An arranged marriage
I = Interviewer
R = Raj

I How old were you when you met your husband, Raj?
R Mm… I was erm, sixteen.
I And what were you doing at the time?
R Oh I was at home. I had left school, and I was having private tuition actually, at home, to prepare me for my exams.
I And your father arranged your marriage, is that right?
R Yes, that`s right.
I Could you tell me how he did that?
R Yes. He looked around for a suitable husband. He asked friends and relatives if they knew anybody, and found out about their education, their background, and most importantly, the family`s background. He got all the information about them, you know.
I And did this take a long time?
R In my case, no, but it depends you see, erm…. sometimes a father can see up to a hundred men before he chooses one. My elder sister … for my elder sister my father saw over a hundred men. You know, sometimes it can be difficult to decide. But for my brother he saw only one girl.
I And for you?
R He saw only two, one in the morning and one in the evening, and er… he chose the second one.
I My goodness! Tell me about that day.
R Yes … well, in the morning the first man came. He was very wealthy, but … not very well educated, but he had a lot of money. And he was well-dressed, and he had very good manners.
I And the other one?
R He wasn`t terribly wealthy, but he was well-educated, and he came from a good background. His family owned a village, and were like princes. And all his relatives were suitable. He was twenty-two, and studying law.
I And your father chose him?
R Yes.
I Why, do you know?
R I think he thought that money wasn`t everything. He didn`t want the … you know, he didn`t want the family`s money. Education was more important. If he`s well-educated, he`ll earn it later. Actually, Shyam, that`s my husband`s name, didn`t want to get married. He wanted to wait, but you know his father persuaded him. You know when he came to my house to meet my father, he was very badly dressed because he wanted my father to refuse him, so he could say to his father �Look, they didn`t like me�. But luckily my father did like him and � erm � so he had to say �yes�.
I And did you meet him that day?
R Yes. First my family spoke to him, and then they called me in, and we talked for four, four or five minutes. My father decided immediately.
I And did you agree?
R Of course. My father had decided.
I But did you prefer the second?
R Um – well I wasn`t sure, actually. I left it to my father.
I And what happened next?
R Well, after a certain time, there was a special day when I went to see his family and he came to see my family. It was a sort of engagement party. But we � you know � we used to be on the phone every day, we`d see each other regularly, but never without a chaperon. We were married ten months later.
I And how long have you been married?
R Oh for twenty-two years now.
I And … it`s been a successful marriage? Have you been pleased with your father`s choice?
R Oh.. yes, of course.
I Now you have two sons, don`t you, one twenty-one and one fifteen. Are you going to arrange their marriages?
R Yes, we are planning them now. We`ve er…. we`ve been asking families in India for some time, and we`ve found some suitable ones.
I Do you think that the system of arranged marriages is a good one? I can see that you`ve had a good marriage, but what about other people? How common is this system of arranged marriages?
R Well, most marriages in India are still arranged in this way, and generally it is a system that works. Erm of course it depends a lot on the � you know � family choosing the right person, but one reason it works is that the couple enter the marriage not expecting too much, if you see what I mean. Actually � actually, there are many more divorces between couples who thought that they were marrying for love and who then find that it isn`t there. Arranged marriages seem to last, and that is a good thing.
I And is sixteen the age when girls get married?
R Well, my mother was married at thirteen, but that is considered too young now and er… at one time it used to be twenty, but it was found that the girls were then to old to be integrated into their new families, so now it is usually when the girls are sixteen or seventeen, yeah.

The Prime Minister`s pay rise
I = Interviewer
PM = Prime Minister

I We are very pleased to have with us in the studio tonight the Prime Minister, who has very kindly found time to come to explain to us his point of view on the crisis that is facing his government. Prime Minister, good evening.
PM Good evening. May I say straight away that this is not a crisis. The situation is very much under control, and the vast majority of the population do in fact support this government and the action �
I Prime Minister, if I may, I`d like to put a question to you. Your government has announced that there can be no pay increases above four per cent for the next financial year, and although this has been difficult for many workers in a year where inflation has been six per cent, teachers, nurses, and miners have all settled for four per cent. Then suddenly we hear that Members of Parliament have voted for themselves a pay rise of thirty-five per cent. How can you justify this?
PM Let me say first of all that the pay rise would in fact be nearer twenty per cent. The rest of the money would be for a politician`s many expenses, such as air fares, personal secretaries, and of course a large entertainment budget. You can`t expect a Member of Parliament to travel second class, and eat in second-class restaurants, and do a first-class job.
I But Prime Minister, you`re still expecting the public to accept that a politician`s pay rise should be five times higher than anyone else`s. Is that fair?
PM Two points will answer your question. Firstly, when the opposition party were in power, they allowed a Member of Parliament`s salary to fall way behind the national average. This was a terrible thing to do, and yet again, my party is having to correct the mistakes of the previous administration. Secondly, I don`t think people realize just how difficult it is to be a politician. All those late nights, receptions, and the decisions that have to be made, make life very difficult. If we were in industry, we would without doubt be earning figures vastly in excess of what we are prepared to accept.
I And would the Prime Minister also be getting an increase of twenty per cent?
PM No.
I Ah! Are you going to take less?
PM No. The responsibilities that a Prime Minister has to carry are enormous. You must understand the pressures of the position.
I Are you prepared to say what the increase might be?
PM I, of course, could not vote for my own salary increase, but my colleagues and members of the Cabinet suggested that, given the sacrifice of one`s private life, the endless dedication to duty and public service, and the need to attract the very best person for the job, they suggested that the Prime Minister`s salary should be reviewed separately.
I Are you prepared to tell us what the proposed salary would be?
PM I don`t think this is the right moment to make such an announcement, do you? It will be announced to the House in the near future.
I Very well, Prime Minister. Thank you very much.

Two telephone conversations

Hello, 40974.
Oh, it`s you.
We`re all right. Why are you ringing?
Next Saturday? Is it the second Saturday of the month already? Yes, I suppose it is. All right. That`s the eleventh, isn`t it?
Oh, yes, so it is. The twelfth, then. Where are you thinking of taking them? The children always pester if they don`t know, especially Paul.
The zoo? You took them there last month. I didn`t think they enjoyed that visit. Lizzie didn`t, anyway.
That`s not what she told me. Anyway, it doesn`t matter. What time are you going to pick them up?
OK. I`ll have them ready. I haven`t had my money for this month yet. It`s always late. What`s your excuse this time?
Oh, are you? Well, I hope you`ll both be very happy.
I know your promises. All right. I`ll tell them you rang. Bye.
Hello. Epsom 4778.
This is Jeremy Brook speaking.
Sorry � Janice who?
I`m, sorry. I don`t think I know anyone by that name.
On holiday? Did we? When was that? In Greece! Of course! You`re the American girl who was in the next room, I remember. Good Lord! That was years ago! How are you?
I`m fine, thanks. What a surprise! What are you doing? Where are you?
In Epsom?
Er … well… I`d love to, but erm… well, it`s not very convenient, actually.
Yes, I know I said that, but … well, our house isn`t all that big, and er �
Yes, I am. I got married last year.
Well, I`m glad you understand. I`m sorry to let you down. I`d have liked to help, but you see what I mean. Maybe we could meet for a drink?
No, I suppose you`re right. Well, it was nice talking to you anyway. Have a good trip round Europe.
Thanks. Bye, Janice. Take care of yourself.