Being in the mid- forties, I have been lucky to see my great grandparents, my grandparents (both paternal & maternal side), my parents and now I am with my sons and a daughter-in-law.
When I aggregate my experiences of all these years, I feel I am quite rich in experiences, the ups and downs, the happy and the ugly, the highs & lows, I have been spectator of all and I have gained a lot from those times.
It helped me to handle the situations of life and even tough ones seems minuscule to me, it’s all because of the experiences I have gained in the early tenure of my life.
In my paternal side, there were lot of daughters and sons were in counting, very few so naturally the male members were more pampered than the girls of our family and they too showed their power to girls, ordering them, making them run for honoring the guests and blah, blah…. Undefinable.
Times changed and so the situations too took a U turn and gradually a concern and regard for girls developed and they were no more regarded as a burden or load.
This was my era, we are four sisters and one brother, the youngest one.
If somebody at school or colony inquired about my siblings, Mine answer was a simple one,
“Bhai ke intezaar mein, char behen.” And listening to my reply, many frowned or smirked at me.
I would sum up, “where am I wrong, it’s a truth.”
People would laugh as if I had cracked a joke….okay…it was for lighter vein…let’s move forward to the topic.
In our time, we had enough support staff at home plus a joint family, so we did not had much concern as how the work at home will be managed and who will do.
Due to joint family system, even Mom and Granny did not had tough time as of now, but I must mention that the best life was of the male members…their life revolved around one word…Dominance and none could supersede them or cut through.
So the male members had royal life, ironed clothes laid on bed, breakfast and dinner laid on the table, polished shoes waiting at the doorstep, few were so royal that they got water filled mugs in toilets….Wow…posh and regal life
I feel if they had the option, they would have asked to feed them and clean their potty. It wasn’t their fault, they were reared like that that the male members cannot help or do any domestic work, their part is to see the financial aspects of house and has to earn for the family, that’s it.
Who filled their minds with these rubbish? Women of the house…be it Granny, Mom, Aunts or Elder Sisters and neighborhood Aunts, how can they be missed.
The male members regarded themselves as Super power and they enacted their roles in the best possible way.
Family disintegrated, nuclear families came up owing to employment in urban areas and families moved away.
The support staff too was not readily available and the lady of the house too started earning…the result was the overburden on the woman of the family. She did not complain till she could bear but a time came up, when she could not handle anymore.
She longed for help, someone who could #ShareTheLoad. Gradually, the men of the family realized that his better half needed help to run the house.
The irony was when the men found their ladies as logs on bed, not responding to their calls and the advertisements, the NGO voices, the social media efforts to make male members realize that they too have their role in household chores and even the mothers who spoiled their brats in youth started condemning them for been non-supportive and even the kids started demanding things from their Pops, in helping them to ready them for school, pack their tiffin- box etc….so from all quarters, the Men started receiving calls to bug up and enter the domain of kitchen and home, which was considered as a woman’s world.
Finally, Men took their turns and started managing the woman’s world. In the beginning, they did spoil things, disturbed the management…but this has to come…they were new learners and people learn from trials and errors, we all know and we the women too have gone to excellence treading on the same path….this was the period when I got married and moved in my independent domain…and I was the one who smirked and scorned when things did not go proper…but tried to hush the matter and did not disclose my dissatisfaction, else I would not have received the support.
I turned my head around to watch others in my locality…yes…all the male members had changed their mind set and was involved in sharing the load of their Madame’s in some way or the other….Ahh…Finally the Men were in.
In the start, they helped in getting the kids ready for morning school, packing the cooked breakfast, dropping at school bus stop, polishing shoes and gradually…they found themselves in kitchen doing cooking on special days, learnt to operate washing machines…so they had taken up the work of laundry in their hands…wives left them to manage their own daily clothes and kids uniform, did not let them venture into their dresses world…they dreaded the consequence.
This whole transformation of Men to enter the one time restricted zone did not happen in few days, it took long years but indeed the changes came.
Today, Step into your relative or friend’s house, you won’t be surprised to find the Men in kitchen, spreading clothes in balcony or you might be lucky to get a cup of tea brewed by them, the Man can be the husband, father or the son of the house.
The eyes of onlookers have adjusted too…no more comments are passed…rather the efforts are praised.
Coming to my children, I never instilled in them the feeling that the domestic chores are the woman’s world rather I have enjoyed working with them…be it taking help in cooking, attending the guests, loading the machines, making beds. Even if I am not there, the guests don’t return without having tea and snacks…the cooking and kitchen is done.
They are used to it…in my family, all work and there is nothing like woman’s domain. I have made them independent and reared them in such a manner that there is no feeling that this work is stereotyped for women rather my daughter-in-law receives help from her hubby and her brother-in-law.
They too will instill the same thing in their Gen Next and no more it will be heard that this household domain is only for girls or woman…rather…it will be that it is for all the people who dwell in house irrespective of gender and no more the girls or women will be dragging themselves alone in household work.
At present, the scenario is that the male members don’t order their women counterparts to serve them water or tea, if they need they take themselves rather they ask the people nearby if the others too want to have water or tea.
Remarkable change has come and with the time passage, it will be more refined and polished. The Ego is diminishing from the world of Men…but it hasn’t disappeared completely but I am sure in the coming years, the existence of it will vanish in the air.
Mother-in-laws don’t make faces if her daughter-in-law orders or requests her son to #ShareTheLoad, rather she too adds in her requests.
The voices of all, Social media, Social networks, Television, Internet, Books and Magazines, the independent workers, NGOs and lot others have brought in great change in our social system, it has revolutionized the minds of masses.
When I look back and reconcile with the past forty years, I find we have marched a long distance and we have gained freedom…freedom of expression, freedom to fulfill our ambitions and passions.
The wings that was clipped has been released and we have soared high in the sky.
Wish to see the morning when there won’t be any existence of GENDER STEREOTYPE in the coming Gen Next.
I wish Akshara all the best for their efforts and they excel in their plans.