Okay, so here is the rest of what there is to see in Ludhiana. The University of Ludhiana, including the closed museum, the Clock Tower and a shot of the market at the base of the Clock Tower. I spent the rest of this time in Ludhiana visiting family and friends of the host unit and watching a bunch of people play cricket (a game I may never understand).
First the University at Ludhiana. It is mainly an agricultural university apparently and it’s grounds include a number of test plots where rice an wheat growing at various stages. There was also a department devoted entirely to irrigation methods.
There is a “home studies” department (for women of course) which included a museum and a playground for young children. We played in the playground while we waited for the museum to open. An older man came to chastise us for playing on a playground meant for young ones. We laughed. Come on, get a life and a young heart there old timer.
We were told that the museum would open at 2 p.m. So we waited until the appointed time to come back to it and… it was still closed with about a dozen people waiting. Why? Because it was New Year’s Day (which is and is not celebrated in India). The gardening staff, who were working and told us the museum would be open at 2, had a good laugh at that, let me just say.
There was another pool and fountain leading up to the museum here… dry as they all are.
Unlike most of India, the grounds at the University of Ludhiana were very, very clean. I was surprised that even in India, in 2015, the faculties seemed to be well divided along traditional gender roles. That was a little depressing actually. Most universities tend to be centres for progress and change… most, not all.
After the University of Ludhiana, we took a cycle rickshaw (all four of us) to the Clock Tower in the centre of Ludhiana. It’s one of the only clear landmarks in the city and I’ve been wanting to get a picture of it. Also, the host unit wanted to visit the market which is very close by.
RANT ALERT. I was with three people during this visit to the University of Ludhiana and the Clock Tower. They are all of wheatish (that’s what they call slightly darker than fair) complexion and Panjabi origin. All three of these women think that lightening their skin with bleach products will make them more beautiful. B.S. They are either beautiful from the inside or not, their skin colour has 0 to do with beauty. 0. Nil. Nada. Nothing. But this is their thinking that I’m relaying here so…
I was asked “why do you want to go there? It’s full of black people. Bhaia people.” Once I was able to breathe again, my first thought was full of words I won’t repeat here. What the freaking hell is this? India is divided on so many lines it is ridiculous but skin colour? Oh really? So now we have religion, caste, colony, state, level of education, this village, that village… oh so many lines. All garbage.
So it turns out that Bhaia people are dark skinned from Uttar Pradesh/Bihar. Other than that I found nothing unusual about them that would deserve such distinction and disdain. I looked at my three companions and tried to remember, God is in them as much as God is also in all of the Bhaia people that they have such dislike for. I reminded them that they are Sikh women and Sikhs do not see these differences, we do not hate.
“They chew betel.” So? Must you chew it with them? It is between them and God so long as it is not hurting you.
“They are very poor.” Are you putting them in a class or a caste? “No.” Then? What is the problem?
“They are not from here.” I am not from here either and neither are you. I can tell from your bone structure that your ancestors are from further west and further north. The only original Indians are Adivasi and you are not Adivasi.
“So?” Exactly that. So. So what are they going to do about their racism, I ask? “I don’t know.” came the reply. Think on that for a while. Think about what Guru Nanak would have to say to you. Then get back to me.
Just what the frack?!? I shouldn’t be surprised I guess but way to lose any respect I might have for you. There’s that big old button being pressed again. I’m trying to remember that this is a different country, a different culture and I am not their judge. Only God and history will judge what happens here in the end, as everywhere else.
But I can teach, no? And ask the questions that force people to think about their ideas? Nothing wrong with that. Confronting them with “Racism is the most ridiculous set of ideas human beings have ever had.” was going to get exactly nowhere with them.
It’s rather entrenched here. Racism that is, even among some Sikhs. It is unfortunate because it is so contrary to the teachings of our Gurus. It is also unfortunate because, no matter your faith, racism is just plain wrong.
So that’s it. Rant #1 over. Get ready though, there’s another coming and very soon.
The day after these shots were taken, we were heading to Shimla – the host unit, little sister and I. I had booked a room there for two nights (you will know that Expedia screwed that up if you read the other posts in this blog). While we were returning, little sister says “Cousin says she will come with us so we are not lonely.” I thought that was a joke, so I laughed and said there will be plenty to keep us busy, no? I also assured her that the hotel would have internet because without internet, little sister tends to become bored.
Well, it turns out it was not a joke. We were all packed the next morning and waiting for the car. When cousin unit gets in the car with us. Back the truck up! Hold on. Have we changed the plans again without telling me? Why, yes, yes we have. Little sister does her best “but I told you on the rickshaw yesterday” and then “should I send her away?” I take cousin unit with us because I like her and because she will be good company for little sister, who I am not happy with right at that moment.
What they didn’t seem to appreciate was that now I would have to book two hotel rooms, increasing the expense of the trip by quite a lot. Also, one extra mouth to feed also costs money. The small car we were travelling in would also now be far more crowded and I was taking on responsibility for someone else’s child, since the cousin unit is also only 14 or 15 years old. It would have been courteous to discuss it with me first. I would have said yes bring her along but… the expectation that I would just go along with it without speaking to me annoyed the heck out of me, as I think it would anyone else? No? Am I wrong here?
Despite the challenges we all had a very good time in Shimla and in Ludhiana. I am glad, in the end, that we brought the cousin unit with us. She is a very nice girl, very kind and she was great company for little sister. I would not have changed the experience even a little bit.
So until next time readers, friends, family
Peace & love