October 20, 2016


The people of world are really very diverse.  Not only they have different looks, but their thinking is also amazingly different. Here is an example.  “My mother’s boyfriend” when translated literally into Hindi  will be “मेरी माँ का यार” (MERI MAN KA YAAR). This is one of the most objectionable phrases in India. In fact the words “तेरी माँ का यार” (TERI MAAN KA YAAR), your mother’s boy friend, is one of the filthiest and most anger provoking abuses in India.  But in Liberia, West Africa, it was a normal introduction about some person and there was nothing objectionable in it.
When I heard these words from the mouth of a lady from a respectable family at Monrovia, I was literally shocked. Well the story goes like this.  I used to teach at the college of Agriculture and Forestry at Monrovia. One day one of my female teacher colleague at the college asked me to visit her home and meet her family.  I readily agreed.  In fact, I was always interested in visiting the homes of local people to see how they lived.  The people of Liberia (I was told that in other West African countries) were very friendly and hospitable.  They did feel shy in the beginning to take a “white foreigner (in Africa, they categorize India people too as “white men”) to their homes, but later their treatment used to become very friendly.
After we reached her home, I was made to sit in the drawing room. Other members of the family also came.  Then she started introducing them to me one  by one. Her mother, a lady in fifties was also there.  Next to her mother was a sitting an old man.  I asked my host about this gentleman.  She was slightly perplexed about my question and then said he is “my mother’s boy friend”.
I was quite surprised about his reply because the word, “boy friend” you do not hear during the course of introduction of family members of friends in Indian social get togethers.
These were my initial 2-3 months in that country.  So I used to get such surprises or shocks quite often.  In fact, Africa is very different from India, even more different than Europe and Americas.  Here people look very different.  Flora and fauna is different, climate is different and the social ethics are also very different than what we have in India.
Promiscuity is nearly a way of life in that society.  Every man and woman has an opposite sex partner.  If they are married, then the relationship is called husband wife, if not then it will be termed as boy and girl friend.  Boy and girl friend couple can be of any age. There is no shyness or hesitation is declaring it.  According to them, everyone has to have an “opposite sex” companion.  This is socially accepted.     

                                 My colleagues at the College of Agriculture & Forestry, Monrovia

                                                    My wife sitting with her friends

                                                              Partying with colleagues

Children moving in the street for collecting gifts at the time of a local festival in Monrovia