Sunday, May 3, 2015

Breaking the stereotype

I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association with Ariel
“I got a surprise for you!” Atul exclaimed as he entered the house, smiling to his wife Sonal. He flaunted a movie DVD. Sonal’s face lit up.
“Let’s watch it tonight after dinner. We had been waiting for this Hollywood blockbuster since long. What say?” Atul asked as he entered his room.

overburdened & tired

Sonal nodded as she gathered Atul’s office bag, lunch box, wallet, car keys and socks in the right place. She moved into the kitchen to cook. Atul watched news in the meanwhile, waiting for dinner to arrive. She prepared Atuls’ favorite dishes and dessert. Post dinner Atul connected the DVD player and called Sonal to join in for the movie.

“I will be back in a while”, a tired Sonal replied from the kitchen while washing utensils.

When she emerged from the kitchen, Atul was fast asleep with half of the movie watched. Sonal switched off the DVD player, refilled the water bottles & kept them in the fridge, collected the dirty linen in basket for washing next day, checked the locks, turned off the lights of the house, managed to wash her face and crashed on the bed. After a tiring day at work, making full course dinner and household chores, all the excitement of Friday was gone. Sonal was overburdened with the household load without any empathy or help from Atul.

Consider, if Atul shared the household load with Sonal, they would not have only watched the movie together, but it would have relieved Sonal of the stress. Not only they would have finished the household chores on time, but also enjoyed the whole weekend. What if Atul’s salary from his MNC was thrice than Sonal’s income as a teacher, the former is equally responsible for the house. Even if Sonal was a housewife, should Atul not see if she needs a helping hand at all?

Well, that’s a story of most of the houses in India, Middle East and Southern Asian countries. When it comes to the everyday house jobs, the females suddenly become the in-charge. Everything from cooking and washing clothes/utensils to dusting and cleaning is considered a low profile demeaning job for which a woman is accountable. Little do they realize, these jobs make a home of a house, in absence of which life would be scattered! How else would you wear your clean formals to office? Or would you be able to sleep on dirty bedsheets or pillow covers, if not washed by the women of the house? To add to the disparity is the fact that these household loads are unpaid! A thankless job indeed.

I feel blessed to be married in a house where my family understand the pressures on me. My husband not only helps me in washing the weekly cargo of clothes, but also warms food and cleans the kitchen post dinner. Resulting this we get enough time to spend with each other. We connect over our common interests of movies, video games and travelling. And this is possible only because he shares the house chores with me.

One fine Sunday, our house was in a mess, clothes lied unwashed, our maid was absent, we had to attend a party in the afternoon and go to work on Monday. I could not imagine to look good or fresh and enjoy a social gathering with so much stress at home. However, my supportive husband agreed to do the laundry while I took care of the cleaning part. The mess sorted in no time and we made it to the gathering, with full energy & freshness. That was the day when I realized the support of sharing.

So if a man and woman are considered equal for the house, shouldn't both of them share and contribute equally? Sharing means caring. Where does it vanish when it comes to sharing the household job? Ask a married working lady her routine after work, she would go on with her never ending list of cooking, cleaning, looking after kids, teaching them, washing clothes, looking after in-laws and so on. A woman works in double shifts. Morning shift in office and evening shift for her family, and that's by default. Even if  the woman chooses to be a housewife, she is on duty round the clock. Talk about paying her, one would say "Its her responsibility!". One can at least not expect her to work like a machine and share some work to releive her of stress, mentally and physically, both.
An equal involvement in home jobs, bonds a family psychologically besides imparting a feeling of togetherness & security. Thankfully the stereotypes are changing. Ariel's initiative of sharing the load and making men understand that laundry is not a woman's job alone is worth appreciating.
Image source- Shutterstock

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