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Why Was ‘Sahab’ Burning His Hand In The Kitchen Such A Big Deal?

Posted: March 17, 2021

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After my husband burnt his hand, I went on to his office to check on how he was doing. But I wasn’t prepared for what lay ahead for me.

I woke up with a start and grabbed my phone to check the time. Gosh, it was 8.30 already. Somehow, I had missed the alarm. I turned over and saw that the other side of the bed was empty. As quickly as I could, I got up and walked towards the kitchen. Just then I saw my husband sitting at the dining table and eating his breakfast.

He looked at my dishevelled state and said, “Arrey tum kyun uthi? (Why did you wake up?) You should have slept in. I fixed my own breakfast,” he said with a glint of pride in his eyes.

In the same breath he also added, “Lekin mera haath jal gaya! (But I also burnt my hand)

My eyes immediately went to his hands. I could see two red marks, just below his knuckles on his right hand.

“Is it hurting?” I asked, my eyes full of concern.

“It was burning so I held it under cold water. Now it’s fine,” he said bravely.

I smiled at him in relief and sat down next to him as he wolfed down his toast and eggs. He left for work and I went on with my quotidian chores.

‘Saab ka haath jal gaya!’

By about 10 am, the office boy had come enquiring for an ointment meant for burns. “Kya hua?” (What happened?) I asked.

Saab ka haath jal gaya tha na ghar pe, abhi chaaley aa gaye hai!” he said, his voice laced with worry. (Sir had burnt his hand at home and now he has burn blisters)

I had no ointment with me. And I also checked with my neighbours, but sadly no one had one. Immediately, I sent someone to get it from the medical shop.

I called my husband and asked him to use some ice in the meantime. He told me he had got some cold atta which he had placed on his burn and that was giving him relief.

I then went on to his office to give the ointment and also check on how he was doing. But I wasn’t prepared for what lay ahead for me.

Whoever I came across wouldn’t fail to mention the burn on Sahab’s hand. From his fellow officers to the office clerks, there were murmurs and pitiful looks being exchanged. ‘Sahab’ also had a matching forlorn look that seemed to fetch him more sympathy.

That’s when I lost it

And the burn marks were looking even redder and staring back accusingly at me, as though it was my fault. But somehow instead of feeling sorry for him, I was annoyed.

“Just one day when the onus of making breakfast fell upon you, you had to go and burn your hands. And as if that was not enough, you are now showing off your heat blisters like it is some sort of achievement.

‘My hands have burnt so many times, aur koi puchtha tak nahi hai. (No one bothers asking about it). Now everyone must be thinking that I am such a bad wife and I can’t even make wake up in time to make breakfast for my husband,” I lashed out at my husband who looked flustered with my sudden outburst.

But instead of venturing into a predictable blame game, he surprised me and sat me down.

He said, “How does it matter what other people think? So what if they think I make breakfast every day. Why is it so shameful? How does that even make you a bad wife?”

I stared at him sheepishly. He went on to say, “Why does your feminism take a nosedive when it comes to such trivial issues? As for burning my hand, it really hurt and I needed something immediately for relief. I guess it also showed that I needed to step into the kitchen more often,” he said with a nervous chuckle.

Isn’t it all about equal partnership?

I was floored by my husband’s monologue. He had actually nailed it. I had just fallen into a pit that I had dug myself.

Well, I am sure many of you reading this would have burnt your hands umpteen number of times. Sometimes it’s the spluttering oil or sometimes it’s just hot steam. Some scars can be seen and some not. Meanwhile, some marks fresh or some fading into oblivion.

Nevertheless, they definitely wouldn’t have garnered even the bat of an eyelid by anyone. You would have just held it under cold water for some time and resumed work once again.

On the one hand, we scream ourselves hoarse saying marriage is all about equal partnership. Along with parenting, even household chores need to be shared, yet years of conditioning still make us behave in strange ways.

A husband entering the kitchen need not be just a once in a week event or something reserved for special occasions. It should become as normal as seeing a woman in the kitchen. Only then would a burn on a man’s hand will not invite as much attention as it just did.

Picture credits: Still from Amazon Prime series Four More Shots, Please

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I am a mom who works from home and dabbles with writing when time permits.

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