Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shaadi time!

Am in the middle of fieldwork, and it's shaadi time in the villages. Everyone who's 16-21 is getting married, and everyone who's not is either thinking about when they'll get married, or is arranging a suitable match between a girl and a boy. Love is in the air, and romance, and flirtations, and full-fledged affairs, all making me want to get married or at least fall in love.

Went to Palla for a 'chaandlo' invite (where guests contribute money to kin for major expenses like building a house) where saw married (and mothered) friend Chandraben meet her old love Jesingbhai. She'd called him on the phone to say she was coming to Palla, and he sauntered over from the neihbouring hamlet after we reached. Chandra- tall, dark, long-boned with big eyes. Jesing- brown, with a boyish haircut, glistening skin and tired eyes that lit up. Chandra excused herself from the chaandlo complaining of a headache.
The rest of us returned from the chaandlo lunch 3 hours later to find an overwhelmed Chandra rising from the cot where she was lying, and an emotional Jesing, stoic and silent, sitting facing her. They were in the middle of an intense conversation which we'd interrupted. Jesing's walked us 3 kilometres back to Randkhikpur and gave a packet of meetha paan-masala for each of Chandra's friends.

The next morning, I'm waiting at the talati's office, falling asleep- he's an hour late, and Dalsingbhai (a host) is waiting for his work too. Idle conversation, and then Dalsing says, 'It'll be nice for you to have someone to do this with (research) rather than wandering everywhere alone.' I say 'Ummmmm'. And Dalsing says after considered thought, "Don't you feel like having a prem-prasang? (Love affair)."
I'M totally astounded. The man is thinking that I'm 28 and definitely need to get a life.