Thursday, August 16th, 2012 | Author: mjward

It is November 2011 and we are visiting the fort in Chittorgarh, India. Our guide is an attractive young woman named Parvati after a benevolent Hindu goddess. A rose-colored sari drapes her slim form and a waxy white bloom graces her braided hair. She tells us she has a master’s degree in economics. Although she grew up in south India, she married a man from Rajasthan in the north-central area. “It’s where we came from,” she says. I don’t ask if the marriage was arranged. She has two children, a girl aged six and a boy three. Both attend school in English. A nephew stays with them to help out.

Her mother-in-law apportions the work in the extended family. Because Parvati speaks English fluently, both her mother-in-law and husband approve of her acting as a guide. Other women in the family also work, but in more traditional occupations. Parvati normally spends two days a week as a guide. She and her husband also have a travel agency and are developing a bed-and-breakfast with foreign financial backing.

No, her mother-in-law doesn’t live with Parvati and her husband. She lives with another daughter-in-law and does much of the cooking for that family. When asked, Parvati agrees that sometimes difficulties arise when generations live together.

A group of tourists stops her to take her picture. After she poses for them, she hands out the family’s business card, ever the entrepreneur.

Category: About Families
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