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How does an average Indian man who shows the utmost respect for a mother treat a wife in such a disastrous manner? What makes this man tock in this particular way?
I have always wondered why is it that the average Indian male who is a model son, a model brother, a model friend, a model employee, a model blah blah tends to lose his lustre when it comes to being a model husband.
Why is it that a man who treats his mother like a queen, nay, an empress, seems to treat his wife like she was a non-entity, an invisible creature who is supposed to carry out her duties to look after him and his family and disappear afterward?
How come a man who could respect a female (read mom), love her to the point of giving up his life for her, do everything possible in his power to make her feel special treat another female (read wife) like a pariah?
I have seen so many cases in my life like these that it makes me wonder if there is something inherently wrong with the DNA of the Indian Male. If so, what is it? How could you treat the women who are related to you like they are avatars of Goddesses, and treat the woman who shares her life with you with such disdain?
I have tried to analyze these men, who always seem to be present in large numbers for me to conduct my research on. Most of them are very decent men, coming from families with good moral codes, and are hardworking, sensitive and caring. This is how their conversations went:
He: Hello Mom! How was your day?
Mom: Hello Beta, it was good, but I am a bit tired today.
He: Tired? Why Mom, what happened? Yes, your face looks drawn and you look exhausted.
Mom: Yes Beta, I had to wash my dish today.
He: You washed your dish? Why? What happened to the maid?
Mom: She did not come in today.
He: So, what happened to the in-house maid?
Mom: If you are referring to your wife, she thinks she is the queen here just because she has a job.
He: She should not have gone to work if she knew the maid wasn’t coming in. Let me call her.
Wife: You called me?
He: Yes. What took you so long?
Wife: I was busy preparing dinner
He: Why is it taking so long today. Mom looks so haggard and it is way past her dinner time.
Wife: The maid did not come in today, so I have had to wash the dishes and clean the kitchen before preparing dinner.
He: Mom said she did the dishes, so it should not take you so much time.
Wife: There were a lot of dishes, only one plate was washed.
He: And mom had to wash it. You should’ve remained home if it was the maid’s day off. I feel so ashamed that mom had to wash her own dish while my wife was enjoying at work.
Wife: I did not know that the maid was not coming in when I went to work.
He: You should’ve called Mom and asked her if the maid had come
Wife: I did not think about it.
He: Well, think about it from now onwards. Make sure you call Mom from work to see if the maid is in and if she isn’t, I want you to come home and make sure that Mom doesn’t have to wash her own dish.
He: And one more thing, no matter what, dinner has to be on the table at 7. Make sure of that, I won’t stand my mom being hungry for even a minute.
Mom: Thank you beta, I feel so faint.
He: Come Mom, let me take you out to Dinner.
Wife: But Dinner is almost ready….
He: Almost is not as good as done.
While I might have exaggerated a little, this is exactly how many conversations occur between a typical Indian couple with a mother in law in the picture (which is almost always the case).
I agree, the mom has given birth to a man and has a right over him, and he should treat her with kindness and respect. I have no issue with that; however, I have an issue with the same man behaving like a jerk towards his wife – the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.
If you think that this happens only in arranged marriages, then you are sadly mistaken. This syndrome often becomes worse in love marriages because our Hero is under tremendous pressure to prove to his family that his choice is right and in that effort, he basically tramples all over his wife’s life submitting her to serve his family.
One place I was able to find the answer for the reason for the Indian husband’s dilemma, is ironically in the thousand of jokes that are shared by the millions on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media. About the hapless husband who is just a paper figure whose life is governed by his strong and wilful wife who is like the President of United States, cartoonish and with the ability to veto and say anything that comes to her mind no matter how outlandish.
These jokes almost always convey the message that to listen to your wife and do what she says is akin to being a slave to her. That should not happen. If it does, then you are a henpecked husband. And that title is worse than death itself.
This has been conditioned into a man’s psyche, that if he were to sympathize with his wife and agree to her views, then he does not have a mind of his own and that he thinks with her brain because she has manipulated him to do so, the hapless child that he is.
So, these men are forced to discard whatever the wife puts forth even if it makes the most sense, because they fear that if they were to agree with her, then they would be ridiculed and mocked by their friends and family members.
I don’t think there are even 1% of men who would not mind about being labeled a spineless man who listens to his wife! Even the ones who do, do so covertly painting their wives’ views as their own.
So also, is the case with love. If the man were to show that he cares for his wife and loves her, then automatically it is assumed that he does not love his parents, siblings, friends, classmates, the entire world extending to the Universe.
It’s like if a man were to fall in love with his spouse, then he is incapable of loving anybody else.
The mom is at his throat lamenting that after loving him for more than 25 years of his life and taking care of him she is left with a man who loves his wife more than her. How could he be so heartless, such a brute?
The jokes before the wedding about this precise scenario are anything but light-hearted. They have a purpose of making sure that the man’s mind is conditioned to the fact that he is not allowed to love his wife.
The snide remarks about “how the son is my son until he gets a wife, that now he won’t have time for his family members” subtly but effectively influence the man, creating a block in his brain that has written on it – don’t love your wife too much and even if you do make sure you don’t make it obvious to anyone.
The man’s married life is spent in making sure that he is in line with this blockage that has been placed in his mind. If even one time he slips and makes it apparent that he actually loves his life, then he is beset with adjectives like chamcha (spoon) and Biwi ka Ghulam (servant of the wife). And your average Indian man will do anything not to be addressed with such flattering names. Even going to the extent of torturing their wives and making it seem like caring for them somehow translates into them being losers in life.
This is how Indian society has and continues to shape our men. The select few who have the courage to deviate from this path while being termed as losers in their lives seem to lead a very happy married life, appreciating and respecting their wives, and not afraid to show the world that they are in love with this amazing woman.
I wonder why our families and friends are intent on making lives hell for these men? Why is it that they have to set them on the path to failure in their married lives?
By the time these young men grow older and realize that their wives are the only ones who have been through thick and thin with them, and have put up with their idiocies never smearing the macho image that mattered more to them than anything else, it is either too late or too much water under the bridge – time which can never be regained. A time that should have been spent in building a relationship based on love and respect is instead wasted in this power struggle to prove to the world that they are the men of the house and their wives are completely under their control. These men, in turn, do the same to other men and the cycle continues.
Wishing a son, a brother or a friend a happy, married life with a wink and snide comments like “you are giving up their independence”, that “you won’t have time for us anymore”, that “you won’t be deciding your future anymore” is not going to help the marriage, least of all the man involved.
Instead let’s tell them that if they were to lead a happy married life, they would have to treat the woman who was going to spend more time with them than any other person in the world with the same respect, dignity, and love that they accord to their mom.
Let’s give our men the freedom to love and take care of their wives and not box them into this fake macho-ism that does nothing to better their lives. A real man treats all the women in his life (and those outside of it) with the same respect and dignity that his mom deserves. It is the responsibility of each one of us as a society to make sure it happens.
Please ignore all those misogynistic jokes that do nothing to help the institution of marriage, but everything to destroy it.
You won’t make fun of your mother; you won’t tolerate anyone making fun of her either – you should do the same for your wife too. Say no to all these wife-deriding jokes.
The human mind is very susceptible to suggestions, it takes cues from the environment around it and makes decisions based on what has been fed to it. If you feed it drivel, then it will make nonsensical decisions. Garbage in, garbage out. It is as simple as that.
Image source: shutterstock
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