On my way to Mumbai on Friday night I sat on the bus listening to all the different conversations going on. One man in the seat on the other side of the isle was talking in English with someone from work while reading a Dan Brown book, the man next to me was speaking in Marathi on the phone. There is such diversity in this country; I’ve never been anywhere where there is this much diversity, outside of New York that is. On that Greyhound size bus there are probably at least 5 religions represented – Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, and Muslims. There must be at least 5 or 6 different languages spoken as well. I read a lot about it in my Amartya Sen book as well. I’ve always know there’s a lot of diversity here, but it was the first time I really reflected on it as well. I actually got into a mini discussion about it with a friend of mine this weekend. There isn’t really an Indian face – regardless, I can’t really pass as Indian. However Indian people look, there really isn’t a typical Indian face. There are too many shades, too many varying features. You can tell a lot about someone by their name though. I don’t have that capability at all, but if you talk about a friend, whoever you’re speaking with will ask their last name. As soon as you mention it, they will be able to tell what caste and state their from. Although the caste system doesn’t really exist anymore, people reference it quite frequently. There are even a lot of stereotypes about what castes are good at what. In a conversation with friends, they said what caste someone was and continued the conversation by saying that his caste is very good at mathematics; they’re brainy. Another caste is very cunning; another caste is this or that. I’m not sure how I feel about labeling people or groups of people like that, however, I’m unsure if it’s for a reason. I learned that Brahmans were always a well-educated caste, that they are the ones who documented a lot of history, they place a very high emphasis on education, while other castes don’t. It’s interesting to say the least.
A friend of mine is very willing to say she’s Hindu, but will not say what caste she comes from. She doesn’t want to be judged. I can understand that. To say the caste system is gone is quite a lie. Maybe in the traditional sense of laws and such and the larger mentalities of who people are and can be have changed, but the labels are there and are used quite frequently.

Air India’s pilots are on strike. It means that I might not be going to Abu Dhabi, which would suck to say the least. The other airlines are raising prices exponentially. A one-way ticket might cost me as much as my round trip ticket. Monday means a new day of negotiations and hope though.

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