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Comedian Zakir Khan’s Hindi poem, Aur nani yaad aa gayi, is going viral on social media, in which he talks of how he is missing his mom’s cooking in lockdown as he has to do it all himself now.
Translated by Asefa Hafeez.
“Aise bure fase hain ki, Nani yaad aa gayi!Mummy teri mummy ki saari kahaani yaad aa gayi!”
Loosely translated, Zakir Khan is lamenting the fact that he’s stuck during the lockdown away from his mother, and he’s missing her cooking.
These are a few lines from comedian Zakir Khan’s poetry that is currently gone viral. These beautifully written words have evoked an emotional response from his fans on social media. Everyone who has been living away from family and their mother during the lockdown can relate to these emotions, especially men.
This lockdown has made us realise a lot of things that we have ignored for years, and one of them is this issue of men knowing nothing and doing nothing of housework, hidden behind these pretty lines of poetry, a problem which is known, but not accepted openly yet. Was this the kind of poetry we needed all along to recognise it?
But is this also the mother’s fault? Earlier these gender roles were very strictly divided in the household, women as caregiver and men as provider. But can this be applicable in the current scenario as well?
Now, at a time when we have to do things in the house for ourselves without easily available domestic help, both men and women have had to shed their respective traditional gender roles and learn to be both the caregiver and provider for themselves.
Are we proactively doing this in daily life or are we hiding behind pretty but ineffective words?
In a similar move, recently, AMUL released an ad, in which the doodle depicts how a working woman handles both family and her profession with ease. Yes women are handling both home and office, but are men doing the same? Men these days are leaving every responsibility to their wives.
Mothers generally want to keep their kids in comfort and not give them any work, but this kind of coddling hurts the children later in life, where every individual should be independent to be able to live a happy life. Parents are to a large extent responsible for their child’s attitude towards life, and they should prepare their kids accordingly.
But does all blame lie with parents? Shouldn’t we as adults be responsible for our own development as well, even men? One of the lines in this poetry goes,
“Maa tujhe batana chahiye tha na ki thandi roti pe ghee pighalta nahi hai.”
Loosely translated, Zakir Khan is now blaming his mom for not having taught him cooking and the nuances of it.
But this points towards the fact that not only did you never try to sustain yourself, but also never attempted to ask your mother about cooking something as simple as roti.
Yes, your mother has pampered you throughout your life, tolerated all your tantrums about when and what you wanted to eat. When you ate more, she cut her portions and when you ate less, she ate your leftover food. You were given the warmer, softer rotis while she ate the cold rotis herself. So how should she have told you about leftover food when she always gave you the best portions?
Wasn’t it your responsibility to ask about these things when you grew up and became ‘independent’ in all other ways?
When you don’t even bother to pick up your used cups and put them in the sink, how do you expect her to teach you to wash the dishes properly?
Now when for the first time in your life, you are responsible to make food for yourself, you suddenly remember your mother, and even pass on the blame that “you didn’t teach me this”? What about all that time when you don’t talk to her for days without ever responding to her text, didn’t you remember her then?
Try to understand your mother, see things from her perspective.
So she didn’t make you work at home, it could be because of her love and concern for you (even if slightly misplaced) but do you as her pampered child realise this? You were exempted from every responsibility the day you were born, the SON. Everyone was always at your beck and call, first your mother, then your wife, and later when you are older, your daughter-in-law. But aren’t you smart enough to take care of yourself?
Yes you grew up in a family where you were never expected to work at home but do you, now as an adult, take your responsibility seriously? Even now when you go home, do you try to help and understand her, or do you just assume that your comfort and wellbeing is her responsibility?
Have you ever wondered if your mother ever misses her mother as well, if she too wants to live life without care and stress like you? Let’s make poetry and doodles on that too. But then it will not be emotional and relatable, but something to be ashamed of, right?
Did you remember? Mother’s day is coming. Will you spend that writing poetry or will you actually do something to make her life better and easier? Only when you start taking your responsibility seriously, will you then understand the plight of your mother, your wife, and daughter-in-law.
There is still time, you can still go beyond pretty and flowery words and change your beliefs and actions. Don’t just remember your mother for her cooking, but for all other big and small sacrifices and struggles she has made to keep you happy. Nothing short of worshipping the ground she walks on is enough to show your respect for her.
First published in Hindi here.
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