient student, that is what I do when going to new places.  I end up sharing less than a fifth of those shots--though I don't know a damn thing about photography, I have my own criteria to filter the bad from the good and the excellent ones!

A couple of minutes later, the guide and the lad sidled up beside me.  "Photos look?" the guide asked.

I help up the camera for them and kept advancing though the images.  They seemed happy.  Of course, they had also been taking photos throughout; my guess is that they wanted to see themselves in my shots.

As I put that away, the guide asked, "where is madam?"

A question about wife and children is always to be expected in India.  It is a part of the conversations.

"No wife" I replied.  "Divorced."

It was clear he hadn't expected that response.  Perhaps because to him, too, divorce continues to be a dreaded "d" word in India.  It might even be acceptable to share everything related to the cancer one might be suffering from--it is no "c" word--but divorce is another thing all together.

My parents hadn't even updated their domestic help that I am divorced.  When she asked me why my wife hadn't joined me on the trip, my eyes shifted to my parents with a look of "what? you haven't told her this from a while ago?"  They stepped in with the Tamil word for divorce.  She didn't ask me anything after that.

I felt that it was my responsibility to put the guide at ease.  I showed him one of my favorite photos of my daughter--at her medical school graduation--which I have retained in the camera over the years.  "This is my daughter" I told him.

He nodded his head.  And seemed to think about the question he could ask me.  After some hesitation he asked, "daughter married?"  I said yes.

The guide was definitely thinking a lot more.  A minute or so later came the next question.  "So, daughter wedding before or after the divorce" and I answered that too.

"But, you not married?" he seemed incredulous.  It seemed like he would gladly find me a bride from his hometown.

I laughed.  We resumed the hike.

1 comment:

Ramesh said...

Yeah, its a not a "comfortable" word in this part of the world.

But what were you doing with a guide ? You need a guide in India ??