Some Snapshots: Both husband and wife have jobs, there is a mad rush, come morning. Breakfast to be assembled (would not be an exaggeration to say all members of the nuclear unit have different palates, so it is a fruit platter for one, soft-boiled eggs with the yolk removed and cold coffee for the protein-only other, paranthas with mind you, only home-made curd, the Desi member quick to give one a discourse on the virtues of Indian-ness… In the same breath, varied lunch tiffins are packed to be slid in school-satchels. Little wonder that the Lady of the House is biting into an over-done toast with butter sloppily slapped on while running helter-skelter racing against the clock. This just a foretaste of the day’s long trench of designated tasks which one can only get away through temporary absence, sickness or death. Where is the better-half when this marathon is run? In all likelihood, fine-combing the newspaper or impatiently demanding to know, on the brink of getting into kerfuffle with car keys swirling in the air, why women take so long to get ready ?! The next time one pauses to speculate why the lady in the car is running a comb through her hair or tidying the bag in disarray, the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind. Incidentally, forgot to mention the above scenario can be a scene from any middle class home—upper, lower or in-between the two. And if you’d let the shoe fall on your scepticism, even the champagne and caviar segment. Undoubtedly they have a staff to do the needful but…but do not let garden-parties, finger sandwiches and tea-on-tap mislead one. A woman, therefore, works double-shift, triple-shift and that’s how things have always been, is the incredulous response upon being asked how come? The mother did so, the Dadi/Nani and even the sister, who was in Med-School, would in-reflex cart out a tray carrying water for guests. This snapshot filmed out for longer than intended and thus no option but to get one’s skates on and speed across all reachable landscapes, if only in patches.
Staccato Clippage: the fridge has gender preferences and so the lady of the house is privy to what is lodged in it; in any case, men are fridge-blind. And the microwave was manufactured on the Moon thus the Man of the Manor could quite do with his head in the clouds as far as this gadget goes. This brings to mind a TV commercial: a couple shopping for washing machine; the husband bored-to-the-bones, tootling away on his phone until his wife asks the salesperson to show them a Unisex Machine.
The fridge has gender preferences and so the lady of the house is privy to what is lodged in it; in any case, men are fridge-blind.
“Superwoman”, a brainwashing title “bestowed” on the lady who is heroic enough to multitask 24X7 thinking nothing of her cat cradle of duties, clocking in four hours of “quality sleep’ sprinting out of bed unrumpled, without a hair out of place. On rural India—where a wobbly wooden push-cart is manned by a sun-scorched, barefooted woman towing her sloth-ridden sleeping spouse— for another day.
Gender sensitisation comes much later. For now, should we not recognise the existence of an elephant in the room?!
Dr Renée Ranchan writes on socio-psychological issues, quasi-political matters and concerns that touch us all