Happy Valentine’s Day

Saturday, 14 February, 2009

So the people who threatened to do this actually did it.

They attacked some people in the area that I live in in Haryana. Now, too bad the extremists were such idiots when they beat the man and the woman — they were brother and sister. The sister had come to visit her brother, a student at the University here. They saw the couple walking down the street and immediately surmised they were boyfriend and girlfriend/lovers celebrating Valentine’s Day. They must feel mega stupid after bitch slapping the woman and beating the man only to discover they are siblings, not lovers.

It’s a funny thing because a month ago when Colin and I were driving around I noticed that the younger generation of Indian females didn’t dress as modestly as when my Indian friends and I were growing up. In which Colin and I had a lengthy discussion about how much Western culture has had an impact on the Indian nation.

I think the biggest influence the West has had on India is the skin color thing. Find me a culture that was colonized by a Western empire and I’ll show you more people who want to be white…as evidenced by the Garnier Skin Whitening Regime by L’Oreal and the Gentle Skin Whitening for Men from a local supplier. I often joke with Colin and say, "You’re white so you must be right!"

Anyway, back to the whole thing up top that I linked to — the people who committed that crime are Hindu extremists and are often called the Hindu Taliban. They want to preserve Indian culture and frown upon kissing in Bollywood movies (I knew that was a no-no while growing up), discourage interracial marriages and want to rid the nation of speaking English…Well, it’s ambitious, but it’s a start?

While just living here for the past month and a half, I’ve noticed that India is slowly turning its back on its culture. I mean, there are still some things that are inherently India, but now it’s a celebration of Western culture and not Indian. It’s sad and I think a nation as beautiful as this, where the people are kind to each other and strangers will eventually turn into cold-hearted Westerns brings me great alarm. Little by little the West is slowly taking over a country that is rich in history and tradition.

Some say Westernization is good, but I think finding that right balance for your people and economy is much more important. Like the French (and I know people aren’t fond of the French), I love how they go to great lengths to preserve their language and their culture. Very rarely do they let many outside influences shake the foundation of their identity. Mock the French all you like, but they are solid and knowing in who they are and what their history means to them.

I truly hope the Indian people find a way to balance the West and the preservation of their cultural identity as it’d be a shame if it got lost in the shuffle.

Anyway, today was a bit stressful because Colin had been sick on Tuesday and was shivering on Wednesday. We thought it was a bout of Delhi poops and he took his meds and slept. Thursday he noticed something odd on his foot and made an appointment with the doctor for Tuesday. Today (Saturday), we were supposed to go out and roam around Chandni Chawk in Delhi, then hit the movies to finally see Slumdog Millionaire. We didn’t. Prior to stepping out he showed me something on his foot…and I nixed the idea and strongly suggested that we go to the hospital. Colin called his boss and we ended up going to a hospital just down the street called the Artemis, which had been recommended by his boss Manwen, whose friend is an internal medicine guy there.

Now, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into. I really didn’t.

We had Colin go in, request to see a doctor (the one that we were told to see wasn’t there, so we ended up with the head of internal medicine coming to see him) and was diagnosed in under 30 minutes…only to discover it was a bacterial infection and they wanted to check him in and monitor him FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS!

So, Valentine’s Day plans thwarted…but omgomgomgomgomg what an awesome hospital Artemis is…it’s cleaner, more organized and really does make UCSF and Stanford look mega ghetto. I can’t believe the ease in checking in just to see a doctor…and the relative cheapness of it all. We’ve discovered that a single bed executive suite costs $100 a day and since Colin will be staying for 3 days, insurance immediately kicked in. The hospital and the insurance company exchanged phone calls and faxes et voila it was all taken care of in under an additional 30 minutes.

While we were waiting a whole 5 minutes for Colin to be seen by the Head of Internal Medicine, we were ushered into this…incredible waiting room that was utterly serene with a server waiting to hand us tea and sandwiches while we waited. It was truly first class service all the way. I posted some pics up on facebook:




For anyone that has any reservations about visiting India, thinking it’s this totally uncivilized place is completely wrong…it’s a different culture, but it’s fairly Westernized. I think people from the US would get spoiled here and never want to go back!

– Carina –

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