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1 . R ic e T heory : W hy E aste rn C ult u re s A re M ore C oopera tiv e

N PR .O RG M ay 8 , 2 014

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T e am work n eeded: S ucce ssfu lly g ro w in g r ic e r e q uir e s v illa ges to w ork to geth er to b uild ir rig atio n

s yste m s a nd g et th e c ro p p la nte d. B y c o m pa ris o n, w heat is e asie r to g ro w .

A sk A m eric a ns to d escrib e th em se lv e s, a n d c h ance s a re y o u’l l g et a dje ctiv e s lik e ” e nerg etic ,”

” fr ie ndly ” o r ” h ard -w ork in g.”

I n J a pan, th e r e sp onse s w ould lik e ly b e m uch d if f e re n t. ” D ependent o n o th ers ” a nd

” c o nsid era te ” m ig ht p op u p, s tu die s h ave fo und.

P sych olo gis ts h ave k n ow n fo r a lo ng tim e th at p eople in E ast A sia th in k d if f e re n tly , o n a ve ra ge,

t h an d o th ose in th e U .S . a nd E uro pe. E aste rn e rs in deed te nd to b e m ore c o opera tiv e a nd

i n tu it iv e , w hile W este rn ers le an to w ard in div id ualis m a nd a naly tic a l th in kin g.

N ow p sych olo gis ts h ave e vid ence th at o ur a nce sto rs p la nte d s o m e o f th ese c u lt u ra l d if f e re nce s

h undre ds o f y e ars a go w hen th ey c h ose w hic h g ra in s to s o w . ” W e c a ll it th e r ic e th eory ,” s a ys

T hom as T a lh elm , a g ra duate s tu dent a t t h e U niv e rs it y o f V ir g in ia w ho le d th e s tu dy. ” R ic e is a

r e ally s p ecia l k in d o f fa rm in g.”

T he id ea is s im ple . G ro w in g r ic e te nds t o fo ste r c u lt u re s th at a re m ore c o opera tiv e a nd

i n te rc o nnecte d, T a lh elm a nd h is c o lle agu es e xp la in T hurs d a y in th e jo urn a l S cie nce .W hy?

B eca use fa rm in g r ic e p addie s r e quir e s c o lla bora tio n w it h y o ur n eig hbors , T a lh elm te lls T he S alt .

S elf – re lia nce is d angero us.

” F am ilie s h ave to flo od a nd d ra in th eir fie ld a t th e s a m e tim e,” h e s a ys. ” S o th ere a re

p unis h m ents fo r b ein g to o in div id ualis tic . If y o u flo od to o e arly , y o u w ould r e a lly p is s o ff y o ur

n eig hbors .” R ic e p addie s a ls o r e quir e ir r ig atio n s yste m s. ” T hat c o st fa lls o n th e v illa ge, n ot ju st

o ne fa m ily ,” h e s a ys. ” S o v illa ges h ave t o fig ure o ut a w ay to c o ord in ate a nd p ay fo r a nd

m ain ta in th is s yste m . It m ake s p eople c o o pera te .”

W heat, o n th e o th er h and, a s w ell a s b arle y a nd c o rn , d oesn ‘t g enera lly r e q uir e ir rig atio n — o r

m uch c o lla bora tio n. O ne fa m ily a lo ne c a n p la nt, g ro w a nd h arv e st a fie ld o f w heat, w it h out th e

h elp o f o th ers .

S o w heat fa rm in g fo ste rs c u lt u re s w it h m ore in div id ualis m , in dependence a nd in nova tio n,

T a lh elm a nd h is c o lle agues s a y. S elf – re li a nce a nd in nova tio n a re r e w ard e d.

S olit u de a nd s e lf – re lia nce : F arm in g c o rn a nd w heat h is to ric a lly h as r e q uir e d le ss la bor a nd

d ependency o n o th ers in a c o m munit y .

O f c o urs e , p ro posin g th is r ic e th eory is e a sy. D em on str a tin g th at fa rm in g s ty le s a ctu ally d riv e

c u lt u ra l c h anges is m uch h ard er. T o s ta rt to d o th at, T a lh elm a nd h is c o lle agues tu rn ed to a

c o untr y th at h is to ric a lly fa rm ed b oth w heat a nd r ic e : C hin a. F or g enera tio ns, th e p eople in th e

n orth ern h alf o f C hin a h ave g enera lly g ro w n w heat, w hile th ose in th e s o uth ern h alf h ave

f o cu se d o n r ic e . A nd g uess w hic h p eople p eople te nd to th in k m ore lik e W este rn ers ? T he

n orth ern ers w hose a nce sto rs fa rm ed w he at.

T a lh elm a nd h is c o lle agues g ave s im ple p sych olo gic a l te sts to a bout a th ousa nd c o lle ge

s tu dents fr o m b oth p arts o f C hin a. S tu de nts in th e n orth a nsw ere d th e q uestio ns m ore lik e

A m eric a ns a nd E uro peans: T hey te nded to b e m ore in div id ualis tic a nd u se m ore a naly tic a l

t h in kin g. T hose in th e s o uth a lig ned m ore w it h th e c u lt u re s in J a pan a nd K ore a .

O ne te st, fo r in sta nce , a ske d a p ers o n to d ra w h is s o cia l n etw ork , w it h c ir c le s r e p re se ntin g

h im se lf a nd h is fr ie nds. A m eric a ns te nd to d ra w th em se lv e s b ig ger th an th eir fr ie nds, a bout a

q uarte r o f a n in ch b ig ger. B ut J a panese d ra w th em se lv e s, o n a ve ra g e, a b it s m alle r th an th eir

f r ie nds, a p re vio us s tu dy fo und.

” A m eric a is N o. 1 w hen it c o m es to s e lf – in fla tio n,” T e lh elm s a ys. ” W e d ra w o urs e lv e s m uch

l a rg er th an fr ie nds. W e ta ke th at a s a m easu re o f s e lf – in fla tio n.”

W hen T a lh elm g ave th e s a m e s o cia l n etw ork te st to C hin ese s tu dents , th e a m ou nt o f

s e lf – in fla tio n d epended o n w here th e s tu d ents liv e d. P eo ple fr o m w heat- g ro w in g r e gio ns d re w

t h em se lv e s s lig htly la rg er th an th eir fr ie nd s, o n a ve ra g e. S tu dents fr o m th e r ic e -g ro w in g r e gio ns

d re w th em se lv e s s m alle r th an th eir fr ie nd s. L ik e W este rn e rs , p eople w hose a nce sto rs fa rm ed

w heat te nd to in fla te th eir o w n im porta nce m ore .

O f c o urs e , th e r ic e th eory is n ‘t th e o nly h yp o th esis fo r w hy E aste rn e rs a nd W este rn ers te nd to

t h in k d if f e re ntly .S om e s cie ntis ts h ave c h a lk e d u p th ese d if f e re n ce s to w ealt h a nd m odern iz a tio n:

A s s o cie tie s g et r ic h er a nd m ore e duca te d, p eople b eco m e m ore in div id ualis tic a nd a naly tic a l.

B ut th at id ea d oesn ‘t e xp la in th e c o opera tiv e c u lt u re s in J a pan, H ong K on g a nd S outh K ore a —

w hic h , in s o m e w ays, a re r ic h er th an th e U .S .

A nd th e s tu die s s u pportin g th is m odern iz a tio n id ea, s o fa r, h ave n’t b een a s s tr o n g a s th e c u rre nt

s tu dy in S cie nce , s a ys p sych olo gis t J o se ph H enric h , o f th e U niv e rs it y o f B rit is h C olu m bia , w ho

w asn ‘t in vo lv e d in th e w ork . ” T he [r ic e th eory ] id ea h as b een o ut th ere fo r a w hile ,” h e te lls T he

S alt . ” T his is r e ally th e fir s t s tu dy th at I k n o w o f w it h s yste m atic d ata s u pportin g it . O th er th eorie s

m ostly s te m fr o m v e ry s m all s tu die s a cro ss n atio nalit ie s. T he q ualit y o f th is s tu dy is b ette r th an

t h ose .”

B ut th ere ‘s s till m uch m ore w ork to b e d on e b efo re th e h yp oth esis is a cce pte d, H ein ric h s a ys.

” T his is o nly th e fir s t s tu dy a nd w e w ould w ant m uch m ore e vid ence b efo re w e d ecla re v ic to ry .”

A nd th e r ic e th eory d oesn ‘t e xp la in a ll th e p sych olo gic a l d if f e re n ce s o bse rv e d in th e s tu dents

f r o m th e n orth a nd s o uth o f C hin a.

” L ots o f o th er th in gs in th e e nvir o nm ent [b esid es r ic e fa rm in g] c a n c re a te th e s a m e p atte rn ,”

H enric h s a ys. ” T hese th in gs c a n la st fo r g enera tio ns. T hey b eco m e th e r ig ht w ay to d o th in gs.

A nd it ta ke s a w hile to g et a w ay fr o m th em .”

2 .B efo re E uro pean C hris tia ns F orc e d G ender R ole s, N ativ e A m eric a ns A ckn ow le dged F iv e

G enders B y P ears o n M cK in ney – J u ne 1 9, 2 016 w ww.b ip artis a nre port.c o m

I t w asn ’t u ntil E uro peans to ok o ve r N orth A m eric a th at n ativ e s a dopte d th e id eas o f g ender

r o le s. F or N ativ e A m eric a ns, th ere w as n o s e t o f r u le s th at m en a nd w om en h ad to a bid e b y in

o rd er to b e c o nsid ere d a “ n orm al” m em be r o f th eir tr ib e.

I n fa ct, p eople w ho h ad b oth fe m ale a nd m ale c h ara cte ris tic s w ere v ie w ed a s g if te d b y n atu re ,

a nd th ere fo re , a ble to s e e b oth s id es o f e ve ry th in g. A cco rd in g to In dia n C ountr y T o day, a ll n ativ e

c o m munit ie s a ckn ow le dged th e fo llo w in g g ender r o le s: “ F em ale , m ale , T w o S pir it fe m ale , T w o

S pir it m ale a nd T ra nsg endere d.”

“ E ach tr ib e h as th eir o w n s p ecif ic te rm , b u t th ere w as a n eed fo r a u niv e rs a l te rm th at th e

g enera l p opula tio n c o uld u nders ta nd. T he N ava jo r e fe r to T w o S pir it s a s N ádle ehí ( o ne w ho is

t r a nsfo rm ed), a m ong th e L ako ta is W in kté ( in dic a tiv e o f a m ale w ho h as a c o m pu ls io n to

b ehave a s a fe m ale ), N iiz h M anid oow ag ( tw o s p ir it ) in O jib w e, H em an eh ( h a lf m an, h alf w om an)

i n C heye nne, to n am e a fe w . A s th e p urp o se o f “ T w o S pir it ” is to b e u se d a s a u niv e rs a l te rm in

t h e E nglis h la nguage, it is n ot a lw ays tr a n sla ta ble w it h th e s a m e m ea nin g in N ativ e la nguages.

F or e xa m ple , in th e Ir o quois C hero ke e la n guage, th ere is n o w ay to tr a n sla te th e te rm , b ut th e

C hero ke e d o h ave g ender v a ria nce te rm s fo r ‘w om en w ho fe el lik e m en ’ a nd v ic e v e rs a .”

T he “ T w o S pir it ” c u lt u re o f N ativ e A m eric a ns w as o ne o f th e fir s t th in gs th at E uro p eans w ork e d

t o d estr o y a nd c o ve r u p. A cco rd in g to p eo ple lik e A m eric a n a rtis t G eorg e C atlin , th e T w o S pir it

t r a dit io n h ad to b e e ra dic a te d b efo re it c o uld g o in to h is to ry b ooks. C atlin s a id th e

t r a dit io n:“ ..M ust b e e xtin guis h ed b efo re it c a n b e m ore fu lly r e co rd e d.”

H ow eve r, it w asn ’t o nly w hit e E uro peans th at tr ie d to h id e a ny tr a ce o f n ativ e g ender b endin g.

A cco rd in g to In dia n C ountr y T o day, “ S panis h C ath olic m on ks d estr o ye d m ost o f th e A zte c

c o dic e s to e ra dic a te tr a dit io nal N ativ e b elie fs a nd h is to ry , in clu din g th ose th at to ld o f th e T w o

S pir it tr a dit io n.” T hro ughout th ese e ff o rts b y C hris tia ns, N ativ e A m eric a ns w ere fo rc e d to d re ss

a nd a ct a cco rd in g to n ew ly d esig nate d g ender r o le s.

O ne o f th e m ost c e le bra te d T w o S pir it s in r e co rd e d h is to ry w as a L ako ta w arrio r a ptly n am ed

F in ds T hem A nd K ills T hem . O sh -T is ch w as b orn a m ale a nd m arrie d a fe m ale , b ut a dorn ed

h im se lf in w om en’s c lo th in g a nd liv e d d aily lif e a s a fe m ale . O n J u ne 1 7 1 876, F in ds T hem A nd

K ills T hem g ain ed h is r e puta tio n w hen h e r e scu ed a fe llo w tr ib esm an d urin g th e B attle o f

R ose bud C re ek. A n a ct o f fe arle ss b ra ve ry . B elo w is a p ic tu re o f O sh -T is ch a nd h is w if e o n th e

r ig ht.

O sh -T is ch ( L eft) a nd h is w if e ( R ig ht)

I n N ativ e A m eric a n c u lt u re s, p eople w ere v a lu ed fo r th eir c o ntr ib utio ns to th e tr ib e, r a th er th an

f o r m ascu lin it y o r fe m in in it y . P are nts d id n ot a ssig n g ender r o le s to c h ild re n e it h er, a nd e ve n

c h ild re n’s c lo th in g te nded to b e g ender n e utr a l. T here w ere n o id eas o r id eals a bout h ow a

p ers o n s h ould lo ve ; it w as s im ply a n atu ra l a ct th at o ccu rre d w it h out ju dgem en t o r h esit a tio n.

W it h out a n egativ e s tig m a a tta ch ed to b ein g a T w o S pir it , th ere w ere n o in ner-tr ib al in cid ents o f

r e ta lia tio n o r v io le nce to w ard th e c h ose n p eople s im ply d ue to th e fa ct th at in div id uals id entif ie d

a s th e o pposit e o r b oth g enders .

“ T he T w o S pir it p eople in p re -c o nta ct N ativ e A m eric a w ere h ig hly r e ve re d a nd fa m ilie s th at

i n clu ded th em w ere c o nsid ere d lu cky. In d ia ns b elie ve d th at a p ers o n w ho w as a ble to s e e th e

w orld th ro ugh th e e ye s o f b oth g enders a t th e s a m e tim e w as a g if t fr o m T he C re ato r. ”

R elig io us in flu ence s s o on b ro ught s e rio u s p re ju dic e a gain st “ g e nder d iv e rs it y ,” a nd s o th is

f o rc e d o nce o penly a lt e rn ativ e o r a ndro gyn ous p eople to o ne o f tw o c h oic e s. T hey c o uld e it h er

l iv e in h id in g, a nd in fe ar o f b ein g fo und o ut, o r th ey c o uld e nd th eir liv e s. M an y o f w hom d id ju st

t h at.

I m agin e a w orld w here p eople a llo w ed o th ers to liv e fr e e ly a s th e p eople n atu re in te nded th em

t o b e..w it h out h arm ..w it h out p ers e cu tio n..w it h out s h am e. Im ag in e a w orld w here w e a re tr u ly

f r e e.

3 . W hy th ese In dia n m ille nnia ls a re c h oo sin g a rra nged m arria ge

B y M oni B asu , C NN M arc h 2 4, 2 018

I n m any w ays, N ain a is n o d if f e re nt th an m il le nnia l w om en I k n ow in th e U nit e d S ta te s. S he is

2 0 a nd fin is h in g a d egre e in p sych olo gy a t a D elh i u niv e rs it y . S he w ears Z ara s kin ny je ans a nd

H &M T -s h ir ts a nd h angs o ut w it h h er g ir lf r ie nds a t o ne o f D elh i’s m yria d A m eric a n-s ty le m alls

a nd c o ff e e s h ops. S he lis te ns to R &B a nd E D M o n A pple M usic ; h er fa vo rit e s o ng is ” S he W ill

B e L ove d” b y M aro on 5 . C able T V is s o y e ste rd a y; s h e s tr e a m s s h ow s a nd m ovie s o n N etflix .

B ut w hen it c o m es to m arria ge, N ain a’s v ie w s m ig ht s h ock A m eric a n w om en h er a ge. S he

r e fle cts a w ay o f th in kin g lo ng e ngra in ed in th e c u lt u re o f m y h om ela nd: Y our p are nts k n ow b est.

S ex & L ove A ro und th e W orld

” I b elie ve v e ry s tr o ngly in th e id ea o f a n a rra nged m arria ge,” s h e te lls m e o ve r th e p hone o ne

r e ce nt e ve nin g. ” N ot th at a lo ve m arria ge is n ot r ig ht. B ut it h as b een in stille d in m e to h ave a n

a rra nged m arria ge.”

N ain a s p oke to m e fr a nkly a nd a ske d m e n ot to u se h er la st n am e. In h er fa m il y c ir c le s, it ‘s b est

t o n ot to p ublic ly a ir o pin io ns o n s u ch in tim ate to pic s.

A rra nged m arria ges c o m mon in In dia

I k n ew th at m any y o ung u rb an w om en in In dia fe lt th e s a m e w ay a s N ain a. I s p oke w it h a fe w

o n m y m ost r e ce nt tr ip th ere a nd d is co ve re d th at th ey, d esp it e e xp osu re to lib era l id eals , h ave

h eld fir m to tr a dit io ns I th ought w ould h ave fa lle n a w ay b y n ow . I s a w th em a s w om en w ho w ere

s m art, c o nfid ent a nd in dependent, w it h a sp ir a tio ns fo r e ve ry s u cce ss. Y et th ey p re fe rre d a

m arria ge th at w as a rra nged fo r th em b y th eir p are n ts .

N o o th er c h oic e

T here w as n o c h oic e b ut a rra nged m arria ge fo r w om en in m y m oth er’s g enera tio n. S he s a w m y

f a th er o nly o nce b efo re s h e m arrie d h im in 1 952. M y g ra n dfa th ers a rra nged th e m eetin g in th e

n orth K olk a ta h ouse w here m y m oth er w as r a is e d. M a w as s u m moned in to th e liv in g r o om fo r

m y fa th er’s fa th er to in sp ect. H e a ppro ve d o f th e p ro sp ectiv e b rid e.

M a h ad a d egre e in e co nom ic s a nd w as a n a cco m plis h ed s in ger. S he w as a ske d to s in g a t th at

m eetin g a nd, a s I’v e h eard th e s to ry , m y p ate rn a l g ra n dfa th er w as ta ke n w it h h er v o ic e . B ut

p erh aps m ore im porta nt, M a c a m e fr o m a h ig h c a ste fa m il y o f g ood r e p ute . A fte r th at o ne

e nco unte r, m y m oth er w as c o m mit te d to s p endin g th e r e st o f h er lif e w it h a m an s h e h ad ju st

m et.

S in ce th en, In dia n s o cie ty h as c h anged c o n sid era b ly . G lo baliz a tio n flo oded th e n atio n w it h

W este rn g oods – – a nd id eas. Y ounger w om en to day a re fa r m ore o pen in th eir o utlo ok th an w ere

m y m oth er a nd a unts . E ve n a rra nged m arria ges h ave c h anged a m on g u rb a n, m id dle -c la ss

f a m ilie s. P are nts s till in tr o duce m en a nd w om en to e ach o th er, b ut th ey a re u su ally g iv e n tim e to

g et to k n ow o ne a noth er b efo re a n e nga gem en t is a nnounce d.

I g re w u p in In dia a t a tim e w hen m ost o f m y c o usin s a nd fr ie nds w ere o pen to a rra nged

m arria ges. B ut o nce o ur fa m ily im mig ra te d to th e U nit e d S ta te s, m y fa th er n eve r p re ssu re d m e

t o m arry a m an o f h is c h oosin g. A nd th at is th e w ay I w ante d it . I c o uld n ot c o m pre hend m akin g

a lif e c o m mit m ent to s o m eone I d id n ot lo ve . T hat w as d eca des a go. I c o uld n’t u nders ta nd w hy

y o ung w om en to day w ere n ot m ore in sis te nt o n e nte rin g a ” lo ve m arria ge.” T he v e ry fa ct th at

t h e te rm s till e xis ts s e rv e s a s p ro of o f h ow v a stly d if f e re n t th e In dia n o utlo ok o n r e la tio nsh ip s

r e m ain s.

R apid c u lt u ra l c h ange

P art o f th e c o m ple xit ie s in In dia n s o cie ty s te m fr o m th e r a p id -fir e c h anges th e c o untr y h as

e xp erie nce d. H is to ria n R am ach andra G uha a rg u es th at In dia is u nderg o in g n ot o ne b ut fiv e

r e vo lu tio ns s im ult a neously : e co nom ic , p olit ic a l, u rb a n, s o cia l a nd c u lt u ra l. A ll a t o nce a nd a t

w arp s p eed.

I m agin e th e te nsio n b etw een c e ntu rie s-o ld tr a d it io ns a nd th e to rre nts o f c h ange. S till, m arria ge

t h e o ld -fa sh io ned w ay s e em s to b e e ndurin g.

A uth or E liz a beth F lo ck e xp lo re d th e liv e s o f th re e m arrie d c o uple s in M um ba i in h er b ook ” T he

H eart is a S hif tin g S ea.” F lo ck s a ys s h e c a m e a w ay w it h a d eep u nders ta ndin g o f th e h opes a nd

f e ars o f In dia n c o uple s. S he e xp ecte d th at W este rn in flu ence s h ad w ro u ght c h ange, b ut s h e

w as p ro ve n w ro ng.

E ve n th ough w om en a re s u rro unded b y a ds a nd m ovie s p ro m otin g lo ve – – o bse ssiv e , fo rb id den,

i m possib le lo ve th at d efie s a ll s o cie ta l e xp ecta tio ns – – In dia n s o cie ty is s till n ot r e a dy fo r a ll th at,

F lo ck s a ys. A b ig r e aso n: th e s tig m as th at a re s till a tta ch ed to m arry in g s o m eo ne fr o m a

d if f e re nt fa it h o r s o cia l c la ss.

” P re m arit a l s e x. E xtr a m arit a l a ff a ir s . W om en a re te stin g th e b oundarie s,” F lo ck te lls m e. ” B ut

( s o cie ty h as) s u ch a s tr a ngle hold o n tr a dit io nal m arria ge th at I d on’t th in k w ill c h ange a nytim e

s o on.”

M arria ge in In dia is a bout d evo tio n to a no th er p ers o n . A bout c a rin g, d uty a nd s a crif ic e . A n

a rra nged m arria ge is b ase d o n a p re m is e o f p erm anence . It’s n ot b ase d o n lo ve th at s o m eday

m ig ht fa de, b ut r a th er a c o ntr a ct th at n ee ds to b e fu lf ille d. A nd if a w om an is lu cky, s a ys Is h it a

B harg ave , lo ve m ig ht s h ow u p a lo ng th e w ay. B ha rg a ve , 2 6, h as b een m arrie d fo r le ss th an tw o

m onth s.

S he e arn ed a d egre e in c iv il e ngin eerin g a nd w as w ork in g fu ll tim e fo r a c o nstr u ctio n fir m in

A hm edabad b efo re s h e g ave u p h er jo b to m ove w it h h er h usb and to s u burb a n D elh i. S he

d escrib es h ers e lf a s v e ry lib era l a nd to ld m e lo ve m arria ges a re tr e n dy. B ut s u ch a m arria ge

w as n ot fo r h er.

E ve n w hen s h e w as w ork in g, s h e r e m ain ed a t h om e w it h h er p are n ts . M ost In dia n b oys a nd

g ir ls d on’t fle e h om e w hen th ey tu rn 1 8. In ste ad, th ey d eve lo p in to y o ung m en a nd w om en

u nder th eir p are nts ‘ w in g. It m ake s s e nse th en, B ha rg a ve s a ys, th at s h e tr u ste d h er p are nts to

l o ok o ut fo r h er. ” O ur p are nts k n ow u s a s a dult s ,” s h e s a ys. ” S o th ey a re a ble to fin d th e r ig ht

g uy.” B esid es, s h e a dds: ” It is c o nve nie nt. It’s to o m uch tr o u ble to fin d th e r ig ht p ers o n.”

N ain a e ch oes th at s e ntim ent. S he te lls m e s h e h ad a b oyfr ie nd o nce . S he lik e d h im a lo t b ut q uit

s e ein g h im a fte r h er p are nts to ld h er: ” It ‘s y o ur w ay o r o ur w ay. Y ou c h oose .” N ain a s a w o nly

o ne c h oic e : h er p are nts . S he w ould lik e th em to in tr o d uce h er to a s u it a ble g ro o m . S he tr u sts

h er p are nts m ore th an h ers e lf w hen it c o m es to m akin g s u ch a n im po rta nt d ecis io n.

” I d on’t w ant to ta ke th e r e sp onsib ilit y o f c h oosin g a m an w hen I a m o nly 2 5,” s h e s a ys. I a sk h er

a bout th e q ualit ie s s h e’s lo okin g fo r in a n id eal h usb and. ” H e s h ould b e a n ic e p ers o n,” s h e

r e plie s. ” H ave g ood v a lu es. G ood m ora ls , e th ic s.”

H e s h ould b e w ell e duca te d. A nd h e’s g ot to h ave m on ey. T hat la st p art is v e ry im porta nt fo r

N ain a.” I d on’t w ant to s o und lik e a s n oo t o r a nyth in g, b ut I a m u se d to liv in g a c e rta in w ay,” s h e

t e lls m e. ” I b elie ve if I a m c o m fo rta ble fin ancia lly , lo ve w ould b e e asie r. I k n ow fo r a fa ct th at if

t h ere is fin ancia l s tr a in , e ve n if y o u lo ve t h e g uy, it w ill b e h ard to m ake th e m arria ge w ork .”

T he A m eric a n w ay

W hat I g ath er fr o m N ain a a nd o th er w om en I s p eak w it h is th is : A n a rra nged m arria ge is

c o nve nie nt. It’s lik e h ir in g s o m eone fo r a to p g ove rn m en t jo b a nd k n ow in g e xa ctly w hat y o u’r e

g ettin g. T he v e ttin g is d one b efo re a nyo n e s ig ns o n a d otte d lin e. A nd it s p are s th e w om an fr o m

b la m e in c a se th e m arria ge g oes s o ur.

” U lt im ate ly , if I h ave a p ro ble m fiv e y e ars d ow n th e lin e, I w ill tu rn to m y p are n ts ,” N ain a s a ys.

S he te lls m e s h e k n ow s w om en a nd g ir ls w ho a re s e xu ally a ctiv e b efo re th ey a re m arrie d. B ut

t h at is s till ta boo. ” I th in k th at’s a g ood th in g. It’s h ealt h y, n orm al. B ut in In dia , if y o u w ant to d ate

s o m eone lik e th at, it h as to b e a s e cre t,” s h e s a ys. I a sk N ain a w hat s h e th in ks a bout th e w ay

t h in gs a re d one in A m eric a . ” It’s a d if f e re n t w orld . I c a n’t im ag in e liv in g lik e th at,” s h e s a ys.

” E ve n th ough I a m e xp ose d to it , it w ould b e a c u lt u re s h ock to m e. It’s o ne th in g to k n ow a bout

i t ; a noth er to liv e it .”

B ut w hat a bout lo ve ? I a sk. W hat a bout fa llin g m ad ly in lo ve w it h th e m an o f y o ur d re am s? T he

k in d o f lo ve in th e r o m ance n ove ls s h e r e ads a nd m ovie s s h e w atc h es th at m ake h er s w oon

o ve r h andso m e g uys a nd lo se h ers e lf in fa ir y -ta le n otio ns o f r e la tio nsh ip s. ” It tr a n sp orts m e to a

l a nd u nkn ow n a nd u nre al, ” s h e s a ys. ” W atc h in g s o m eth in g th at I k n ow is p ure ly fic tio n s o m ehow

a llo w s m e to g et lo st a nd le t g o o f r e alit y fo r th ose tw o h ours .”

A nd h er r e alit y c o uld n ot b e m ore d if f e re nt. ” I’m n ot s u re I w ill fa ll in lo ve w it h th e g uy b efo re I

g et m arrie d,” N ain a a dm it s . ” T hat h appens o ve r tim e. B ut I a m s u re I w ill lik e h im e nough to s a y

‘ y e s.’ “

I a sk h er h ow s h e w ill fe el if s h e n eve r fa lls in lo ve w it h th e h usb and h er p are n ts h ave c h ose n

f o r h er. N ain a te lls m e th at h appin ess c o m es fr o m w it h in – – n ot fr o m a n ew h andbag, a v a ca tio n

o r e ve n a r e la tio nsh ip . ” T hese th in gs a re e asie r s a id th an d one, b ut it ‘s n ot th e e nd o f th e w orld

i f I d on’t fa ll in lo ve w it h m y h usb and in a n a rra nged m arria ge. I w ould s u re h ope I d o, b ut it

w on’t k ill m e if I d on’t ,” s h e s a ys. ” W e a ll c o m e a lo ne a nd d ie a lo ne.”

S he b elie ve s h er p are nts lo ve e ach o th e r, b ut it ‘s a d if f e re n t s o rt o f lo ve th an th e o ne p ortr a ye d

i n p opula r c u lt u re . L ove is o nly a s m all c o m po nent to a s u cce ssfu l r e la tio nsh ip , s h e s a ys.

” It’s a lo ve th at s te m s fr o m d ependency, h abit , n eed a nd a tta ch m en t,” s h e s a ys.

F ir s t c o m es s ta bilit y

F lo ck, th e a uth or, fo llo w ed th e th re e M um bai c o uple s fo r h er b ook b eca use s h e a dm ir e d th em .

S he th ought th ey m ig ht p ro vid e a nsw ers fo r m arria ge th at h ave e lu ded W este rn e rs , in clu din g

h er o w n fa th er, w ho h as b een d iv o rc e d th re e tim es.

P arv a ti, o ne o f th e w om en in F lo ck’s b oo k, fe ll m ad ly in lo ve w it h th e m an o f h er d re am s. B ut in

t h e e nd, h er p are nts p ers u aded h er to e n te r a n a rra nged m arria ge. S he n ow w ants h er d aughte r

t o d o th e s a m e. F lo ck s a ys s h e w as s h ocke d b y w hat P arv a ti to ld h er: S he b elie ve d th e o ld

w ays w ere b ette r; th at s h e w ould h ave e xp erie nce d in sta bilit y a nd u nce rta in ty h ad s h e m arrie d

f o r lo ve .

” In dia n w om en a re n ot b ro ught u p to th in k y o u w ill m arry fo r lo ve ,” F lo ck s a ys. ” S in ce y o u a re a

b aby, y o ur p are nts c o ntr a dic t w hat y o u s e e in B olly w ood.”

N ain a is a g ood e xa m ple o f th at. B ut fr o m o ur c o nve rs a tio n, I g ath er s h e’s s till h old in g o ut h ope

t h at th e o ld w ays o f d oin g th in gs w ill n ot s ta nd in th e w ay o f h er d re a m s.

” I w ould h ope th at I a m d estin ed to fa ll in lo ve a nd lif e h as lo ve in s to re fo r m e in s o m e fo rm o r

a noth er, ” s h e s a ys. M ayb e th en, s h e s a ys, th e n ove ls s h e r e a ds a nd th e m ovie s s h e w atc h es

w ill s ta rt to m ake s e nse .

4 . J a pan’s ‘L ib era tio n W ra pper’ le ts w om en e at b urg e rs w it h out v io la tin g s o cia l ta boo

( F ro m J a pan D aily T im es)

N ov 0 5, 2 013 Id a T o rre s L if e sty le & T ra ve l

O f a ll th e p ro ble m s y o u c a n th in k a bout b urg e rs , ( h e alt h c o nce rn s, a nim al r ig hts is su es,

e xp ense p ro ble m s) th e la st th in g y o u w ou ld c o nsid er w ould p ro b ably b e y o ur p ois e a s y o u e at it

r ig ht? W ell a ppare ntly o ne fa st fo od c h a in in J a pan h ad a d if f e re n t p rio rit y a lt o geth er, a s th ey

c a m e u p w it h a n ew p ro duct th at w ould le t w om en e at h am bu rg e rs in p ublic w it h out b ein g

e m barra sse d w it h o penin g th eir m outh s to o w id e.

F re sh ness B urg er n otic e d th at o ne o f th eir b est- ta stin g a nd m ost p opula r b urg e rs w as o nly a h it

w it h th e m en. T hey c o nclu ded th at th e d is cre p ancy w as d ue to m ost J a panese w om en h avin g

o ch obo, o r a “ s m all a nd m odest m outh ,” w hic h w hen e atin g a th ic k, ju ic y b urg e r c a n b e q uit e a

c h alle nge. In J a panese c u lt u re , it ’s c o nsid ere d r u d e a nd u nnatu ra l fo r w om en to o pen th eir

m outh s w id e in p ublic p la ce s. S o th eir a d a gency A d D ents u c a m e u p w it h th e “ lib era tio n

w ra pper”, w hic h h as a p hoto gra ph o f a w om an , c lo se -m outh ed o f c o urs e , s o th at th e a ctu al

w om an c a n o pen h er m outh w id e to d evo ur th at b urg e r w it h out e m ba rra ssin g h ers e lf .

I t m ay s e em a bsu rd a nd a lit tle b it b ackw ard s to p eople in th e W est w here w om en a re m uch

f r e er to e at w hate ve r th ey w ant a nd h ow eve r th ey w ant in p ublic , b ut th is is s till a r e alit y fo r

w om en in J a pan, w ho a re m ostly s till e xp ecte d to a dhere to s o m e o f th ese c u lt u ra l n orm s. A ll

F re sh ness B urg er w ante d w as to g iv e w om en w it h s m all m ou th s a c h ance to s till b e “ d ain ty ” a nd

e njo y a d elic io us b urg er a t th e s a m e tim e. A nd a cco rd in g to th em , it w ork e d , a s s a le s o f th eir

C la ssic B urg er to w om en h as in cre ase d 2 13% s in ce th ey s ta rte d c o ve rin g th em in th is lib era tio n

w ra pper.

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