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There are no free lunches

india Updated: Sep 13, 2012 22:47 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A man comes home and finds it in a mess: the sink overflowing with unwashed dishes, the breakfast plates still on the table and the living room untidy. Astonished and angry, he asks his wife why it is in such a state. The wife retorts, “Everyday you ask me what do I do the whole day. So today I did nothing.” This old wives’ tale may soon become a reality for husbands in India if a proposal mooted by the women and child development ministry is implemented and they choose to ignore it. According to news reports, the Centre is considering a proposal to make it mandatory for men to share a percentage of their income with their wives if they stay at home and do the household chores.

While many have called the proposal absurd, we feel it may end up benefiting both parties. By parting with some cash, the husbands can earn the right to enjoy guilt-free — if not nagging-free — weekends sleeping on the sofa and watching MS Dhoni and his boys conquer the world. The wives can also have their share of fun: after all, money makes the world go round. So there could be some guilt-free shopping trips with other wives and a nice little kitty in the bank to take care of sudden shopping urges. Ladies, please raise your brooms and hail the government! Aren’t you already feeling empowered?

But before such a beautiful day dawns and the law is passed by Parliament (now, let’s not bring up the topic of women’s reservation here, we will deal with it later), some are already opposing the idea. The working wives association is preparing a petition to force the government to include them in the law as well since they do double shifts (home and office) and need the extra cash too. The government cannot deny them their fair share, can it? After all, working wives argue that the logic that they are empowered because they earn is wrong because in many homes that’s not the case. But as we talk about the wives and working wives, there is another group that the government must think about, since their breed is growing steadily: the house-husbands. They have financial rights too.