When I arrived in New Delhi, there was someone waiting for me: V., my driver. I was shocked when I saw him the first time, because he looks like my ex. An ex I haven’t seen for fifteen years now. I thought it was funny that V. would be my travel companion for the two weeks I spent in India.
V. is very young. And because of that, he wasn’t that careful. He didn’t speak a very good english. I was often lost in translation whenever we tried to talk with each other. But he was kind with me, and didn’t want me to walk alone in the streets of the cities I visited. He would also always bring me something whenever we stopped. Some candies, chewing gums,…
Because he was young, the other drivers often watched him carefully. On our way to Jaisalmer, a motorcycle hit our car when we crossed the road of a village. V. got out and saw the damages, but people quickly gathered around the car. An old man, the so-called wise man of the village, came to us, looked at the car, and told V. there was no accident. V. came back in the car and drove away.
I understood that day codes and casts still rule the society in India. V. asked me if in my country there are a lot of love marriages. I replied to him people do get married because they fell in love, but because of that, many couples go belly up after years of marriage. Love is not enough to make a marriage sustainable. In India, arranged marriages are still the rule.
But V. told me he was going to get married because they fell in love. “We needed our family approval. But we got it” he said, with a big smile on his face.
V. is lucky. Because in India, it is still difficult to marry someone who’s not from the same caste or the same religion. And if your family doesn’t approve your choice, your union can be doomed. This is why some have reacted against this, like the love commandos.
The punishment for getting married against your family will can be deadly in India. Unfortunately, the one who gets killed is the bride, because women still carry the honor of their family. Honor crimes are still happening. That’s really sad.
As for V., I just wish him the best. When he drove me back to the airport, he gave me a small statue of Ganesh, the God of good luck in hinduism. He said I need it.
Ganesh is the God every Hindu pray whenever they start a new project, especially a marriage. V. got a Ganesh statue in his car too.