To love what there is

This week was Valentine’s week and just about two weeks ago Ajita told something interesting about love.
Ajita was our local guide for one day in Cochin, a port city in the state of Kerala in south India. She is a fascinating woman in her early 40’s, married and a mother of 2 daughters. She is a professional math teacher, born and raised locally.

Ajita was our guide not by coincidence. Being a small group of four travelling together in Kerala, we specifically requested a female tour guide. Long ago we realized that women make better tour guides – their pronunciation in English, as a second language, is usually clearer and they tend to be more sensitive and open to talk about subjects which are not directly related to touristic ‘dry’ information.

So we were lucky to get Ajita as our guide, one of only four women guides in Cochin.

One sentence about Kerala – It is a long and narrow state on the shore of the Arabian Sea, a tropical state close to the equator, full of coconut trees and backwaters. It is considered to be one of the main world centers for the production of spices.

We asked Ajita about the women status in Kerala and this led to an interesting conversation. It turns out that many years back Kerala used to be a Matriarchic state, but not anymore. According to Ajita, men in Kerala today are lazy and don’t take part in daily house work and in raising the kids, but since women in Kerala are educated and participating in the work force the burden on them is huge.

In Kerala people are very conservative and therefore, keeping a girl’s virginity until she marries is of top priority. Dowry paid by the girl’s parents when she marries is enormous and for these two reasons raising girls is a big burden for the parents. They need to watch her closely and keep her virginity until she marries, and when she marries, they have to deepen their hands in their pockets. The less beautiful or talented the girl is, the more the dowry price goes up. To remind you, Ajita has two daughters, not a simple burden, according to what she just described.  

Most marriages, about 95%, are arranged marriages as opposed to love marriage. But still divorce rate is very low.  “Reason is very simple,” Ajita tells us in surprising frankness, “sex outside marriage is a valuable commodity and marriage life makes it available like an oasis. Keep in mind that single women keep their virginity; prostitution exists but is not popular in such a conservative state, so men do not have many women they can be with.”

Ajita then added that some divorced couples choose to reunite after a few years just because of this reason that “sex is a haven of rest in marriage life.” 

“If most couples are married as a result of arranged marriage and not out of love,” we asked, “what happens when there is no love?” Ajita looked at us as if she is surprised by our question and answered without doubt: “they will learn to love one another!”


I pondered on the wisdom in Ajita’s instinctive reply. How often do we tend to remain in relationships where there is no longer love and excitement and give up the need to invest in them? And on the other hand, we also don’t chose to separate. So perhaps we can learn to love, as Ajita said, what there is?

A smart man once said: to love those we love is easy, but the real challenge is to love those we don’t…

Happy Valentine’s week
Fireworks (49)
Shuka, Thursday, February 18, 2010      

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Congratulations!This is a nice English Blog you have.
You bring again an interesting story.
Learn to Love.

Thank you.

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