Diseases of the Mind, From India

Last week I decided to go to the grand opening of Winco, a store that is comparable to Wal-Mart.  The parking lot was packed with vehicles and people.  Once I got into the store I thought that I would be able to walk through and check out some of the bargains, but I was sorely mistaken.  There were hundreds of people throughout the store.  There was no way to causally stroll down the aisles.  I was surrounded by people on all sides and trying to pick up some of the great advertised deals.  While I was near the bulk almonds and waiting my turn there were shoppers all around trying to get some of the other bulk items near me.  It was at this moment when I started to get paranoid.  I realized most of the shoppers around me were male and I began to imagine that they were going to touch me inappropriately.  I tried to maneuver myself so that I was out of there way and so that there was no way they could touch me, but as soon as I moved out of the way of one male shopper I was in the way of another. After a few seconds of paranoid thoughts and maneuvers my mind started to say, “This is not India, this is Utah.  Men won’t do that here.”  I would then start to feel more relaxed, but then a male would reach close to me to get a product and all the paranoia would start again.

I was in the crowded store for an hour and a half and not once did a male try to touch me.  NOT ONCE!  If I were walking to the crowded vegetable market in Kochi, the number of times that someone would try to touch me, or succeed at doing so, would definitely be in the double  digits.

Will this fear that a man in a crowd is going to touch me ever go away?  Will I always feel paranoid when I am in a crowd of men?  Will this disease of the mind that originated in Kochi, where male perversion runs high, ever leave me?



Incredible Indian Remedies

Every time I have felt ill in one way or another my in-laws seem to have a home remedy to fix the problem. I haven’t tried everything because I haven’t had all the ailments, but those that I have tried seem to work. My favorite remedy that works like a charm is #1. My hubby taught me this while we were dating and it works every time.

1. Headache: tie a thorth (South Indian towel) tightly around the top of your head until pain goes away. When I have a bad migraine I tie the thorth and go lay down in a dark room to sleep.

2. Diarrhea: #1:Break mustard seeds by roasting them in a pan. Add water and boil.  Strain seeds out and drink the warm water (It kind of tastes like burnt popcorn).   #2: Boil guava leaves, strain, and drink water.

3. Cough: Chop up an onion and then mash it up add some sugar and take a bite.

4. Congestion: Mix dried ginger, black pepper,  and tulsi leaves (Holy Basil) with coffee and sugar and drink up.

5. Vomiting: Eat ice cream. (Not sure if this is really an Indian remedy.  I am thinking it is more of a Jinaraj family remedy.)

If you have any other home remedies, leave a comment  I would love to hear about them.



The Farmhouse in Kandanad

Here are some pics and a video from when we went to the farmhouse in Kandanad.

Liji and his homemade windmill

mmmm coconut water


My father-in-law and Davis and the coconuts

Picking up a coconut with the coconut knife

Newly planted banana trees starting to come up

Baby coconut and fully grown coconut


Cashew plucked fresh from tree. The fruit part was really sweet and waxy.



Weekly Trip to the Market

After being in an Indian household for five months I was in desperate need of some non-curry-laden food.  I just wanted some bland raw or steamed fruits and veggies.  That’s it, raw or steamed with no spices or oil.  So for the last five weeks or so I have been making a weekly trip to the outdoor fruit and vegetable market.  Every week on the drive home I am in awe at how cheap everything is.   The prices are fractions of what they would be in the U.S.  Here is what I purchased this week with the prices:

1 kg peas, 1kg sweet potatoes, 6 small tomatoes, 3 cucumbers= Rs.70=$1.51

2 different kinds of mangos (large)=Rs 36= $0.77

Average size pineapple= Rs 24= $0.51

Altogether= Rs 130=$2.79

Amazing, right?



Kerala, from a Woman’s Point of View

I feel like I am trapped.

I have lost all sense of myself since coming here.

I am living someone’s life. Who’s? Not mine.

Before I made the move to Kerala I was so excited.  My husband and I both were excited.  I had been here before and loved it. Maybe I loved it because it was a vacation and not a life move.  I have been here for almost five months now.  I am engulfed in the culture, and I am struggling.

I am struggling mostly because I am a woman in this society.  Kerala is a male dominated society.  Everything positive I had heard about the lives women lead here in Kerala was false.  Little did I know, the respect this society has for women is purely a myth.  Yes, life in Kerala for women has come a long way from where is used to be, but it is nowhere near where it should be in today’s world.

When I go out on the street I have learned to walk as far away from others as I can.  The reason is because I have had so many men touch me inappropriately and then act like it was a mistake.  I now understand the reason for women’s lines in all public places.  Really, though, the women’s lines don’t work.  While the women are in the line, men are harassing them from the men’s line.  This is the same reason there is a woman’s area on all buses.  That doesn’t work either because once the bus has more people then the capacity allows there are plenty of men in there copping a feel acting like they can’t help it.

I was at  the movies a couple weeks ago and the theater was packed.  The guy that was sitting next to me slowly kept moving his arm into my seat until I was squished into the other side of the seat so that he wouldn’t touch me.  Seriously, almost the entire right side of his body was in my chair.  My husband switched seats with me in the middle of the movie and all of the sudden the guy and all of his body parts never made it over the barrier of his chair.

Young women in Kerala now are more career oriented than ever, but it doesn’t last long.  Once women get married they find their husband doesn’t want a working woman so she is forced to quit her job and stay home.  Men expect the woman to run the house and cook all the meals and that is what happens here.

It seems that everyday there is a news story about how a woman in India got raped or molested.  The sad part about the news stories is that there is ALWAYS someone saying that it is the woman’s fault.  One such story was about a rickshaw driver who raped a woman.  It was her fault because she needed to go somewhere and had to take a rickshaw?  The really really really messed up part is that in every story there seems to always be a politician saying that it’s the woman’s fault for the rape or molestation.  Who is electing these politicians?  The women who are reporting these crimes is a very small percentage.  Once a rape or molestation is reported often times the woman’s family is embarrassed of their daughter or wife.  She will sometimes get shunned by her own family.

I have met so many guys in their early 20’s that want to meet a woman, but say it is tough in Kerala.  They say that women here are standoffish and not interested.  Well, society has made them that way.

Women hold office, can drive, work, and can do anything a man can do, but they are not respected for any of that.  Men ignore all of that and the woman in India has one title that stands above all; WOMAN. She will be ridiculed and put down and forced to change her life because the man said so.

To the rest of India, Kerala looks great because it has the highest educated population and close to 100% literacy. Education and literacy will do nothing for your state as long as society lives like it is in the dark ages.  Kerala also has the highest suicide rate. In fact the suicide rate here in Kerala is more than double the rest of India.

Don’t believe all of the great stuff that you hear about women lives in Kerala.   I scoff when I hear people say that women in Kerala live comparable lives to women in developed countries.  It just isn’t true.