Sunday, 7 February 2016

Health, Hearts and Dirty washing in Episode 2 of The Real Marigold Hotel

After a really promising introduction to both the celebrity OAPs  and the Haveli living they have undertaken, I was excited to see what these intrepid older folks would experience in this week’s instalment of “ The Real Marigold Hotel”. We delve quite deeply into the motivations of some of the female guests, investigate Indian Healthcare  and see one of the greatest wonders of India.


The morning Yoga sessions are proving very popular with Wayne,Sylvester,Patti and Roy who are getting benefits from the practice. Sadly stretching and enlightenment is not assisting with the looseness of bowels associated with India and Rosemary and Miriam are both suffering.





Traditionally the  most menial of tasks are done, away from the home  so some of the men go off to get a proper shave. Wayne and Bobby have a wet shave and a haircut for the princely sum of £1. They discuss the inevitability of ageing and that despite a few aches and pains, you do not feel old on the inside until you see it in your face. Thankfully Both their aches are also being eased by the heat. Bobby’s arthritis is less painful and Wayne’s Ballet ravaged body is more relaxed.


A trip to a laundry and talking to family reveals some cultural difference between Patti and Miriam. The young lady , a daughter in the family whose face is covered in a mark of respect for the elderly resonates with Patti’s West African background, but Miriam questions whether someone with no real familial ties would thrive in such a family -centric culture.


The group also worry about Jan, who is finding it hard integrating into the group with so many outgoing personalities. Her solo living  for twelve years and much more reserved persona is making it hard for her to feel a part of the house with the others and Miriam and Wayne comment on her fragility.

She seeks the advice of a medium who works out of the back of his jewellers shop and gives her five minutes before his Yoga class. The cynic in me wonders whether he is  Janu the driver’s uncle or something.  His advice is given for free and seems (at least from Jan’s standpoint ) to be accurate. 

He claims she has difficulty in maintaining a relationship with men because she fails to communicate effectively, has six failed relationships behind her and is at risk of Dementia. Which were it me, would scare the living day lights out of me. Her belief in his brilliance is more telling of her own emotional state. She states she is happy, but her eyes and her wish to have her singleness “explained” or at least acknowledged  indicates that she does not actually feel fulfilment at all.



When Rosemary finds it difficult to complete a yoga session devised for older participants she worries about her comparative lack of fitness,  even compared to her older compatriots. The whole gang goes  to get a raft of medical checks done so the celebrities can gauge how easy and effective it will be seeking medical assistance in India.

They are overwhelmingly impressed by the health checks they are given. India has become somewhat of the “Go To” destination for Private Health provision due to the high quality of the care and the low cost. A quarter of a million people fly into India for care every year. A comprehensive health check including scans and bone density tests cost only £130. In the UK this would cost £1600. In the USA a bone scan alone, can cost $600


Miriam has arthritis and was told by UK doctors she would need knee replacement surgery. In the UK waiting times can be up to four months. In India for a modest £5000, Miriam could have both knees replaced privately in five to seven days! Here that would cost £11,000. Her results show a need for two ops, both knees and also to remove some gallstones.

Bobby too has all manner of wear and tear from hard manual labour, his hip, knee and shoulder have all been replaced, but his heart health is good, he needs to lose a couple of stone in weight.

Rosemary is given no nonsense advice that she is morbidly obese and so embarks on a regime of walking early the next morning and visits an Ayurvedic practitioner to soothe her back pain. Warm oil is poured into a reservoir made of clay onto the back. Whilst undergoing a steam treatment, Jan joins her whilst she gets a massage,  one of the most revealing conversations between  both women is sadly revelatory



Jan uses her 12 years alone like a badge of honour. Both live alone and mask deep seated pains as a result. Neither seem to be able to live with a partner, but as we gradually peel back the layers, we see that self loathing and low self esteem seem to be present to some degree in both and so India is giving them pause for thought if only because being out of comfort zones promotes self discovery.

The group meet ex pats to see if living in India is really possible long term. Wayne is particularly interested in how Indians might react to his living with his husband. Homosexuality was illegal in India, but Wayne is told there is little Homophobia because to discuss it is taboo and so it seems to be a case of out of sight out of mind.



A trip to The Taj Mahal is an opportunity for the more adventurous of the group to travel on the Indian Rail System. After a chaotic search for the correct platform and train, Bobby and Sylvester take  3rd class berths and and Rosemary and Miriam in 2nd class.   




After crawling and climbing into some very precarious seating, Rosemary engages  in an impromptu  dance and Henna session with some very wise Indian Matriarchs.



They say that even though she is alone,that Rosemary  must remember the good memories with her husband. Good advice as they all visit  the most elaborate love gift in History!



Three Million people a year visit the Taj Mahal, basically a massive tomb for a favourite wife.. Even on TV it is an impressive sight. Each of the Celebrities has a unique response to being stood before it in real life. 



Patti sends it to her husband as a Anniversary present, Roy stands in remembrance of a cherished wife lost to illness, Miriam is struck speechless in awe and poor fragile Jan announces to camera that the love of her life who left her some twenty years before was cremated the day before and that Heaven is lost to her except in this place.







1 comment:

  1. Lovely follow-up article, Emma. So glad that the climate and the low cost but comprehensive health-care in India is making their lives far more stress free than in the UK or the States. Again so well written and I thank you for sharing their story.

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