Marriage in the Air: Jul. 12th
Back in India! The house has remained intact through the monsoons. The only major casualty was the phone line, which died. Luckily we have another spare phone, which we are holding for Apple, when we need it.
The really big news is that Jude’s sister has been engaged. The family found a distantly related family in the village of ChitraDurga, about 100 kilometers away. This means that the family is about a three-hour drive away. The groom to be is an auto mechanic, who has his own shop, complete with a contract to fix all the government cars in the area. The engagement party was held, at a cost of 60,000 rupees, and the dowry consisting of things like gold, saris, etc., will be an additional 100,000 rupees (a lac). Jude earns 40,000 rupees a year. This is 4 times his yearly salary! His father has a pension of 7200 rupees a year. They have each taken a loan to pay off the marriage. Prestige, of the moment, is everything, and the marriage ceremony is the ruination of many poor families.
Of course marriage is also the ruination of many rich families as well. The ex-chief minister of Tamil Nadu (a chief minister is our equivalent of a state governor) is an ex-actress named Jayalitha. Like Evita, she rose to prominence on the tails of her playmate, a powerful Tamil politician, and when he died, she quickly seized power and became the chief tyrant. An enormous woman, she likes to have her sycophants kneel before her and address her as a goddess. Her last major act was to marry off godchild in a wedding estimated to cost around 40 crores ($12 million). Another 40 crore of state money was spent on things like electricity, police, transport, etc. Now where does a governor get this kind of money you might ask? So did the populace, who threw their chappals (shoes) at her during her reelection campaign speeches. She got less than 5% of the vote.