Spice of life: It takes a strong man

  • Upant Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 18, 2015 18:23 IST

Women are to hearth what men are to office — was the perceptive wisdom of the people for ages before women braced up to walk shoulder to shoulder with those described often with term machismo.

In this day and age, mindset has changed for the better but not to the point worth praising to the skies. One Sunday afternoon, I witnessed a scene worth fixing my eyes on: a man ironing his wife’s suits, while she used forty winks. It would raise any mother’s hackles seeing her son turning another woman’s hand-puppet. Ignoring the frowning mother, the husband finished the first task and hurried into the bathroom to start doing the laundry, which made the furrows on the old lady’s forehead deeper.

The daughter-in-law came out of the slumber only after the husband had finished drying up the washing on the terrace. It sent even me into a tizzy, since she looked neither unwell nor tired enough to pass an errand to her hubby.

Another Sunday, I saw worse. The moment I stepped inside a room, a manly hand signalled me to wait outside, as the floor he had been mopping with a torn rag was wet. No prizes for guessing the homely ambience: the daughter-in-law of the house having a break on the sofa, zapping television channels, and a red hot mother-in-law, although also looking at the screen, appalled watching her brainwashed son being made to toe the line.

Seeking the reason for the plight of the husband who happened to be my cousin, I mentioned to him his mother’s contorted countenance to the scenes. “Through the week and round the year, my wife remains on the go fulfilling the mounting demands of the family in addition to doing a job,” he said, “Swapping duties for one day is not an ignorable prospect at all, although she was reluctant to accept the offer, whatever the reason.” Caring a fig for the colleagues who call him henpecked in a sarcastic way, he proudly performs everyday errands on Sunday to give her respite least once a week. Plus, keeping the male ego aside has helped him get rid of some extra kilograms that he had been trying to shed for long before making this lofty resolution.

Redefining masculinity is what we need today. There’s no harm in doing some of the chores, for your fitness and the health of the sweet relation with whom you’ll face the adversities of life together.

It’s time we pondered why we don’t have an antonym for hen-pecked, when women forsake everything for the sake of little they get in return. I sat chewing the cud after this long reply from a brother. If you are a man, be a woman on Sunday.

The writer is a Panchkula-based freelance contributor

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