The Nicest Person in Varanasi!

the river in varanasi

During my stay in Varanasi the nicest person I met is a guy named Sanjay that offers massages. Early in my stay, I was down at the Main Ghat and many guys offer massages, haircuts, and shaves, the person I first met talked me into getting a massage right on the Ghat, and his massage was very good. I inquired with the family I am renting from if he could come to the house twice a week. The last three months I have been receiving a two-hour massage twice a week paying $10 each time. Now that is a great deal; however 500 rupees is good money for him, plus I am teaching him the certified technique. My 750 hours of massage school always pays off.

Sanjay is an excellent listener, and learns quickly. His massage technique has risen way above the home taught Varanasi style. His clients just love his new neck and back bodywork. We were meant to meet, and he was meant to learn advanced massage techniques. He is one of the nicest guys I know in Varanasi.

He is from the “Barber Cast”. His father found him a wife around the year of 2000. Sanjay was 22 and learned two months before that he is getting married. He never met his wife before the marriage, not even look upon her from a distance. At the wedding, Sanjay met the in-laws and his new wife. Now they have three kids, the mother stays home to raise the kids and Sanjay works on the main Ghat.

Within a shame based culture married couples that never met before marriage will accept the situation and live “happy” together. They have no other choice—divorce is disastrous that shames the entire family. The women would go back to her families home totally humiliated and never have a chance at remarriage, and possibly be forced into prostitution. Both families of the divorcee would live in continual shame because of the neighbors gossip and negativity. The villages, towns, and many midsize cities around India still arrange their marriages. Many couples will only see each other from a distance and then be engaged until the wedding, but today they have cell phones and skype.

Even the son and daughter-in-law of where I live only viewed each other from a distance and never hung-out together. I have asked what about the family visiting the other family for dinner during this “engagement”? The answer is no, they are too concerned what the neighbors will think and what they will gossip about it—this is the deep level of shame and negativity that is manifested within India.

Henceforth, Fear, Guilt, and Shame controls the behavior of cultures.

The top picture I took with a 2 mega pixel phone camera. I would think the 5 mega pixel iPhone would work fine as a travel camera.