THE OTHER SIDE OF IT
his is a clinched truth – we as Indians are not exactly proud of our bad roads with pot holes, corrupt bureaucracy, inefficient police and chair adhering politicians. What we indisputably are or were proud of is our social fabric which weaves the warps of harmony and wafts of commitment; the end result is a warm cocoon of security called Home. It may not be an imposing mansion of designed décor and silk sheen of curtains and leather furniture of elite taste, but an ordinary household where one generation considers the wellbeing of every creature under its care, its prime motive in life.
Here, woman is the pivotal figure whose unabating sincerity and devotion holds together the old parents, a demanding husband, young or not so young children, servants, pets et al. At times working outside the house also, to make her own contribution to the family coffer – she is invariably the sacrificing Indian mom whose daughter born in the 70s or 80s terms the former’s life in modern day parlance – ‘not happening’ and boring. The bone crushing regime of shouldering the burden of morality and values somehow let this woman think and pause. She had been taken for granted for ages for thankless insipid rut. In retaliation/reprisal she resolved to bring up her daughter as a practical, no nonsense kind of a person who considered sentiments mawkish and humbug. This twenty something girl, not giving and selfless, earns a fat pay packet, drives her own stylized car, dresses to please her sensualities and generally calls the shots. This girl who ought to have an equitable upbringing where she was equal to her male sibling is instead made to believe that she is the better one. In newfangled households it is a given thing that household chores demean a girl’s self esteem. Yes, boys can and should be made adept at everything!
To make things worse (or better), a conscious and deliberate attempt to project the girl child has wrought about a decline in male ego and a boost to that of the girl’s. Of course the exercise is to counter the irrational Indian fetish for male offsprings and shameful female foeticide. This noble endeavour for the upliftment of the fairer gender has effectively decimated the other one to an unfair state. We have taken the enthusiasm a bit too far, making it more ostentatious than subtle. For example a T.V. ad showing a male model on all fours begging for a biscuit from an amused girl. Yet another model – a handsome executive is being dragged to the kitchen by his tie, by his wife. Has manhood been rendered to eunuchism taking all the bullying from the girl passively, why can’t the girl’s highhandedness be termed domestic violence? Why is this generation of males expected to atone for all the sins his father or forefathers had committed against women. The percentage of men going through audacity may be statistically low, but definitely not ignorable.
In this scene of role reversal where a man is shown kneading flour with his hairy fingers and a cigarette between lips, the wife calling from her Blackberry asking not to make the dough loose, A tormenting question prods our psyche – Now where do we go from here? The woman got her independence but insolence too. Her persona dazzles but there is no dignity. She is confidence personified yet her candour is almost arrogant. She is capable of arousing senses but lacks the cool caressing touch of her grand mother’s pallu which used to soothe many a creased brow. In this battle for rights and empowerment, the significant casualty is the sweet entity – Home – the magnificent edifice of bonding where a child’s fever merited the prior attention, where a husband’s look of general well being was an achievement, where a parent’s benediction was a bonus where a relative’s thankful acknowledgment was an award.
“An old lullaby of yore comes to mind – ‘Tere bachpan ko jawani ki duwa deti hoon, aur duwa deke pareshaan si ho jati hoon – I pray for your childhood to bloom to youth, but apprehensions about your adulthood bring a bead of sweat on my brow.
An earnest appeal to this emancipated or embittered woman – Let not the overzealous flame of new found liberty burn to ashes the cosy nest of a home which shelters your little ones where they feel insulated. You may be a successful entrepreneur, a celebrated scientist or a sought out clinician; all your achievements come to a naught if your child cries himself to sleep, alone in the darkness of night or your drug addict child lies forlorn in some dungeon of vice.
Also read another article from this author: On wings of prayers
*Parineeta Khar nee Zutshi was brought up in an extended family where joys and sorrows, even the illness and career of a child was a shared affair. Although she is a science graduate,. the penchant for English literature stood in her stead ; She came out with an Honours in English literature. She further accomplished her Masters in the same subject from the University of Kashmir.
Her restless existence had no time to grow as she got married during her university days. Her husband’s career tossed her on to the far off lanes of Paris. Motherhood, responsibilities of a wife and a daughter-in-law and running a household with a scientist husband kept her busy for a good part of her energetic years.
When the demand for her other roles diminished – she had time to reminisce. The stored up memories gushed out in a deluge. She started writing short stories for local newspapers.Her first book “ ON THE SHORES OF THE VITASTA” was published from the Writer’s Workshop of Calcutta. The other book “ WE WERE AND WE WILL BE “ was published from Utpal Publications, Delhi. Her stories depict a celebration of life – a continuation of life. Parineeta and her family have been living in Hyderabad from the last twenty eight years.
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Dear Parineeta, What you have said is so absolutely correct.I quote something on your lori in the article so well said: "Maine tere dushmanon se naata tab joda, jab tujhe badle ka nishana banaya; kokh se nikla dil na jana, hatheli ke beech woh zakham anjana; chubha hai teer aankhon se dil mai aab,samandar ki doori taye' hogi kab?" -RFK Let us stop the road of "No Return" by just teaching our kids be themselves, not revengeful as seems to be the case.
Added By Ney Kou
let us get in touch. i am in a village near hbd. send me your email adress. i will send you what i hace written about women and islam.
Added By asha kachru kachru
Cogent yet pungent march of civilization from gradual old to fast new values those have started plaguing our present day life.The author has done it wonderfully.
Added By pushkar ganjoo
Dear Parineeta,Your article fills my eyes with tears.Iam myself a 70's born women, faced the brunt of millitancy and still came out of it successfuly with a good education and career. I myself always struggled with not mixing up freedom with arrogance and off course did emerge out of it successfuly and now I have a daugter who is 3 years old.Your article inspires me to consciously think about an issue which was otherwise under covers not only for me but I guess for most of us.
Added By Rohini Vaishnavi
I want to reach Parineeta throgh this comment.Dear parineeta this is an old friend at college, an old neighbour at Kashmir, remember the days we were at Womens college, you me and others Sarla, Vineeta ant others.It was just a coincidence that i read your article today while i was cleaning fish for the GADBATA. Oh dear how i have felt you cannot imagine , it is a journey back to those lovely days and nights, those places.If you are able to remember be in touch. God bless you.
Added By Prafulla Nagri