Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Whistler

The other day I noted that whenever one of Conrad’s brothers talks to Isabelle on the phone, they whistle at her. I asked Conrad why this was. He said, “All Indian men whistle at babies.” Then I remembered that whenever we are at the Indian Grocery store the men there always stop and smile and whistle at her too. Consequently, I find Indian men much more friendly towards kids than American men.

As a matter a fact, they are much more family oriented than the American males. There is no “peter pan” mentality in India. You know, the “I wanna be a kid forever”mentality. And their permissive mama’s just cluck and say, “Well, boys will be boys.”

Actually there is a song in a Hindi movie (that’s in English, called “Bride & Prejudice”…I highly recommend!) that goes “No Life Without Wife.” And the moral of the song is that you really don’t have a life until you get a wife. This is why I recommend a good solid Christian Indian man to all of my single girlfriends. And good luck with that.

Back to my story, tho. When I was chatting with my husband about this observation, he said, “But Indian women do not whistle.” He noted that back when his family was visiting us I was walking around the house whistling and my sister-in-law, Sudha, and his mom stopped and looked at each other. I asked him what it means when a woman whistles and the best I could get out of him was something along the lines of it means you are a loose moraled woman. Oh no.

I kept thinking back to my two trips to India, all of the time Conrad’s family was here, and all of the time I probably whistled. I whistle a lot, I think. Oh no. And then I started to think what whistling means in American culture. The best I could come up with is that it indicates that you are care-free, or light hearted. What do you think? Do you whistle too?

7 comments:

Emily Jade said...

Philipinos kiss babies feet. It's a sign of respect and luck or something like that. When the kids are older, when first entering the presence of an elder, they must be "blessed" - aka touched on the head.
There is symbolism in everything that they do and eat. I'd give you some examples, but Noel's already in bed...
I don't think that they subscribe to the "No life without a wife" theory - but I like it!!
Don't worry about the whistling...I made so many culture faux pas that I think now his family just shake their heads and smile :O)

Wendy said...

I am a whistler ~ more than that tho, we make up lots of little homemade songs at my house. It's a good thing I've got an American man because I'm pretty sure if I had one from a different culture not only would I end up offending him and his family but probably his entire country!!

drowninginblessing said...

I'm a whistler, D. I don't know of any SE Asian prohibitions on female whistling... but that would be an interesting topic for research. Any particular songs Indian men like to toot? RM

Shanygne said...

I whistle, too...but not much, I suppose... I hum and sing more.

Leah said...

Back to your nutrition post.. I am so with you on needing to figure it out but it being completely overwhelming. There is way too much out there and it seems either too extreme, trendy, or granola (sorry, I'm sure I'm offending someone.) If you find any more easy to understand practical resources, let me know!

January Newbanks said...

That would be good old Photoshop.

michelle f said...

Very interesting....never gave whistling much thought...wonder what conotations it has here?