Celebrities test whether retirement in India is better than in the UK. The group attend a wedding and are blown away by the importance of family in an Indian marriage.
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India - a country that overwhelms the senses.
The Garden of Eden must have been as beautiful as this.
With year-round warm weather,
and a low cost of living, could this be the perfect place to retire?
If you'd won the lottery, where would you choose to be?
I'm going there almost as a child, with my eyes wide open.
-Inspired by the blockbuster film,
eight well-known faces are spending a month in Kochi,
in the south of India...
-Oh, sorry, ooh.
..to see if living out their golden years here
could be a real alternative.
Oh, my God, I look fantastic.
-We started to dance down the street.
I never thought I would ever do that at my age.
Whatever is new and exciting, I haven't done it yet, let's do it.
But will the challenges of India prove a step too far?
Calm down, everybody, chill pill.
There's something down there that feels like it shouldn't be.
Or could this incredible country give them real food for thought?
It's like nowhere else on Earth I've ever been.
-Good morning, Kochi.
Today we can expect temperatures up to the mid-30s,
and humidity is around 85%.
Pretty normal for the time of year.
The humidity has got to my hair!
It's the third week of living together
in the old Kochi retirement home.
Is that a mosquito?
I think I got it.
If not, he'll be back to tell me that I didn't get him later,
and he'll bite me twice as hard.
Can I have a kiss?
They are a wonderful group, they are genuinely kind, nice, lovely people.
I would seriously think about getting somewhere here,
if I could bring them with me.
Getting all of you in line together for the eyewash.
The group are up early with yoga instructor Raj,
who has been teaching them how to look after every part of their body.
-So this is...
-Eyewash, did he say?
It helps to remove the dust and grit and pollutant from the eyes.
Raj recommends to do this regularly, using a little filtered water.
My eyesight is a bit blurry...
-Yeah, you are Cockney rhyming slang, aren't you?
-Are you wearing your Lionels?
-What does that mean?
-Lionel Blairs, flares.
Hey, that's an accolade, isn't it?
-'I'm excited when I wake up each morning.'
There are a lot of upsides to being in India, besides the climate.
'I feel so good.'
You just put your eyes in and keep...
-I feel pretty cleansed!
-All dust off?
-All dust off.
Well done. Start drinking and start eating crisps!
-I will now!
-Chef Rustie is finding there are some parts of Indian life
that can be hard to adjust to.
I've had the Delhi belly sort of thing already, so I really...
I'm being very careful,
and I think going back to the sort of food that I'm used to will
calm my stomach down, and I'll feel safer with it as well, so...
That's what I think everybody will enjoy - a change.
Jolly good, OK.
Look - you've got something to hang onto in your final moments!
Rustie's rounded up Paul, Bill and Dennis
to help her find the ingredients she needs for tonight's dinner.
-Shepherd's pie, we're having.
Shepherd's pie, and then bread-and-butter pudding.
They'll be able to get all the produce they need
at Kochi's main market. But this involves a ferry ride.
All right, it's the ferry.
Should we go in this queue here?
I don't think we'll get on the boat this time.
-All of a sudden...
-All of the women are there,
and the men on the other, is that right?
-Are they seriously segregated?
It's our rule. It's their culture.
-It's YOUR rule!
-How old are you?
-21 years old.
-No! You look about 15!
Are you married, to be married?
-Do you want to be married?
If you see someone and go, "Oh, I'd go out with him,"
-would you do that?
-No, that is not our custom.
-You're not allowed?
So, your mother or father will choose?
-How do you do that - with a photograph first,
-or do you go and meet the person?
-There are brokers around.
-Oh, there are marriage brokers?
-Does it matter to you
if his family have money or not?
-If they are well off?
-It doesn't matter to me,
but of course it matters to my family.
Yes, they would like you to have some security.
OK, well, I'll look for one for you!
Here he is, what do you think?
You're halfway there, son!
I don't know much about arranged marriages,
I can only talk for me personally.
Quite honestly, if someone said to me,
you're going to marry Elsie down the road,
I'd want to know the person.
But for other people, it works.
I think we have to be open-minded
and open-hearted about other cultures,
and I think that's a problem - that we aren't.
Are we going now? We're going!
We're off, we're off! It's a stampede!
Oh, my giddy aunt...
So, we have to push in this lot.
Careful, there's a gap, apparently.
No gap here, but there is a step.
And here's a gap.
In you get!
Oh, shit. It's an aquatic version of the Underground, really.
It's actually very nice to be on the water, I think.
Don't you? A bit of cool air.
The ferry ride's a 20-minute journey that lands them in Ernakulam -
the commercial heart of Kochi.
Kerala's been an important trading centre for over 2,000 years.
Wow, this is unbelievable!
What a market!
As a result, this city market offers a range of goods that includes some
surprisingly familiar fruit and veg.
They have got everything here.
-It's all here in this lovely shop.
Oh, lovely. We've got carrots... We want potatoes.
-For eight people.
-For eight people, yes.
-That's enough for eight.
-Would you not say?
Gooseberries! Are these gooseberries?
Can I try it? Can I taste it?
-That'll teach you!
How nice to meet you.
Yes, nice to meet you too.
-Thank you. How do you do?
-At the house, Sheila,
Miriam and Lionel are having a language lesson.
Learning the basics will help them integrate into the local community.
I would love to learn enough language to get by,
and also, of course,
speaking the language is simply a mark of respect.
Is it Hindi we're going to learn?
No, we're going to learn Malayalam.
Oh, which is...
Which is the language of Kerala.
-Can I know your names?
Oh, yes, I'm Miriam.
-And your name is?
-It's a very common Malayalam name,
-We had a famous actress of yesteryear.
She's ageing gracefully now.
So am I! Hopefully!
Can we learn a few words?
-How do you do? Sukhamaano.
So how do you say "yes"?
-Ssherri is "yes".
Ssherri. Ssherri. Ssherri. Ssherri.
You know how in England we have the alphabet...
-So, is that the same here?
What is the alphabet?
SHE RECITES THE ALPHABET, THEY REPEAT
-Is that the whole alphabet?
-No, we have lots more!
Oh, right, OK.
That's just a taste!
I don't think I would have got out of first grade!
No, nor do I!
Please open the door.
Hmm? OK, forget that...
How would you say to a girl, "Kiss me"?
Are you married?
Ha! My favourite chat-up line.
Is there a phrase for that?
OK, whoa... Are...you...
Are you rich?
No, is there a phrase for that?
If you want to ask a lady...
She's only interested in men.
Men? OK, that would be a slight change...
Thank you for clarifying that! OK.
'I live in Majorca, and I was partnered when I moved.
'And he passed away seven years ago.
'I've got to the point where the loneliness is unbearable.'
When it's dinner time, I put out my one place mat,
having my dinner looking at the news.
And I'm thinking, this is not the quality of life that I want
for the rest of my life.
Phew. That's me, I'm done, OK!
"I'm sorted, mate," as you say!
If I moved to India, I'd be turning my back on my family,
so it would be a major decision. And the only thing that I know
that manipulates me into moving to that degree is a man.
Come on, Rus, my old friend. To the hairdresser's!
Nobody's ever been able to do my hair...
After over two weeks in Kochi,
Amanda wants to find somewhere local to help her deal with a downside of
the tropical climate.
As soon as I touch humidity, my hair...
..becomes pubic, frankly!
It just sits on top of my head and goes...brr-rrr!
Do you know what, let's make a pact right now...
-If we come out looking even worse than when we went in...
-I don't think I can!
We'll both come back, put our heads in the wash basin and start again.
They're heading to the city mall to try out a modern Indian salon.
-Oh, look! We're getting...
Oh, I say.
Right... First off, I'm going up to the third floor.
I don't need anything else. I've got my bits and pieces.
Sheila would love this.
Hello, can we have an appointment?
Um, I would like to have my hair washed and blow-dried.
Do you think you could cope with this?
Yeah, we can do that.
-I remember you on TV-am.
-Yes. Do you remember my hair?
Didn't... You had BIG hair!
-Like HIS hair!
-Of course you did.
-That was a curly perm.
Oh, that wasn't you?
What are we doing? Lift it on top.
Would you like it straightened?
Yeah, why not? OK.
Zhoosh it out!
-Is this your local hairdresser?
-Yeah, it's very good.
We are trying some different hairstyles for my wedding eve.
-You're getting married?!
They are trying some curls for my hair...
-Some drop curls?
Can I have a look?
Ooh! I want mine like that!
-They can make it.
-Yes, I'm sure they could.
-It looks beautiful.
-And you're a beautiful bride.
So, is your marriage an arranged marriage?
Yeah, it's an arranged one.
It's not a thing between two individuals,
it's a thing between two families.
I don't know that I would let my parents even choose my shoes,
to be honest with you...
I don't know about arranged marriage.
I hate the thought of people being made
to marry somebody they didn't want to,
and I'm sure there are people who are.
I wonder if going through their heads is, "Is it going to be good?
"Is it going to be awful? This is it."
Because we've grown up in a Western way, it's not something we would do.
-Yes, something different.
-But if it works for you,
and you're a young woman and you're happy to do that, it's wonderful.
Do you know, I've always wanted to go to an Indian wedding.
Really? You're really interested?
-We'll be really happy if you join us for our wedding.
Would you like to go to the wedding?
-Oh, my goodness, I would LOVE to come to your wedding!
-It'll be a big day for us.
-Oh, that would be fantastic.
Thank you very, very much!
Companionship is good at any age, but I think, as you get older,
I think companionship is so essential.
It keeps you on your toes.
There's someone there to talk to,
and that's why, if one partner has gone on,
you should take someone else so that you're never alone.
Shall I make the chair for you, darling, so you can sit down?
I hope it's not too peppery for them.
They really want British tonight.
-I put in pepper because you asked me to!
Back at home, Rustie's putting the finishing touches to dinner.
I think we should stand and salute!
# Rule Britannia... #
It looks lovely. Yes.
Very nice, congratulations.
It is just like Mum used to make.
It sure is a taste of home, honey.
You do get a feeling of life here, don't you?
-The bustle of life. And not in an aggressive...
I mean, I know they are always hooting their horns and everything,
but you don't see people shouting at each other, or...
-Not at each other - TO each other, yes!
-To each other.
But don't you think there's a gentleness to the whole thing?
How lovely were the people in the market to us?
-And I'm sure... they're not there in their...
-What are you doing?
Would you like some more?
I would, actually.
-T-shirt - that's about it for me.
Sheila? Are you ready with your washing?
Today is laundry day.
Do you think we should take hangers?
Because otherwise they'll wrinkle back up again.
Well, it's the laundry, so they'll have their own hangers.
-Girls, Sumesh is here.
He can take you to the laundry.
They're taking their clothes to the Dhoby Khana,
which has been doing the people of Kochi's washing
for almost 100 years.
But there's nothing in the water where the clothes are soaking -
-it's just fresh water?
-To loosen the dirt?
-No wonder he has such great muscles.
When do we get it back?
-Is tomorrow evening possible?
-Is it any quicker?
-It costs from 30p for pants to 80p for trousers
to have your clothes washed and dried,
although the Keralan sun does the lion's share of the work.
So there is two coils.
No pegs! Just put it inside, so there are no clips.
Very clever and simple idea. I love that!
Dennis and Lionel are checking out another local service...
-Look at this, Lionel.
-Oh, my goodness!
-I'm Dennis. Dennis, my name.
-Dennis, nice meeting you.
What I would like...
-Oh, that's wonderful!
-Oh, this is good...
This is my first experience, Lionel, of a razor - an open razor.
How does it feel?
My dad was a barber, Dennis. Old Montague Street.
So all of your people are proper East Enders, yeah?
Oh, absolutely! My dad didn't want me to be a barber -
all that standing. It's the last thing he wanted.
'He died when I was 15.
'We didn't have much money.
'And I had to work.
'I remember earning £10 a week,'
but I got 30 shillings a week pocket money.
The rest went to my mother, for housekeeping and everything.
So I was the breadwinner.
How did you learn how to be a barber?
I learned from my grandfather.
My grandfather's shop. And then my father...
I learned from them.
Just men? Or men and women?
Men and kids.
I think family is so important,
having come from a large family and now...
I mean, I've got five children.
Three first time round, two the second time round.
And my two sons, Damian and Brendan, they are like my brothers,
and that is what it is all about. That's what you work for,
it is for your family.
That's the closest shave I've ever had.
So, you do tend to worry about how far your money would go
when you retire completely.
Oh, thank you.
-Was it good, sir?
Absolutely fantastic. And so cheap...
I mean, he only wanted 100 rupees!
Dennis's close shave has cost him just £1.20.
Feels like a baby's bottom, it's unbelievable.
I need my glasses...
Wait a minute. Hang on, my Hilary,
she has sent me cards to open the whole way through.
I have missed her every day.
And that's Hilary. That was at our wedding.
I don't mean to be so sentimental, but I am sentimental.
Because it was my wedding anniversary two days ago, actually.
I think...I think I did live a sort of secret life.
It's a life which I call an edited life,
because if you're with a group of people who you know are going to be
judgmental, what you tend to do is
to edit what you say the entire time,
so you would say, "WE went to," - not "she".
You would edit the gender out of it, and edit what you were saying.
Since then to now...
..it's...it's a different world altogether.
I can't read that to you,
cos that's a very loving message from my other half.
The local bride, who they met at the hairdresser's,
has been in touch to extend the wedding invitation
to the whole group.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!
-He's not stopping, he's not stopping!
-CAR HORN BLARES
They are heading to Jayalakshmi,
a four-storey department store that specialises in wedding clothes.
I'm going to get something really good. I want to look the part!
In India, when you go shopping, service is everything.
Ladies, I need a sari for a wedding.
As a guest. So how do I do the sari?
Remove your chappal.
What's my chappal?
Saris can cost from as little as £5, all the way up to £400.
I'm doing a strip here, Amanda. They're stripping me off!
How are you doing?
-I feel like a mannequin!
-What's happened there?
I have to walk like this?
Make your minds up, because I don't know!
I'm ready for the ball!
I'm not, I'm still in a mess!
I want to know how to do...
Traditional for men means wearing a dhoti.
-It's called dhoti.
A rectangular piece of cloth simply wrapped around the waist and legs.
Bill, is that something YOU might wear?
I do suffer from clammy loins!
What a turn-on.
You've got the job!
But Paul has chosen something off the shelf...
-How do you feel about that?
-Look at it.
-See, you look...
-Oh, my God, I look fantastic!
I hear no movement...
You up, Dennis? ..OK, babe.
Yeah, two minutes.
-How are you, all right?
-I've only just got up. You look very smart!
Well, I thought it was a good idea to wear a long sleeve,
cos I got bitten yesterday.
I'll see you in a minute, babe.
Tonight, Dennis and Paul are looking for some local entertainment.
Hello, how are you?
Would they have a club for snooker?
Yeah, I know, I know snooker.
Here we are, son.
Snooker was invented in India back in the 19th century,
and most towns have a local snooker hall.
How are you?
'Going to the snooker hall, it's amazing.'
You think they won't know who you are...
But with technology these days, you know, they can google you!
You see, special glasses, yeah.
-You want to try?
Very bad eyesight!
My mother never saw me win the World Championship.
I was in the quarterfinal,
and I got the most dreadful phone call I've ever had in my life,
to say that my mum had died suddenly back home in Northern Ireland,
and I couldn't believe it. She was only 62.
Slim, but she'd had a massive heart attack,
and the bottom fell out of my world completely.
'I just didn't want to play snooker.
'I just didn't want to know about it.'
This is the hardest of the trick shots.
-Shoot the white into the pocket...
Before it gets there, I've got to get all the colours in...
The family said, well, "There's a tournament coming up. Why don't you
"go and play in it, for your mum?" And that's what I did.
'I used to play and sit in the chair, and chat away to my mum.'
To finish up, knocking the final black in,
to win the World Championship,
in the way it happened, was quite incredible,
but I think a lot of the credit's got to go to my dear old mum,
who was there with me throughout that World Championship.
It's not easy, is it?
Bride-to-be Dressia has invited the ladies to a very special event.
Indian families host an open house on the eve of the wedding,
so friends can give their blessing to the bride.
Dressia's brother Dilip and sister-in-law Sukanya
are hosting tonight's event.
-How is she?
-Yes, she is...
-Is she excited?
I didn't expect so many people!
No, I didn't expect a reception committee either!
No, I thought it was just going to be the girls!
Hello! Hello, are you the bride?
-Gosh, you're so beautiful.
-Isn't she beautiful?
-Very happy to meet you.
Saris and everything?
Yes, we bought saris.
We've never worn saris before, so...
You'll be looking really beautiful.
We are probably more nervous than she is!
Look! Isn't that wonderful?
That's the henna.
Henna is said to have medicinal properties which calm the nerves of
-And is this a dark red, or can it be different colours?
No, tomorrow it will go much more darker.
-It goes darker after you put it on?
-Oh, I see.
Do you know, I heard a story that the darker red it goes,
the more your husband loves you.
-Is that right?
-We'll lend you a red biro tonight, just to mark it in!
Just to be on the safe side.
This is my auntie, my auntie.
She must go to sleep at ten o'clock...
We will send her home, don't worry!
We will make sure she gets to bed, don't worry!
Yes. How did you meet your soon-to-be husband?
We have extended big families, and through these things,
we get these proposals and we go forward
by looking at whether we can have a good wavelength, but both families.
-Was the marriage arranged, then?
-Between the families?
Yes. Arranged not only between the families,
but also they ask our opinion.
The bride and the groom has a very good role,
for choosing their partner, yes.
-So are you very much in love?
-Yes, of course.
So your marriage really is a combination
-of being arranged and a love marriage?
Is that the way most marriages happen now?
Yes, this is something which happens in modern India.
Yes, it's different in our culture than what you think...what happens
in the UK or in Europe.
First of all, you get to see all your family is involved in it,
and then it's like friends, relatives.
All of them are involved.
You get a big support from your family as well.
You see much less of divorces.
Most probably it's because of the family backing.
But in fact, you're not marrying a person,
-you're marrying a family, aren't you?
Well, I'm ashamed of myself,
because I was so jaded about arranged marriages and things,
and since I've met everybody here tonight, everybody seems so happy.
And the whole family thing is magical.
There is something so genuine about it, it shines out of the people.
Whatever that is, I would like some of it.
That was wonderful. It was wonderful, wasn't it?
We went to a pre-wedding party.
-Was it good?
-Oh, it was wonderful.
-Was the bride happy?
-We asked her if she was nervous.
-"I'm not nervous."
-They pointed out, too -
it's not just a marriage between two people,
it is a marriage between two families.
So, you're marrying all of them.
Yes. Oh, my gawd!
Could you imagine marrying the entire family?
I mean, in my family, it would have been family at war.
Smita, I mean, you were married.
-Was your marriage arranged?
No, no. I spoke to my father, because I was really close to him.
And he said, "You know what,
"let's wait a year and then have this conversation again."
-So, that was it, we'd write to each other every day,
and my dad probably thought it's something that will work itself out.
After a year, I went back to him and said, "I'd still like to marry him."
So, then they had a family meeting, where he called my grandmother,
who was then the head of the family.
She just said, "Is he rich?"
So, I said, "Well, not really."
And she said, "Oh, that's good. Rich men have mistresses."
"And if he's not very rich, he's not going to have that many."
Today is the group's chance to experience a big Keralan wedding,
and all eight senior citizens are embracing
the local wedding etiquette.
I'm trying to put these bindis on.
I think I'll put some Sellotape on my face!
-Oh, you have help, OK.
Oh, thank God, yes. Perfect. Bring the fire brigade in!
But they aren't going to manage without some assistance.
No, this is the end that is supposed to go over your shoulder.
Well, there, you see! I mean, what can I do?
-Not the plain one.
-Not the plain...
There's something down there that feels like it shouldn't be.
You promise me that won't fall down?!
I woke up and I thought,
I wonder how the bride's feeling this morning.
And having that one last moment alone before you become
Mrs so-and-so. And it reminded me of the way I felt when I woke up.
And I was thinking, "OK, this is your last moment
"being Sheila Ferguson. You're going to now give over your life
"to somebody else." And it's... You're kind of afraid.
Marriage IS important, that's why I haven't remarried.
-You marry for life.
-You just stay where you are.
I want to see what you're doing, I won't know how to do it.
-Er, can we do that when you're not in a hurry?
-Of course, OK!
We don't want to miss the wedding, do we?!
Look, it's going down!
Me bloody dhoti, I hate it!
Dressia's wedding is being attended by over 1,300 family and friends.
It has to take place between 11.58 and 12.20 -
judged by an astrologer to be the most auspicious time for the union.
Hello, how are you, are you well?
Nice to meet you!
-What time is it now?
-11.58, the auspicious time.
-Is it 11.58 now?
-He looks like a nice guy.
-Ah, he looks lovely.
-Doesn't he look nice?
The groom, Aaron, is from the north of Kerala.
She's coming, here she comes. There she is.
-There she is, look at that!
She's making very slow progress.
Dressia and Aaron have met several times a month
since their engagement. When her parents got married,
they didn't get to see each other until their wedding day.
I think this is quite a modern couple
that are getting married here, yes.
I think so. Yeah, we'll probably have Beyonce on in a minute.
The bride and groom exchange thali chains,
which have the same role as rings in the West.
-They're married now.
-I think that was the moment.
The bride's father places the two hands together.
-And that's the end of the ceremony.
-Oh. How do you know?
-Cos this man told me.
This symbolic gesture shows that the father is passing responsibility
of looking after his daughter to the groom.
-Take care of that wonderful girl.
-Ask her to take care of me as well!
-Thank you so much.
-It's been a super wedding.
We've had various kinds of hospitality while we've been in
India, but this is the tops.
They're so welcoming, and I think if you moved here,
you'd find yourself in a community of Indian people very quickly.
-You look very good.
-Thank you, I like Kerala colours.
-Congratulations, you have a beautiful bride.
-And I wish you all the happiness EVER in life.
-And lots of babies!
The joining of the two families,
the way the bride's family brought the groom in,
the way the groom's family brought the bride in, really choked me up,
and I kept trying to pull it back,
because I didn't want them to see me crying.
For me to be speechless is a very unusual thing.
I'm just so happy for them.
Back at home, housekeeper Smita is taking care of dinner.
You're joining us for dinner?
-Oh, yes, you are. You will sit down and have dinner with us.
Please set her place at the table.
Some experience, wasn't it?
-Out of this world.
There were kind of echoes for me of a Jewish wedding.
-You said that, yeah.
-Yes. Because they came in under canopies.
-Yes, the chuppah.
-Have you seen a Jewish wedding?
-Where the groom, they put a glass, like a sherry glass, down,
-wrapped, and he has to smash it.
-I've read about it.
Yes. It's a love match with these two, I think.
-An emotional day.
I was emotional, because she was absolutely breathtaking.
-She was gorgeous.
-And they looked so happy.
You know, they're starting off on a new journey, and I just...
-To the bride and groom.
-To the bride and groom, yes!
Let's say that. Bride and groom.
-Bride and groom.
-Go on, my son!
Over the last few weeks, Sheila and Smita have become good friends.
I'm going to show you another way of travelling in India.
'She loves history, I love history.'
We love architecture, she loves architecture.
We have a lot in common, and we both lost partners.
So, we connected.
We are on the same track. East meets West!
Today, Sheila's asked Smita to share
her knowledge of the local area with her.
Er, maybe we should sit here.
I'll explain to you why.
-Because if he brakes too hard, you'll be...
-So, we want to be here, so we can hold it.
-It's seven rupees.
-Only seven rupees for one person?
Cheap travel - way to go!
You have to get off, they won't wait for you.
I'm starting to walk like you all do! In and out of all traffic!
My God, there's serious bangles!
-I think silver, yeah.
The one below? The other one.
Well, OK, if you have these in gold, I will take some.
Metal ones. When you're married, it's glass bangles.
I stopped wearing my bangles after my husband passed away.
Did you? So, they are that significant.
-For a Hindu, yes.
To meet someone in a foreign country that you've never been to,
who's experienced the same feelings you've experienced,
and you know that you get each other, that is very, very special.
Do you like the life here?
Because you've been single for a little over five years now?
Being on your own is so strange.
And though we both have children, they don't live with us.
-So, at the end of it all, you're alone.
Yeah. Exactly. That's right.
-It's gone full circle.
When, erm... I was starring in a musical called Fame, and, erm,
the company manager came in and said, "Sheila, John's dead."
I said, "John who?" She said, "John, your John."
I said, "My John?! My John's d... What do you mean, dead?"
So, I sat down on a sofa and then reality hit,
and I just blew into tears.
And I said, "Right, ten minutes till show time, I'm going on."
They said, "I don't think you should go on."
I said, "I've got to go on." So, I got through the ballad,
I don't know how I got through the ballad, but I did.
And got back to finish the second show, and, er,
got in a cab, went back to the hotel.
Then the tears came.
Because you always get to a point where, eventually,
you're going to be alone with yourself.
I don't care how many people are around you or whatever,
you've got to have that time, Smita, when you're alone with yourself.
-And that's when you go.
That's when you go. That's how come I'm all alone,
and I've been all alone, I haven't dated in eight years.
-That's a long time.
-I know. What about you?
-I've been alone six-and-a-half years.
I lost my husband too.
-Very suddenly too.
And I don't even know if I'm ready for something new,
or if I want something new.
It's been difficult.
'It is time to make a change in my life, now that John's dead.'
It's about how I want to live the rest of my life.
And if I choose to date, at least it's a dinner, it's no harm doing.
I'm going to be very picky, because I AM picky.
-How are you?
My age? I'm not telling you my age! How dare you ask me my age?!
It's a very normal question in India, my dear.
-Is it? Why?
-To find out what's your age.
-None of your business!
-No, no, no, it's very normal here.
Miriam and Lionel have discovered they have a surprising connection
to old Kochi, that they are keen to explore.
My dad was a typical Jewish barber.
-And my dad was a typical Jewish tailor.
'We were an Orthodox Jewish family,
'but my dad rejected me because I married out.'
Married a non-Jew. And he said I was dead.
And didn't exist.
Because of its past as an important trade hub,
the city has strong ties to the Jewish community,
some of whom still live in an area known as Jew Town.
Sajiv! How lovely to see you again!
-Nice to meet you here!
-Yes, because it was...
We saw you at the festival, didn't we?
-How do you do?
-I wasn't at... Nice to meet you!
They've asked local tour guide Sajiv to show them around.
Can you remember the year when the Jews first came here?
Actually, 2,500 years back, Jews were here.
Before Christians, before Christianity?
Yeah. Once Jews came here,
the local people, they invited them to stay here,
because we want here the Jewish community.
Oh, what a nice thing to say, Sajiv!
-Oh, look, there's a Star of David...
-In the window.
Which is the synagogue?
I think we're just coming to it, Lionel, look.
The Paradesi synagogue was built in the 16th century.
The inner sanctum.
Oh, my goodness, this is wonderful!
-It's not over-ornate.
This is the light of the Hebrew faith that never goes out.
-This is so beautiful.
And we can see the Torah right now.
1805. The Torah inside, written on sheepskin, 200 years old.
The Torah is the most important religious book in Judaism.
Jews believe it was dictated to Moses by God.
That takes me back to my childhood.
That's wonderful. Thank you, thank you.
Seeing the Torah...just plumbed into all my own memories
of my family life, and my parents.
My dad really was very, very upset when I married out.
It was the greatest sin I could have committed.
And I would like to say to my dad, "But I came back today!"
-Yes. It's lovely, isn't it?
Golly! I had no idea my emotions were so near the surface!
It really moved me to be somewhere where Jews were treasured and loved
and protected and, you know,
could live happily without any fear of reprisal.
And I sort of said to my dad, "Please forgive me!"
And I've never felt that in my life.
Sajiv has invited Miriam and Lionel to his home for dinner.
-Welcome to my home.
-Thank you very much.
-As a single man,
he still lives with his parents and extended family.
It's a traditional welcome. And we attach the sandal paste.
We use the sandal paste for traditional welcome.
-Thank you so much.
-This is Miriam. And Lionel.
Like in Messi. Lionel.
You can...you can use...
Oh, my goodness!
I will also join with you.
Oh, yes, please. I wanted to ask you...
-You said just now you were 42 years old.
-Do ever people meet Sajiv and they hear he's 42 years old,
and they say, "Why isn't he married already?"
Er, I had a lover.
She was everything for me.
-And... But she was from a different religion.
We had many dreams to live together, but suddenly,
her family noticed the relationship, they warned,
"Don't look at my daughter.
"She's not going to marry, never you."
Did she get married?
-She is not married yet?
-She stayed true to you?
-She still loves you?
It's a very sad story, unrequited love.
-How does your family feel about that,
are they encouraging you to look elsewhere?
Yeah, especially my mum.
She wants you married?
-And with children, she would like.
Yes, absolutely. Once, my mother was, you know, like a hunger strike.
-Yes, yes, absolutely.
If that isn't an expression of mother love...
I don't know what is, I know.
It would be easy to say, "Oh, come on, you can defy your parents,
"you can break free of the way Indian culture binds you to certain
"traditions." That's too flip.
Because the family is all.
It's like a dream. Maybe one day I will get a call.
I think it's wishful thinking.
You have a responsibility to yourself
to make a good life for yourself.
Somewhere inside of you, I think you have to find the strength.
Yeah, you are right.
You are a very nice man.
He's denying himself ever finding happiness
because of family pressures and family traditions.
Sajiv's story does resonate with me because I did marry out,
but it was against everything that I'd been taught,
and I can remember when my mother made a final plea to kind of stop me
from marrying this person,
and I realised, and I said to her,
"I'm really sorry, but I'm going to have to do this.
"I've got to follow my heart - and my heart is stronger
"than my religion."
Today is one of the biggest days in the Keralan calendar.
It's the day of a festival that worships
something close to Bill's heart.
The tiger's the king of the jungle here,
and well worth worshipping, I'd say.
He's taking Paul, Rustie, Miriam and Dennis along for the experience.
There is a float in front of us, isn't it?
-Oh, there's a big lion.
-Where is he?
At the front, there's a lion. There's a lion on it!
-Is it a REAL lion?
-No! I wouldn't be sat here, would you?!
You never know, you never know!
The festival of Pulikkali - which means "tiger play" -
has been going for over 200 years.
Although tigers are the stars,
it celebrates all the big cats of India.
Here we go. Oh, that's hot, I've got to get the life-saver on.
Participants are painted from top to toe.
This process can take up to four hours.
-Oh, my goodness!
-Yes! Oh, that's fantastic!
The bigger your belly,
the better suited you are to take part in the festival,
which makes Bill the perfect volunteer.
Go for it, Bill, go for it!
Whatever possessed me, I don't know.
Maybe it was, this is the only time in my life when somebody's going to
regard my burgeoning belly as being a good thing.
I could see the painter saying,
"Whoa, there's a canvas I can work on!"
And I was immediately promoted from tigers,
which have petite little heads, to a lion.
Bill, I hope you can do this.
Do your thing. Look, watch.
-I saw that. Isn't it...?
THEY SING Wheels Cha-Cha
Look at this trio, a trio of great cats.
Can you all shake your bellies?
That's very sexy, that one!
Once everyone's been painted,
the participants dance through the city centre.
The event attracts around half-a-million people.
Show him the dance, show him the dance.
-Right foot, left hand...
-That it. Yeah, yeah.
That's more African!
Started by the legendary king of Kerala, Maharaja Sakthan Thampuran,
the festival symbolises the bravery and wild spirit
of both the tiger and the people of Kerala.
Bill was the star of the day, and didn't he look fantastic?
And the people, how they responded!
Go, Bill! Go, Bill!
I'm very glad I did that.
What was funny, to say the least, really,
was everybody coming up with the cameras.
You know, selfie, selfie, selfie.
So, I can only assume the novelty of a pallid English person
was enough to merit the selfies.
I felt very wanted - I haven't had that since Funky Gibbon!
Back in Kochi, the group are preparing for a big night out.
Bring my everlasting fan. Need that when we go out!
Want to make a good impression and...
look like I've just parked my yacht, and I've come in for a little G&T!
They've been invited to mix with wealthy locals at the exclusive
members-only yacht club.
Well, darling, when you've been to Buckingham Palace,
how much higher can you go, OK?
Lights off, off we go.
That's as good as it gets.
Based in the well-to-do suburbs of Kochi,
it's one of the premier clubs in India.
Come on in, let's go! Oh, there's a snooker table!
-Oh, there's not!
-There is, right here.
Evening. Evening, nice to meet you.
We're here about old people coming to India.
This is India - and we are the old people!
Might die at any moment!
-You couldn't be older than me. I'll be 85.
He's 87... It's amazing!
I'm Lionel Blair.
-Oh, I can get a drink.
-Yes, you can.
It's the perfect opportunity to find out more about whether Kerala has
what they would need in retirement.
It's a beautiful bird sanctuary.
-But the birds here are migratory.
Absolutely, yeah. It's the same in Sri Lanka.
If you were going to retire, would you retire here, or...?
I'm retired here, I'm 72 years of age, I'm retired here.
I didn't think... 72?
-Must be something in the air down here that keeps you young.
I'm retired here, and very happy.
Can I ask you something?
-How do you feel in this country about, I mean,
you grew up probably relatively, er...
Well, I didn't want to put it rudely, but...
-Well-endowed! That's another...
I notice the women are smiling, so he clearly is!
-Have we met...?
-Well, we sort of looked at each other
but we didn't really meet.
-What's your name?
Mohan, I'm Sheila.
-Are you a member here?
I've been a member here for I think...
From the time they started the club.
Really, how long ago was that?
-30 years plus, I think.
Yeah, I don't remember the date, but I think it's 30 years.
Oh, that's lovely.
-This is my father-in-law.
-You're into golf, I believe,
-I'm into golf, and then the other ball game, snooker,
-Did you know he's the world champion?
You were the world champion?!
You know Steve Davis, yeah?
You've seen him play? When I played Steve Davis,
I'd got very funny glasses, I used to wear big glasses upside down,
-So you could see the ball...
I know a joke about that, I will tell you later.
I've learned a heck of a lot tonight from talking to different people.
From what I've gleaned, because of the society,
because of the matrimonial feeling, because of the arranged marriages,
it's not going to be very likely
that I'm going to end up with the rest of my life with an Indian man,
-Actually, all that you said...
-Yes. Is true.
-..is all eyewash.
-Everything goes on in your country goes on here also.
So, it's not that it's absent here, but it's...
it cannot be, you know, seen or shown or talked about.
Ah, OK. You know when you get to that point in life when you feel,
it's time to make the decisions for the rest of your life?
-I have a construction firm, which I...
-For the last 35 years.
-OK. Here, based in India?
All the boutique hotels in Fort Cochin, I've done.
-Oh, wow, that's cool!
Would you, er...consider somebody who builds good boutique hotels...
Yeah? To do what?
-To be your companion?
That's a very direct one, too, isn't it?
You're asking me to dinner!
OK! Because the companion thing is a lot later on.
-So... You want to go to dinner?
It's a deal. I haven't done this in a long time!
Oh, God! I'm so unromantic!
When a guy meets you face to face and he doesn't bolt or wither away,
and you can still be yourself,
that's really something very special.
I thought Sheila was very friendly, very nice, and easy to talk to -
that's very important, right?
He's got a lovely warm face. I don't know how old he is,
but maybe he could still work?!
Let's see if he calls, and then we'll take it from there.
It's his move, not mine.
# You've got a lovely day to do it in... #
-Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi...
-Deep breath, and...let go.
Sheila goes on her first date in eight years...
Have a nice evening.
Not too late!
..and goes house-hunting...
Oh! My heart's attacking me here.
-And the view.
-OK, George, you blew me away.
..while the rest of the group
explore different retirement options.
I think the reason we've enjoyed here is that we can see the horizon.
This is the retirement that we have all been looking for -
we have found it!
Amanda and Rustie visit a local hair salon and meet a bride-to-be getting styled for her big day. The bride invites them to her wedding, so the whole group go to buy traditional clothes, with hilarious consequences.
The group attend the Hindu ceremony in their Indian finery despite some wardrobe malfunctions on the way. They are blown away by the spectacle and the importance of family in an Indian marriage union and are touched by how welcome they are made to feel.
After the emotion of the wedding, Sheila reflects on her own love life, revealing that since the sudden death of her partner she has been single for eight years. She announces that she is ready to start dating again and realises the only thing that would definitely convince her to make a big move to living in India would be a man.
Miriam and Lionel, who are both Jewish, discover Old Kochi has a surprising connection to their heritage in an area called Jew Town. A visit to the synagogue makes Miriam reflect on the huge impact her own marriage had on her family when she chose to marry outside of the Jewish faith. As a result, her father declared she was dead to him and refused to speak to her for many years. Their tour guide invites them to his home, where Miriam discovers his own painful story of love has striking similarities to hers.
Bill takes half the group along to one of the biggest festivals in Kerala, Puli Kali, which celebrates the tiger. He ends up volunteering to take part, which means stripping off and having his belly shaved and painted as a tiger, before dancing down the streets amongst a throng of thousands. It is an experience that cements his love for India.
An invitation to one of the premier members-only clubs in Kerala, the Yacht Club, gives the group a chance to meet up with successful locals and ends in the offer of a dinner date for Sheila.