Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eat, Pray, Love

The opening to the movie rendition of the book I couldn't read more than 20 pages of before quitting  (in distain of the author's bathroom 'self-loathing for a better life, reasoning it would be so much better without the husband who's love for her is not mutual' scene) Julia Roberts is riding a bike along rice patties.

As she pulls up to the outskirts of Ubud, the audience is introduced to life in rural Bali: Hindi housing compounds with the ornate detailing. She walks inside one compound showing multiple houses and a temple.  I watched that scene as I sat on a bed at a guesthouse located within one such compound. It was surreal. And they couldn't have portrayed it more vividly.

Each complex houses multi-generation families. A plaque at the entrance of the compound indicates the number of males and females in each. The eastern most building in the compound is the speak-easy room, a non-walled structure where the family gathers each night to resolve daily problems. That way, they can sleep well and wake up with a stronger relationship than the day before.

The eldest couple (or individual if their spouse has died) resides in the nicest of all houses in the compound. It is also elevated the highest, and as such is the most prominent. That house is passed on to the next in line as the older generations pass on.

As only one wife is allowed since 1972 (otherwise the husband will lose his job), in the rare event that the couple is unable to have children, allotting them an entire compound of their own, they adopt a nephew to take care of them in their aging years. That nephew goes on to inherit the house compound.

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