Sold by Patricia McCormick At the beginning of the novel, Lakshmi lives in rural, mountainous Nepal, which is a small country north of India. Population = 1.2 billion That’s almost 4 times the size of the United States! Monsoons = seasonal winds and heavy rainfall Drought = period of severe dryness and lack of rain Lassi = yogurt smoothie Why do you think McDonald’s in India doesn’t serve any beef products? In Hinduism, the cow is considered sacred, so many Hindis do not consume beef. Lakshmi, the main character, is named after the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. Why do you often see an Indian woman with a red dot on her forehead? The “dot” is called a bindi. In older times, the red dot was a symbol of a woman’s marriage. Bindis today are worn throughout South Asia by women and girls and no longer signify age, marital status, religious background or ethnic affiliation. ▪ The bindi has become a decorative item and is no longer restricted in color or shape. What does this sign tell us about gender in India? Which gender is preferred? Answer: Men are preferred over women, even though there is a current female president. Indira Gandhi (left) was one of the first female leaders of a country. India is defined by a caste system in which social hierarchy is very important . How does this differ from the American dream? Traditionally, Indian parents look for a prospective match for their son/daughter from their own community also known as arranged marriage. Failure to arrange a match for a daughter is a source of stress and sometimes shame for the family. An unarranged marriage would be called a “love marriage.” Typically, families do not approve of these marriages, and sometimes they can cause splits in the family that last for future decades. In certain parts of India, the bride’s family is expected to pay a dowry to the husband’s family. Dowry = money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. A dowry is intended to be way of protecting the wife against the possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family. If a woman’s family cannot provide a dowry, their daughter may not be able to marry, causing shame to the family. Men wear the sherwani, which is a knee-length garment similar to a coat. Women wear saris , an article of clothing that is draped around the body. Women also wear a salvar kameez, which is a long tunic worn over a pair of trousers.