The difference between marriage and concubinage is money, says Babaji Rao. That is why it is considered more seemly that the bridegroom should go empty-handed to the house of the bride on his wedding-day, any gift from him to the bride's father might be misconstrued. The feeling about this is so strong that until recently it was most unwise for the bride's father to enter the bridegroom's village, and even now one does not stay in the house of one's married daughter or sister, for this would be to accept something from her husband. ... Younger brothers may stay with their married sisters without fear of comment, for they never had the right to dispose of them.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Markets in Not Quite Everything
Sometimes, leaving a $100 bill on the night table is not a friendly gesture:
--J. R. Ackerley, Hindoo Holiday 253-4 (1932; NYRB 2000)