Times are changing and so are perceptions about gender roles. Men aren’t the only ones stepping outside comfortable homes and women aren’t the only ones taking care of the household. The modern relationship has also evolved with the walk of time — and it’s great! An increasingly large number of young men and women are growing to realise that together, they can achieve so much more, and at the end of the day, there’s no set of rules defining what a man should do or a woman shouldn’t do because, really, it’s all about the sort of companionship that looks out for the other, cares for the other.
An archaic practice that has been ruling the lives of the people of the subcontinent is how the kitchen isn’t the man’s domain (are you wondering who works in the kitchens of the finest restaurants of the world?).
It saddens me to write this, but there are still households — and there always will be if the media doesn’t halt with stereotypical productions that feed easily influenced masses — where girls are told to serve food to their brothers, but never the other way around; where women are seen toiling away in front of the stove, mastering the art of making ‘gol rotis’ and the perfect biryani because “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, but never have we had the rare pleasure of witnessing a husband lovingly cook for his wife.
These unappreciated women wholeheartedly look after the entire household — cleaning, cooking, doing all of those little chores that ‘some’ men (yes, one must be politically correct, no?) are just lazy to do — but never have we had the rare pleasure of watching these men help her wash the plate that they ate in.
We — yes, we — seem to forget that a home is made a home by the efforts of two individuals sworn as one, and not just the woman’s. Sadly, the ideas of companionship and compassion have been unjustly brushed aside as ‘unrealistic expectations’.
A common complaint that one hears from married men — and that makes you sad for their boring lives — is that their wives are always too busy with the household chores to spend time with them. One wonders if they’ve ever tried to work this out by offering to do the dishes together? Or the laundry? Or cleaning up the mess in the living room? Maybe the fact that doing things together strengthens the relationship is just an old wives’ tale. Just like going on a vacation? Or for a movie?
With a pair of perfectly healthy arms and legs, it’s a surprise – and a shame -that most boys expect their mothers to iron their clothes, to clean the mess that is their room. With an attitude that demonstrates how dependent these men are on women, one naturally wonders why they consider themselves to be the superior sex.
And the men who already do that?
It’s safe to say that they have every right to be proud of themselves because they’re doing things the right way, and have earned the respect of their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, along the way, and have set a laudable example for their sons. They have broken stereotypes — if women who rise above stereotypes are celebrated, one can clap for these men, too! — and have the eye and the heart to see beyond the tired smiles on the faces of these women — extraordinary homemakers — who selflessly look after them, sacrificing, perhaps, their own dreams and ambitions for theirs.
And as I approach the end of this observation, I am very proudly reminded of a dear cousin and friend who taught her son the basic survival skill of cooking as a way of demonstrating the scientific phenomenon of melting, boiling, freezing, crystallization, and the likes; and taugh him that by picking up his own clutter, he’s been a responsible man. More power to you, lady! (Ladies and gentlemen, you may want to take that up!)