Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Confusions of the Thinking Mind

Picture this. Year 2009. A couple who live by themselves. The husband, Mr Open Minded , 60 yrs old, closed his own business 5 years back.[He didnt have a choice about it and did what he had to in the give circumstances]. The wife, Ms Independent, 55 yrs , is working at a 9 to 6 job. they have a debt to clear n Ms independent intends on quitting her job once the loan has been taken care of. Mr Open-minded helps around the house. As needed he washes clothes (India style, on a washing stone; not by loading the washing machine!!), sweeps n mops the house, washes the front porch n draws a rangoli etc etc. Ms Independent does her share of house-work, cooking, cleaning dishes etc.

So what is your instant reaction to such a story? Do you want to pat the guy on the back and say New-age man and applaud him for throwing in a helping hand? For being broad-minded enough to agree and live this set-up?

Well.tho not completely, for a while..that was my reaction. I convinced myself that this is development n change n this is what we are heading to. But no more fooling myself,. Something , just something seems to be amiss with the set-up. It doesn’t paint the picture of a happy couple leading a happy life. I’m not sure if the husband should actually be called “Mr Open-minded”. Or the Wife “Ms Independent”. She is more like “Ms supporter” and he “Mr easy-way-out”

For starters I know the Ms Supporter is tired of working @ a 9-6 job. She has been doing this for the last 25 odd years. She needs a break. BUT if a debt must be cleared, then someone has got to work. n if its okay for a guy to work even when he doesn’t want to, why can’t the same hold true for a woman? N its not that Mr Easy-Way-Out has a job opportunity but won’t take it up. He doesn’t have any that are “appropriate”. And India is not yet matured to treat all jobs with the same dignity.

If I don’t feel sorry for a house wife (now known as home maker) who does the home tasks why should I feel sorry for a guy who is at home, who does the same? BUT it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of a guy drawing a rangoli in front of the house at 6 am! There is something about it that doesn’t look as modern as it sounds.

So much for preaching the equality of men and women! Given my reactions, should I be branded as a hypocrite in this situation? Is it just me who has this kinda reaction? Can my resistance to this scenario be categorized under the “normal” general resistance to change and will I be able to look at the same situation in a positive manner few years down the line when it is more prevalent? Will such a scenario become more prevalent in the coming years?

What if I told you that now, Mr Easy-Way-Out has b’come used to Ms Supporter providing for them and so shows no inclination to contribute to the finances in any manner so that she can retire soon, like she wishes to? Even when Ms Supporter says that she wants to quit..he clearly says/shows his disagreement with the idea and prods her to continue working atleast part-time. That can’t be the right thing to do!?! But if both of them are done working, then what does the family do to provide for themselves?!

Sorry, I’ve raised a zillion questions in this post. But my mind feels very confused. It’s not able to come up with any solution. What do you feel about all this?