Men, Please Pitch In!!

I  was woken up with the most dreadful call any Indian woman can wake up to, my help called in to inform that she won’t be coming to work today. This is like the biggest night or rather biggest Day mare of any woman who is dependent on house help. As I wiped out tears from my eyes (yeah I am Amplifying!!, but nevertheless I was on the verge of crying, imaging the pile of work ahead of me), I got up. The first battle field I needed to conquer was the kitchen.

As I was paving my way through the umpteen tasks ahead of me, this thought just crossed my mind. My husband was snoring away to glory. And it irked me, I could not comprehend why he got to sleep while I was slogging here in the kitchen. And then thoughts kept pouring in, one after the other, perhaps he is tired from work, (Hello I work too in an office), perhaps he does not know how to do the household chores (Aahhha!!, I was born working in the kitchen, is it?), perhaps because he has much better things to do in life (Well this one I can scream loud about, I have much better things to do in life than he does), Ahhh now I realize it is not any of the reasons mentioned above, it is because he has a Chromosome ‘Y’ in him, that too in India. In simple words he is a MAN born in INDIA.

You must realize that this very thought had piqued my annoyance to uncontrollable levels, this could not be happening to me. You bring out this topic in public and trust you me, every elderly across India has the same opinion, ‘How can he do it, it’s a woman’s job’, Arghhhh. Like seriously, I was raised with the same amount of love and affection (probably even more). This is how we grow up in India, the other day a known had come over for a visit, she was looking for a suitable match for her daughter, she is a qualified doctor, and now her mother wants her to participate in household chores as this is what would make her an eligible bride. I could not help but gape at her in astonishment, why take so much pain to educate her then. Is it not unfair for the girl, she has to make a career for herself and learn to the household chores too. And the boy spends his life in merriment.

I mean I understand that there may be many things which men can do that we don’t (let me think, well na my brain has stopped functioning to enumerate anything, unless it is something like getting off your shirt in public, or perhaps pee in public) but a little help hurt no one, right! It’s easy coming back from work and couching on the sofa on the laptop or phone, but come back from work and fret about preparing dinner or tomorrow’s lunch, or getting the laundry done, or getting the clothes back into the cupboard, grocery shopping, blah blah blah blah….

It is so much the upbringing that we give our sons that is to blame for all this, they are always kept away from helping in the household chores. SO much so for being born a male in INDIA!!

My mother in law was really anti of my husband cleaning my daughter’s poop, I mean why not, she is his daughter too. I objected and made him do it.. There is no way he is getting away from it. When we say equality it should be at all levels right! I have fought my way to change my husband’s habits to make him participate, and I know what my MIL thinks then, ‘ Arre, you making my boy into a girl’. But lest do I care, he needs to and has to.

I don’t want to sound like those ultra feminist thingy (which I am sure I do sound like) but all I do care about is that men should learn how to do or at least help in household chores, mothers should be able inculcate this in their sons. I have a daughter and trust you me when she is getting married this would be one of the criteria for the groom to qualify! Someone would have to turn the tables, and I would be very happy to do so. I understand that it is unfair to paint everyone with the same brush but majority fall into the no home chores bucket!

There could be two reasons perhaps either they don’t see what needs to be done, they live in a different reality, mess does not bother them, they have not seen their forefathers doing any of this hence they cant imagine themselves doing it OR they don’t want to waste their time on what they think are petty issues. For example my husband thinks that if I give him a task, inadvertently I will complain about him not doing it properly then why should he waste time doing it in the first place (I really cant blame him for that, I can be very picky at times).

Well amid all this bragging and fretting I finished all the work and headed for office my husband was still snoring away to glory!!

Boys do have all the FUN!!

More than Just Getting Her Married

As I woke up this morning and grabbed my newspaper to read, this particular piece of news caught my attention, “A good number of girls become college drop outs and get married before they finish their studies”. This did amuse me, but distressed me. Why is the marriage of our daughters such a hassle and the why does it become the epicenter of our worry and savings. The day the doctor announces, “It’s a girl”, following a 15 seconds silence (Yes trust me the first choice in India is still to have a boy), there is happiness in the air, and a thought in the back of the mind, “Alright I need to plan and save for her marriage”. This is how it is in India, inadvertently parents of a girl in India have this outlandish worry in their minds of getting their daughter married.
We do educate our daughters, we do, the literacy rate has improved, but more than usual the education is only to add value to her resume as a marriageable material. There are only a few girls who are privileged to live a life they want. One of the girls in the article revealed that she came from a rich family of businessmen, but she knew that she would be married off to a suitable boy by the time she finished high school, she bargained for a year at college before marriage to live her life, and she was allowed. She married at the end of her first year, not completing her college. This disturbed me, not because she could not finish her studies, many don’t and go places, but the fact that she had to bargain for her freedom, it is her life for god’s sake. The simple fact that girls are considered burdens adds to this whole situation, dowry, rape, molestation, abuse within marriage, only overwhelming the parents with worries to get her married before she is exposed to the brutal world.
There are still many powerful women in the country women who have made their mark, and I believe it is because their family supported her. They let her explore herself, her needs, aspirations, desires everything. Being married or not should be the prerogative of the girl, let her decide when she wants it, with whom she wants it. She deserves this much. Our aim as parents should be to give her a life she enjoys, cherishes, and not burden her constantly that her looks should be perfect to lure the perfect match. She should have a beautiful heart, an intelligent and reasonable mind; she need not dress up for anyone else but to make herself happy. She needs to educate herself as much as she likes, marriage should not be barrier, I don’t find any reason why she cannot be doing it if she thinks she can.
There is too much emphasis of marriage in this country, especially for girls. Some parents only want to get rid of the burden of having a daughter and fail to fathom how many undergo martial abuse; they get a life they don’t want to live. I have examples within my family wherein parents decided to spend money on the daughter’s marriage rather than her education, “She eventually has to get married only, so why waste money on education”. A woman has an identity beyond her man, and this needs to be accepted in the society fervently. We are much more than just being a marriageable girl.
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a family who believed in the same ideology as mine, I was given the best of education my parents could afford, liberty to question and demand, I was no less than a boy to my parents, and yes I had my moments of being on the road feeling vulnerable because I am a girl, but my parents instilled in me the confidence to take on the world. I voice my opinions, I am the so called modern day girl, wife to a loving husband who is supportive and encouraging, mother of a little girl who I intend to raise on the principles I believe in. I want to give her wings to fly, explore, travel and find herself. Her marriage is on my mind because I want her to enjoy this part of life too as I enjoy it, but only when she wants it and the way she wants to. We have to stop fretting about her marriage, and fret more for her well-being and keeping her happy, giving her a life she deserves and commands since we brought her into this world.
May sound a little over board but I love this line my father sent me once:
“A girl is not tension, but she is equal to TEN-SONS”
Let us embrace this thought and give our daughters the privilege of a wonderful life they deserve.