To have it all

Despite claiming to be a progressive society, we haven’t yet freed ourselves from the noose of orthodoxy and out-dated customs that were firmly tied to us since time immoral. From dowry practices to forcing women to be stay-at-home wives, patriarchy continues to be the core of our DNA the reason why this strange reason behind an impending high-profile didn’t take me by surprise. For what I can call the totally misogynistic and sophomoric reason, a filmmaker is all set to part ways with his actress wife, since his parents are vehemently against the thriving career of his wife, and wants her to be the typical pallu-clad, doormat-like partner with zero self-identity. Paying obeisance to the patriarchal mind-set, a channel even aired an ‘exclusive’ conversation with his dad who never shied away from hurling the entire blame on his ‘ambitious’ daughter-in-law.

What kind of forward-thinking society are we claiming to be living in, where someone guiltlessly walkout of his blissful marital life just because his wife is harmlessly ambitious and longs to have a stable career of her own? The incident, with the many unaccounted others, only goes to reaffirm repeatedly that nothing has dethroned the sense of authoritarianism and brashness that several men continue to brazenly carry with pride. It also reminds me of the audacity of a supposedly prospective groom whom my parents choose for me from a matrimonial website. A pot-bellied agricultural officer who was nearly 7-8 years elder to me back then, and more than evidently old-fashioned, he expressed his inherent and infuriatingly regressive outlook at the very first sight by asking me if I would bid goodbye to my stable writing career if he expresses his ‘willingness’ to marry me. Not wasting a second to pamper his boorishness, I quickly yet politely expressed the denial loud and clear, while struggling to hide my anger and humiliation for having wasted an hour of my precious time to meet a narrow-minded chauvinist. I was desperate to shun his fatuity and end the conversation right away.

to have it all

Marriage is undoubtedly an important milestone, but not the ultimate aim for living, the reason why this obstinacy to make women sacrifice their career at the marriage altar is a preposterous practice that I am yet to comprehended. A happy household is unquestionably a bliss that every woman would want to have, and I am no different. But this should never come with relentless persecution for having chosen a thriving career. Running a home in clockwork precision is not just the responsibility of women alone, and women needn’t relinquish her career aspirations and forcefully domesticate themselves to become the perfect wife and a perfect mother that the world wants her to be.

Marriage and motherhood are the most precious phases that no woman would want to give up on. But we never get to see them coming in the way of successful men. For most women these milestones are mostly followed by the abrupt ending of their careers and ambitions. While this can be argued as a matter of choice, the fact is there is no choice at all, other than giving up jobs and career to “settle down” as per societal norms. No programs on educating and empowering girls and women will succeed in our country unless there’s a serious change in the mind-set. It’s high time to debunk the age-old notion of stereotypical gender roles. The contributions should be equal, and so should be the sacrifices. If this turns out impracticable, like women, men too can stay at home and be the caregivers while women become breadwinners. In other words, a change in roles should become totally acceptable and normal. Don’t you think so?

PS – If a couple dares to reverse the accepted roles within a marriage, will a man easily survive the ridicule, insecurities, and scorns our boorish society, to remain as a stay-at-home spouse and support his wife wholeheartedly? I really doubt. Supportive life partners like Kashyap Deorah are very rare to find.

If you are wondering who Kashyap Deorah is, watch this CNBC-TV18 Young Turks video snippet.

Kashyap Deorah

(Photo courtesy of @righthalf)


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