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They were both careerists who connected over a common hobby – dance – and then got married. But no happily ever after; while HE continues pursuing his interest, SHE is shamed for it.
In her mid-20s, Kritika migrated to a big city to fulfill her career aspirations. She was well-educated and independent. She had a full time competitive but satisfactory job. She socialised in a fairly good circle of people.
She was passionate about a classical dance form – a hobby she had taken up in her childhood. She practiced steps and mudras at her Guru’s studio on weekends. The dance practice helped her unwind from the routine grind. She made sure to keep up with her practice regularly.
One day, she came across Sahil’s profile on a dating app. They right swiped each other, and chatted for a few days. Sahil had a similar job and social life. Moreover, he has been religiously following and practicing hip-hop dance form for ten years.
In fact, their love for dancing is what connected them in the first place.
After dating for 3 years, they decided to get married. There was some reluctance from their families in the beginning as they were from different states. But, parents got on-board eventually. Kritika and Sahil had a beautiful wedding.
They rejoined their jobs after a few days of their marriage. They began getting used to the ‘new normal’ grind of a married life. It was then that Sahil’s parents decided to move in with them.
Sahil rejoined his hiphop dance studio, practicing thrice a week. Kritika couldn’t find the time to restart her classical dance practice. The weekend breakfast often turned into brunch or there was a family outing or a visit to or from other relatives.
Her married life along with her demanding job added stress to Kritika’s life. And, she didn’t even have a chance to unwind through dancing.
Sahil and Kritak decided to organize a party at their house on one weekend. They invited family and friends.
Sahil decided to go for his practice early in the evening, assuring her that he will return by the time the party begins. Burdened with chores, Kritika asked him to cancel the practice, and help her with the preparations.
While they were having mild arguments on the subject, parents advised Kritika to let him go. Furthermore, they insisted that he attend his dance practice. After all, he had a hectic week, and he should get his leisure time to unwind!
In the party, Sahil narrated the whole story to their friends. He mockingly cribbed about his freedom being curbed after marriage. People supported his narrative, and mocked Kritika for being the ‘dominating wife’.
When Kritika explained how she had to give up her classical dance practice, these ‘wise’ people told her:
“Take care of Sahil first.”
“Don’t forget Sahil for your dance.”
“Practice your mudras at home.”
“How can you leave your household duties for your dance hobby after marriage?”
“Sahil needs time to relax after a hectic week.”
We encourage our daughters to pursue a hobby in childhood. We discourage the same for our women after marriage and childbirth.
It’s not like the society doesn’t understand. It understands men’s need to unwind. Dads’ need for quiet time away from their kids (nothing unusual about it). They unapologetically enjoy their personal time.
But, when moms speak about the same, they are shamed for being selfish. In fact, if a dad takes care of their child for an hour or so, he is awarded the best dad award by himself or people around him!
Irrespective of the gender, everyone needs time and chance to unwind from their routine. It can be playing cricket on Sundays or practicing raga of classical music or getting a deep body massage. It’s high time for society to stop shaming women for needing personal time.
Image source: a still from the Hindi short film Ghar ki Murgi
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