And I would like to thank… Savita Aunty!!!

“For all my achievement, I would like to thank….” went a speech by my wife when she achieved something…and in her priority order of thanks, just after me was Savita aunty and Divya ben… our full-time home support and cook…

It’s common knowledge in India that success in a working woman’s life is brought by… the Bai!!! No wonder, mood swings of the working Indian women depend more on the maids & cooks presence or absence than PMS and alcohol combined… so it was actually a surprise that I was still above Savita aunty & Divya ben in my wife’s list… guess she was being courteous in public…

But what made me think was… that even in this world of feminism, how a woman desperately still needs a woman (be a maid, cook, mother, in-law or friend) more than a man to succeed in the day to day life… to manage home or children… Men (mostly) have not evolved enough, in India at least, to play that role yet – evidenced by my wife’s claimed discovery of a force greater than gravity between my bum & our home’s couch that magically activates itself the moment I come home 🙂 …

And when I switch on the TV, whilst I see that there are quite a few ads1 showing a role reversal and suggest a coming around the corner for role stereotyping… they all are still selling detergents, jewelry, cosmetics and watches… and not cars, homes or mutual funds…

Consider something real to understand our attitudes… my friend’s wife asked him to go out with his friends & have fun for some nights for a change… since he couldn’t think of anything (he surely must be dead inside), he did nothing… the wife thereafter had a couple of good nights whilst he had to babysit the kids… And then he really felt dead – angry on his wife, terrible for having been asked to babysit after his day at work… What do you think??? In their heart, most of the men will empathize with my friend… and that shows how we men still feel about our roles… We cannot accept a woman having a life of her own if we cannot be part of it or if it comes at our unsolicited expense… But the reverse is not such a rebellious thought is it? Submission of a woman of her life / time has a lesser value and is more acceptable in our mind than that of a man…

Another subtle indicator is the extent of subconscious appreciation (by men) & acceptance (by women) of the self-sacrificing and stereotyped wife material in Bollywood movies… A Deepika in micro shorts is good as a girlfriend, but it’s Diana in her simplicity that is one considered as wife material2… A Kajol as a tomboy is a good friend, but when the time comes for her to be the wife, her attire has to be the saree and with the kids3… And a Kangana, as someone following her dreams – as a queen4, is adored for having played an exceptional role – but not accepted inwardly as the norm…

No wonder, affairs of the heart, is another area where measuring tapes are different… The apology of a flirtatious (not cheating – for that mostly has deadly repercussions these days) husband on being caught is generally accepted as being enough – what more does a woman want, the man has accepted his mistake & said sorry… He was either having harmless fun or digressed mostly because he misses the fun in the relationship with his wife (as it was she who decided to kill the fun by dedicating herself to managing the home & the kids – how insensitive of her)… But as you might have guessed by now… would the man accept or be expected to accept the apology if the opposite had happened?

My wife asked me when we first met for checking each other’s compatibility for marriage – whether I wanted a wife or a daughter in law… I gave a very diplomatic answer at that time but when it came to making the choice, in reality, I chose the wife… Most of the Indian men are still confused though in their choice if they want a wife, daughter in law or a mother for their kids… and in some of the sick ones amongst us, even a maids role comes into consideration for their life partner…

Please do not get me wrong… this is not an article on men bashing and feminism (am not looking to score some brownie points from my wife here – though it wouldn’t harm )… for it’s not all our guys fault… women are equal to blame – they are guilty of wilting into a role, at least initially, which they cannot sustain or do not like… guilty of not being assertive of their true desires… I have seen highly educated women sacrifice their aspirations, change their personalities, habits, joys, friends… essentially their life… for they believe fulfilling the wishes of their husband is a higher calling for them – at some level I think they aspire to feel like the sacrificial hero – without them their husbands wishes would suffocate… playing a self-sacrificing soul in a relationship is still preferred by many a woman… but then many now a days, unfortunately for us man, cannot reconcile doing it for all their life (like women in previous generations mostly did)… and so sadly for us things need to change…

What I basically want to say is… Men are still men (or as another ad goes… men will be men)… and in all honesty, we would not like any role reversal i.e. the things we expect a woman to do be expected by them from us…  it’s really the fear of our image in front our family, friends, society & law (& to a small extent our guilt) that keeps the self-centeredness of most us men in check… as a barometer of our hypocrisy, we are still the predominant gender that loves porn that’s watched discreetly – the only industry (apart from the related prostitution business) where women get paid more than us… in reality, a wife’s career is still secondary to the husband & needs to be flexible to that needs… if a maid or cook does not come, in our mind it’s still the wife’s headache… and the ad that asks to share the load – is still that of the detergent and not of financing a home!

And it’s not our fault… demand determines supply… if the demands of women are strong enough, we men generally would wilt & supply… after all, with still an unequal sex ratio today, the educated woman of tomorrow will hold their scarcity leverage & be able to demand and get what they want…

The real truth is that women realize that other women are easily available, are more amiable to their requirements and are better suited in fulfilling their needs anyways… Hence, they are in no hurry in making the stubborn and selfish Indian men change… Therefore, I guess the likes of Savita aunty and Divya ben will continue to be at the top of the real thank you lists for quite some time in future… Till then… I am just thankful, to my wife for publicly considering me above them in that list & in private that Savita aunty & Divya ben are still there above me, at the top of that list 🙂 …

– Written on 11 January 2016.

 1 Google feminism in Indian advertisement… Arial washing detergent campaign of share the workload, Tanishq jewelry ads, Bharat Matrimony ads, Biba ads, to name a few.

2 Reference is to characters played by the actors in the Bollywood movie Cocktail

3 Reference is to the character played by the actor in the Bollywood movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

4 Reference is to the character played by the actor in the Bollywood movie Queen

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tania Mitra says:

    Overwhelming to see someone put down true facts about being the F Gender. Very well written and appreciate the thought process too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. vdgandhi says:

      Thanks so much Tania.

      Like

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