September 18, 2012

On Chetan Bhagat, Phulkas and Gender Biases

Posted by Sunitha at 10:16 PM
I am seriously considering skipping today's Phulka making in favor of writing a retort to Mr Chetan Bhagat's article that Rumali posted for all of us to read. "In my house , my wife never makes Phulka, we outsource it to the help" was one of the most pompous words I'd read in a long while on this issue from a Guy. I'm pretty sure , any person with ample money could outsource cooking and cleaning to a well paid house hold help regardless of whether the wife is working or not. Wouldn't we all love a day when we could just relax and have food on the table, clean ironed clothes and a spotless house with out moving a pinkie finger if only we could afford it. So what, he doesn't expect his wife to cook for him because he has a decent cook employed, he doesn't expect his wife to do washing ,because a washer woman does it weekly etc etc..And he graciously lets wife make all the financial decisions for him. So, ultimately he has to do nothing , but gets all the credit for being feminist???
I am a working woman, a wife , a  mother and  a home maker . He is a working man,husband  a father and a home maker. And we  live in a far off land where any kind of help is UN-available.Day starts at 6:00 AM. I wake up, become the alarm for my husband and 3 year old son and put water on the stove to make tea. Put Idli in the Idli maker to cook, and rice in the rice cooker. The tea boils by the time time I brush my teeth and I wake up my husband with his morning tea. He then puts on you tube in blaring full volume with my son's favourite cartoons so that he wakes up in a good mood. We both spend 5 minutes sipping the hot tea, and then rush to get ready. One person then starts packing food (breakfast and lunch) and the other getting my son dressed.  This totally depends on the day and my son's whims and fancies, and then by 7:15 AM we are all ready to go to office.

We both love the  work we do .We have hectic schedules intermittently. We are both people with interests other than just work (I blog and paint , he plays cricket) and we love spending all the time we can with our darling son. The double income lets us buy some luxuries and  vacations. We discuss everything from paying bills to office politics. Some times , this means we let the house be a little untidy. Occasionally , we have no home cooked Phulkas (to take the Phulka metaphor) on the table, because I spent all evening playing with my son , and he spent the evening playing cricket. Another day, I might spend the evening throwing away junk mail or making travel plans on the Internet while he makes mouth watering Dosa and Sambar. Yet another day, I might be trying out a new recipe from the Internet , while he plays DJ with beautiful music in the back ground. 

It take two people and a lot of effort to run a family. If ,in the previous generation , work division was more based on the idea that men went outside more and women stayed in the house more. now the lines are fuzzier than ever. Both sexes go out to work are more or less equally qualified to make financial decisions, with more or less the same skill (or lack of ) home making skills. As long as both have the understanding that this project of making a house a home can be successful in the long run only if both of them try. It doesn't matter what, both both must pull their weight. Men, do not expect your wife to cook like your mom, keep the house in A order and do everything else for you as well , as work in office the full day, and if she actually does all of this , be sure to appreciate her for being the wonder woman that she is. Please do not consider it as a charity that you let her go to work and that you let her take part in important decisions.Women (I refuse to believe there is a class called non-working woman, the only difference is in payment), while your job is tough, handling a lot of office work and extra office work and paying all the credit card bills, debit card bills and other myriad bills with out incurring a fine is no easy task either.  Add to it the vehicle maintenance, house maintenance , getting repairs done in time. Your husbands aren't as free as you think they might be.
 What we need is not chauvinism, nor is feminism the answer. The need of the hour is mutual respect and understanding. And there is no place for ego. Nobody likes being told that the other person has power to decide what he/she can do.

 And I'll stop right here , because, me having spent all of my evening blogging and my husband having just finished up some office work , we really have nothing on the table. Looks like the day is just right for some joint cooking experiments.

P.S : I have been MIA for a long time , but been busy with lots of stuff. Catching up on all the posts in DOV after a while. Great to be back here.


Kshipra on September 18, 2012 at 11:30 PM said...

Exactly the point. Mutual respect. Nice Read. :)

NBose on September 19, 2012 at 12:07 AM said...

Cannot agree more to echoed my thoughts :-D

Archana Chari on September 19, 2012 at 7:09 AM said...

Loved it. I have similar thoughts on it. Following you, if I haven't already.

maithili on September 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM said...

I m totally nodding my head to all that you have said here. You are very lucky to have a husband who plays his part. I have seen so many women wanting to work because of the independence it brings but also toiling to get the housework done and its an added burden if the husband isnt helping! Yes mutual understanding and cooperation is the solution

Nisha on September 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM said...

Loved this post. I'm a 'phulka' making person by choice, and proud to be so. We have even considered to outsource the task but it's not required as yet.

I give him career advice, take financial decisions, know more about mutual funds than the husband, and blah! To be frank, Chetan Bhagat, in an attempt to sound as a feminist, has ridiculed housewives.

What you have said is absolutely correct - we don't need feminism or chauvinism - we need equality and respect for the choices we make, we really do.

aks on September 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM said...

I think the way he put it across was misinterpreted. I think he was trying to convey something else. I guess being a guy, he's fallen into a lot of trouble with his spoken words.

Keirthana on September 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM said...

Awesomely put. There is no need for extremes. All that is needed is an peaceful balance that the 2 individuals have to work out between themselves.


Sunitha on September 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM said...

Thank you all.. Sorry for being late with my replies..I haven't been blogging in a while , but I really felt I had something to reply to when I read Chetan Bhagat's blog here.

Apoorva Nanjangud on November 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM said...

Loved it. :)
Do haathon se hi to taali bajti hai. :)
I should make a certain someone read this :D

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