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Fatherhood is very essential to the constitution of manhood in our society. But when this joy is snatched away from some men, who do they turn to?
I was not sure about this one.I adore someone and I don’t know if I wanted to write this.But we don’t talk about this as much as we should.And there are many men out there who live with this pain and find it difficult to make peace with it.And so do their partners.
Ever thought why our films in Bollywood make such a big deal about ‘maa ka doodh’ and ‘doodh ka karz’ (the value of mother’s milk), and not pita ka yogdaan a.k.a sperm (excluding the Vicky Donor reference where sperm donation was all fun until his own life was in turmoil)?
Because it’s easier to put women on a pedestal and burden them with all the ‘sanskars’ and maternal morality.But unintentionally, we mute all the discussion around the pressures on a man.
Well, not exactly unintentionally.Patriarchy aims to keep women homebound. In this process, we kill all the natural instincts men have to love, or rather, show their love to their child (precisely – not more than they ‘should’).Yes, a mother’s love is unconditional. But there is ‘more’ and ‘less’ when it comes to father’s love according to the society.
Many boys grow up learning to ‘earn’ a hug or approval from their dad. All conversations take place via their mother. If your father asks about you or wants to talk to you, something must be very serious.These dads often smile. They laugh only on special occasions. They seldom complain. They never cry.In a completely opposite fashion, some boys grow up to have their best friend in their dad.Dads who play with their kids, teach them how to drive, laugh out loud in the public and show affection to their wife.
But in most cases, the father is seen as the main provider to the family.The mother feeds the home, nourishes the child. The father runs the house.That’s the image most have.And the role of a man as a father is all the more central and exclusive in homes where the mother, or both parents, work(s). In homes like these, fathers are expected as equal participants at home.
All in all, boys relate differently to their fathers than they do with their mothers.
The dreams of men and women are similar but different.While many women know how to communicate, most men don’t.Be it emotional expressiveness or inexpressiveness, the idea is to always be the provider (and protector) as parents. Most men choose a life with their special one to raise a family.Fatherhood is very essential to the constitution of manhood in our society.
But when this joy is snatched away from some men, who do they turn to?
In conservative societies, such men are ridiculed. In non-conservative societies, there is no ridicule, but there is no solid support either.
You’d be surprised to know that even in the most liberal societies, men have to hide their pain.They look for solace in their buddies, only to see them become fathers one day. They try not to look into the eyes of their partners and their pain. Many try to stay away from home, family, friends, and throw themselves into work. Work keeps them going. It keeps them alive.
Couple this stress with constant, unwanted, unpleasant intervention from friends and families and even strangers. Constant scrutiny and string of advices – this medicine, that yoga, lectures on habits and lifestyle.And it goes without saying how wonderful we are, as a society, to humiliate and add to the distress of two innocent lives already going through so much.
The continuous visits to the doctor only to find out that it’s you and not your partner who has the ‘problem’, and it’s you who is causing this pain to your partner and stress in the relationship, is all the more stressful.All this makes a man hide everything he feels in that moment…His dreams, his aspirations, his form and way of loving. His joy. All shattered in a moment, in the face of a science lab test report.The moment of ‘may be I am not good enough for her’. Maybe she deserves better. Maybe I should let her go.
The older I grow, the more I see my male friends talk about marriage and fatherhood. It’s such a pleasure to see them talk about future, savings, how they would raise a child, travel plans, adventures. How as fathers, they would want to walk the distance that existed between them and their father.
Why can we not teach love and support, when we teach science and mathematics?Our surroundings shape us into what we become.Why can we not talk about mard ka dard (a man’s pain), when we talk about baap ka naam (the father’s name/lineage)?Surely our films, pop culture, our literature, all have had a role to play. The wrong role.
If only our films could portray how a couple rebuilds their relationship, be supportive and loving to each other, and see themselves as a complete family or choose other alternatives to be parents.But then which hero would play that role? Heroes don’t fail.
But here’s the thing – we need to accept that this is not failure.This is normal. And, very natural. And, so is the pain that comes with it.And, that the more we’ll talk about this, the more normal it would be – helping the men who hide their agony behind smiles or drown it temporarily with alcohol or work.
That we are human and not robots programmed for specific functions. And we are doing all that we can to survive in this very difficult world. And that’s more than enough.
Image credits Chalabala/Getty Images via Canva Pro
Mostly writing, other times painting. Here to celebrate little wins. I am on the same page as you, just a different book - you read mine, I'll read yours.
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