”Their hands can’t do housework, they can’t make a cup of tea, they can’t wash a teacup. This is a physical habit formed by a deep-rooted culture.” Nana, who has lived in India for more than ten years, describes Indian boys in this way .
”My boyfriend would throw the package on the table after making his instant coffee. I told him there was a trash can nearby, so why not throw it in the trash? One corner is still on the table. He just can’t finish the whole thing properly.”
Nana is from Taiwan, China, and went to India to study in 2009. In a blink of an eye, the foreign land has almost become her hometown. She has a boyfriend from an Indian Brahmin family who has been dating for many years. Women including her Chinese and foreign friends, the biggest conflict point when they fall in love with Indian boys is housework.
Housework is about class and religion in India. In India, families above the middle class will ask someone to clean and cook at home. Many people throw their food on the ground directly because the garbage will disappear the next day. In the caste system of Hinduism, manual labor is often performed by people of lower castes.
Nowadays, there are many Indian immigrants abroad. Even though many Indian boys can do housework by themselves abroad, they will be “automatically disabled” as soon as they return home. Because there are not only nannies in the family, but also mothers who love their precious sons.
This is what Nana calls “a physical habit formed by a deeply rooted culture”. However, we cannot be so one-sided when we understand the culture of a country, let alone such a huge country as India. Putting aside all kinds of stereotypes, perhaps we can touch the more delicate cultural texture of a country or nation from “cross-cultural marriage and love”.
When “Waste Youth” meets “Wen Qing”
Nana and her boyfriend Lal met at school, when Lal was a “ridiculous youth” – writing novels, creating movies, drinking and even taking drugs.
Lal is from Jagda County in southwestern India, where there is a rich tradition of literature and art. Many talented young people do not actually work, but are supported by their families. They study philosophy and engage in creation. This kind of “literary and artistic youth” who seems to be doing nothing but has cultural value can be tolerated by society.
Of course, drug use is another matter. Because of drug abuse, Lal was kicked out by the landlord, and Nana took him in. They were just good friends back then. Later, Lal was arrested and sent to a rehab center for compulsory drug rehabilitation. Three or four years have passed since he came in and out. There was no progress in his studies and work, and his life was in a state of failure. And because of work, Nana came to Lal’s hometown, Gagda, and the two changed from friends to lovers by chance.
”We’re both in our forties. It’s not like the romantic love of young people. It’s more like a caring relationship. He feels that I have brought trust and love into his life, so his detoxification is meaningful. ”
People who take drugs often deviate from the social norms, and it is easy to feel that life after drug rehab is meaningless. The excitement and fun come from using drugs, so it becomes more difficult to give up drugs. I am also very happy, making him feel that being with me After that, there’s a lot of peace.”
However, neither Nana nor Lal have plans to get married. For Nana, she believes that career is more important, and it is still uncertain whether to stay in India or go back to Taiwan for development in the future. Lal can also understand this, so they both cherish the time they spend together.
However, in India, it is the responsibility of the parents if the child is not married. Lal’s parents also asked him if he wanted to arrange a marriage, but Lal refused. Lal’s parents accepted the relationship between Lal and Nana. Because Nana accompanied Lal on a very difficult road, that part of the road that would always go back to taking drugs—Lal’s parents were already desperate, because children who took drugs would always commit crimes, and even died accidentally when taking drugs.
She has a boyfriend from an Indian Brahmin family who has been dating for many years. Women including her Chinese and foreign friends, the biggest conflict point when they fall in love with Indian boys is housework.
”It’s kind of like I helped them get this kid back, so his parents accepted things that were culturally unacceptable to them, including of course the fact that we didn’t want to get married.” “India, on the other hand, is a communal society
, A family also often has interpersonal pressure from neighbors. So to a certain extent, Lal has a stable foreign girlfriend, which can also help him improve his social status in the local area.” When asked about
Nana’s parents’ opinions on this She smiled and said, “My parents don’t know. I’m the kind of person who can say as little as possible to my family. But Indian boys are different. Their mothers want to know everything.” Once
Lal Overnight at Nana’s house, Lal feels he’s cheating if he doesn’t report to his parents. But from Nana’s point of view, everyone is in their forties. Why do they need to let their parents know when they spend the night at their girlfriend’s house? And it’s not cheating either.
But Nana can also understand, as far as she observes, the Indians have been talking to their parents on the phone. “I only call my parents once in a week or two, and they talk for ten or twenty minutes at a time. They talk for an hour or two every day, and my parents will ask where you are, what you eat, and who you are with.”
Especially They are Indian mothers, almost all of whom are housewives, so they are completely family-centered. Apart from doing housework, they care about their children every day.
Reverse Culture “Clash”
Living in a foreign land for a long time, sometimes the hometown is not as “close” as imagined. Facing cultural conflicts in a foreign land, they will also face “reverse cultural conflicts” when they return to their hometowns.
In the first year of studying abroad, she returned to Taiwan from India. The “singleness” of Chinese social culture was Nana’s first “reverse culture shock”. “Everyone wears very simple clothes, the colors of the clothes are very single, and the female body shape is very single. The range of ‘not attracting other people’s eyes’ is very narrow.
” The beauty of women is not only thin, fat is also a kind of physical beauty. In India, although some Indian women pursue thinness, even if they are a little fatter, they will not be “discriminated against”. But in Taiwan, girls who are obviously very thin still think they are fat, which makes Nana feel very uncomfortable.
The distance between people is also a cultural difference. In India, there is almost no distance between people, especially when taking the subway, as long as there is even a small gap, one person can be squeezed in. “So when I go back to Taiwan, I can’t help but want to squeeze the hole between the seats, I feel that there is a place there. But I can’t do that, it will make people feel weird, but it’s natural in India.”
Na Na also observed a very interesting phenomenon: “When taking the subway, if people standing feel that the backpack is heavy, they will often ask the person sitting if they can carry it for me, and then put the backpack on the other person’s lap. ”
Not only on the subway, but anywhere, as long as you “wink” with the person (stranger) next to you, the other person may help take care of things. “Everyone thinks that India is a very unsafe place where things will be robbed. In fact, India is a collective society. Everyone will help and take care of each other and will not turn a blind eye.” Although the news often reports on security issues in India, such as theft, robbery and rape
, But Nana believes that tourist areas are not safe. There are many pickpockets in tourist areas in India, and they all commit crimes in groups. “I have lived in India for so long, and I only lost my mobile phone once. But the first time I went to Italy, I lost my camera. No one ever said that Italy is dangerous, right? But in fact, some places in Italy are also very dangerous.”
Indian society has such a characteristic—everyone’s eyes are on everyone, so thieves should also be careful. From the perspective of social structure, more violence in India is directed at the top-down level within the society. Many crimes such as rape often come from high-caste men against low-caste women.
India is a collective society, and a family often has interpersonal pressure from neighbors. So to some extent, Lal has a stable foreign girlfriend, which can also help him improve his social status in the local area.
Nana gave another example. Once her sister went to India to find her. At about 11 o’clock in the middle of the night, Nana took her sister to take a tuk-tuk. Her sister felt very scary at the time. Nana’s younger sister lives in New York, USA. When driving out of New York in the middle of the night, you must close the windows, otherwise it is easy to be robbed or shot dead by gunmen on the spot. Because the tuk-tuk has no windows, Nana’s sister feels that she may die at any time. But in India, things like New York in the United States do not actually happen. It is normal for tuk-tuks to have no windows.
”So you said, which city is more dangerous? Many times, people have a deep stereotype of third-world countries, which is very unfair.” Nana
also mentioned that once she watched BBC news, the BBC reported It’s pathetic to say that girls in rural India don’t have toilet paper available. But for India, cleaning with water is more hygienic. And Nana herself doesn’t like the excessive use of toilet paper. “Toilet paper is used everywhere, which is wasteful and not environmentally friendly.”
Also in India, Nana is not used to when Chinese people gather together, some people use discriminatory language to talk about Indians and Indian culture. Every culture has its shortcomings, but as far as culture itself is concerned, diversity is the wonderful thing about this world. Moreover, getting along with people is not just based on racial divisions or a certain established pattern; wearing colored glasses and holding stereotypes makes people unable to feel more beautiful in this world.
”When I came to India, I was taken care of by many Indians. Once I stayed at a friend’s house, and my friend was not at home. I even lived with her mother for a long time. My experience is very pleasant.” As for
Na Na’s boyfriend Lal, who told his parents: “Although we are not married, we are in love.”
I met you across the ocean
Some people fall in love with Indian boys, and some marry Indian girls. Sui Shui, a Shanghai boy in his thirties, met his later wife, a Ladakh girl who was 8 years younger than him, when he was traveling in India.
As a freelance photographer, Sui Shui often travels between different countries, especially India. Once he went to Ladakh, India to shoot, and saw a village doing activities, many people wearing traditional ethnic costumes, so he went to watch the excitement. Suddenly a girl spoke to him in Chinese and asked him if he was from China. The two of them got to know each other that way. The girl’s name was Pal.
Ladakh is a federal territory of India, adjacent to China. The locals believe in Buddhism, so the lifestyle of Hindu believers is very different. Pal can speak Chinese because he once went to study in Taiwan, China. She has a master’s degree in India and was a journalist before meeting Suishui.
When he went to Ladakh for the second time, Suishui contacted Pal again, and the two developed feelings for each other while getting along. At the time, Parr’s parents were still a little against the two being together. “Her mother was reluctant at the beginning. She was more traditional. She hoped that her daughter would marry a local, and lied to me that Pal was engaged.” However,
Pal’s father respected her choice and ideas, but the conditions The wedding should follow the local customs. So in 2018, Suishui took his family to Ladakh to propose marriage. In October of the same year, they held a grand wedding. In the wedding video, the newlyweds wore gorgeous local costumes, and this “transnational marriage” began.
Suishui regards himself as a “wonderful flower”. He said that he is not willing to live a life that can be seen at a glance, so he has long been mentally prepared for the various cultural differences that will be encountered in marriage. “I just went cross-culturally. Of course, the premise is that I also love this girl.” Originally,
the two planned to start a business and live in India, but the new crown epidemic broke the original plan. The visa expired, was stranded with the water, was imprisoned in a concentration camp as a “black household”, was sent back to China, and then applied for Pal and his eldest son to return to China… After going through twists and turns, the newlyweds decided to stay in Shanghai. .
In the eyes of Indian girls, the Chinese “wife-loving madman” who can cook, do housework, and take care of children is simply a rare animal. The mother-in-law who accompanied the water was also quite satisfied with this, and always told Pal not to be too bad-tempered.
Pal obviously likes Shanghai, a highly civilized city, which is far from her previous impression of China. However, she has always been obsessed with having a big house, which is also a cultural conflict that Suishui encountered.
In Ladakh, where the land is sparsely populated, as a family above the middle class, it is a matter of course to own a big house with “a sky, a land, and a detached courtyard”. But in Shanghai, no matter how old you are, you are already at the top of the pyramid if you own a house. This made Pal unacceptable, and Pal felt that the current residence was not as good as the slums in India.
”She said that she wants to have such a big house, it doesn’t matter where it is. But later people will become greedy. She is used to living in Shanghai and wants to have such a big house in Shanghai. How is that possible? But she understands No.”
However, Pal is still very satisfied with her husband, because the Chinese “wife-loving madman” who can cook, do housework, and take care of children is simply a rare animal in the eyes of Indian girls. The mother-in-law who accompanied the water was also quite satisfied with this, and always told Pal not to be too bad-tempered. For this reason, Pal opened a channel called “Pal in China” on YouTube to record his husband doing housework.
Suishui and Parr have two children, and they also have some cultural conflicts regarding the children’s education. Living in China, where introversion is serious, Sui Shui doesn’t want chicken babies, but Paar misses chicken babies instead. “The Indian chicken baby is also very chicken!” Sui Shui said.
Suishui believes that cultural differences allow two people to grow together, which is one of the reasons why he chooses cross-cultural marriage, and it seems that he can always learn new things from each other. As for the conflicts caused by culture, Sui Shui is also optimistic, and he can understand Parr’s sense of disconnection and loneliness after crossing the ocean alone and being uprooted.
Regarding the future, Suishui said: “I hope to build a nest here in Shanghai. Basically, this matter has been implemented. After the nest is established, other places can be more flexible. I also hope that she can find a job and do something she likes.” Otherwise, it is easy for a person to think wildly.”
Whether it is for Suishui and his wife Pal, or for Nana and her boyfriend Lal, although transnational marriage and love are covered with a veil of mystery caused by cultural differences, But its essence is love, respect and understanding between people.
And people also understand the habits and cultures of different countries and nations from cross-cultural marriages—“I” is the “other”, and the “other” is the “me”. When one culture collides with another, perhaps more wonderful things can happen.