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I know of someone who makes his wife repeatedly list down all the ways in which she makes meaningful contributions towards the household. Really? Then he might as well hand her a collar to tie around her neck.
‘If you made any money of your own, you’d be more careful while spending mine.’
Find this cringeworthy? I did as well.
Over a workout session, a friend of mine told me about how her husband had been giving her a hard time over months, in his sometimes passive aggressive, sometimes belittling ways, ever since her business had to downsize considerably, in conjunction with which, some investments sank as well.
They belong to a well to do family, with a big house, three kids, international holidays et all, the usual trappings of a happy urban life. So to me this came as a shock. How could the sweet, mild mannered, witty husband suddenly transform into this Goga Kapoor like bad guy?
Things had deteriorated to a point where, assaulted with this guilt of ‘not contributing enough’ she was walking around in torn shoes, refusing to go to the parlour for any feminine basics and changing whatever she could in her life to make a frugal living. The financial situation didn’t seem to be bothering the husband though, as he continued spending lavishly on personal items, friends’ birthdays, his special diet meals etc.
This is an eternal debate from the time of the Neanderthals in the evolutionary scheme of things. ‘I man, I forage, get food, build house. Ooga Booga. You woman, you keep house, take care of kids’! Equitable distribution of responsibilities? Fair enough.
But things have changed so drastically that its not that simple or fair anymore. I wouldn’t like to paint all men with one brush because there is an army of good guys as well. But what infuriates me to the core is when a marriage or a relationship stops being a compatible and understanding based give and take, and turns transactional, like someone is keeping track of debits and credits without factoring in anything else.
I have heard from many friends, about being rated worthy and treated according to their financial capabilities. Their ‘worth’ is determined by how much they can make, and everything that they do for the home, children, as daughters or in any other capacity is assumed a given.
I know of someone who makes his wife repeatedly list down all the ways in which she makes meaningful contributions towards the household. Really? Then he might as well hand her a collar to tie around her neck. When you take respect and dignity out of the equation, there’s nothing left in a relationship to salvage.
We all come from different backgrounds. Some of us have seen our mothers and other women folk in the house being treated like deities and some, a burden. But what unites us is the need for respect and understanding.
Last week I met two good friends who have left their jobs after a second child. Two intelligent, capable, dynamic women who left their promising careers to do what must be done, to do it well and to do it with all their hearts.
There are a million such cases all over India and many more around the world. To peg someone’s worth, working or otherwise, on a monetary scale is a myopic and cruel thing to do. Happiness is a nectar that is brewed in the hands of the women of any home. Questioning the power that is held in them, should be a punishable crime.
Image source: a still from Kahani 2
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