To be Or Not To Be

Woman's Era - - Short Story - By Vikra­ma­ditya

It was only af­ter my mar­riage that I first en­tered a kitchen. My culi­nary skills were sus­pect and kitchen glossary not an as­set. If on one day, my van­ity go­ing up in smoke from a charred dal, needed sooth­ing, on oth­ers, grave fol­lies would need both shoul­ders for my spir­its to be lifted. Like, in the in­stance of a mis­un­der­stood mea­sure­ment of tsp vs. tbsp wherein our guests had to con­sume vol­umes of wa­ter as if at­tempt­ing to douse an ac­tive vol­cano. Un­de­terred, and as a firm sup­porter of the woman’s em­pow­er­ment cause, I held fort for my work­ing wife.

Whether it was chang­ing di­a­pers for our new­born or wash­ing onethird of a load (two-thirds by the wash­ing ma­chine which had sev­eral is­sues with wa­ter lev­els), hang­ing out tons of clothes on clothes­lines to dry as the ma­chine too had its days of body­ache dur­ing spin and with would even abort op­er­a­tion if it felt over­loaded with two ex­tra nap­pies. Other places where I ral­lied forth were in do­ing the dishes with op­ti­mum break­age. This was not all, far more was in store.

My in-laws. Al­ways suc­cess­ful in per­me­at­ing my Hanu­man­chal­isa Yantra shield, they would seep into my house un­no­ticed through re­verse-os­mo­sis. As I would self-im­mo­late in my grief each time their veiled caus­tic re­marks of my be­ing a GFN would be thrown at me ca­su­ally, my wife would be nowhere to be found with the stick of balm. Out of this prob­lem with my tor­tu­ous wash­ing ma­chine and in-laws, was born an urge to go out there into the real man’s world and earn a real liveli­hood once again. A male-pride was lurk­ing some­where, alive and kick­ing.

But­soon enough, I de­gen­er­ated from a jobs-seeker to an ob­ject of cu­rios­ity to an ob­ject of ridicule for a large snig­ger­ing fe­male work­force, in per­son­nel de­part­ments of com­pa­nies. I be­gan to re­alise af­ter sev­eral un­suc­cess­ful out­comes, that I was be­ing called, merely to be re­galed by a male’s prob­lem in work – life bal­ance – “Oh, so in­stead of your wife join­ing you – you left your job each time to join her at a new lo­ca­tion in the

Women have toiled silently as beasts of bur­den; shield­ing men – folk from the has­sles of te­dious house­hold bud­get­ing from mea­gre in­comes and rais­ing a whole bunch of chunnu- munnus for him. Then why this sud­den han­ker­ing for em­pow­er­ment? Whether the woman takes charge or not. “Aa gayee deeyur? Khana? Tay­yar hai!

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