Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Homemaker Man

I’ve got this couple - Michael & Reena, who live next door. At first glance you’d notice nothing strange about them. They come across as the average young couple. Childless and very much in love with each other. But, watch them closely day in and day out and you’ll catch exactly what I am talking about.

Every morning you’ll see Reena come out of the house at about 8.30. She’d be wearing formal attire. No prizes for guessing she’s a working woman. Well, that’s nothing odd in our society. In recent years women have really challenged men at the workplace, and proven just as competitive as any man in every field. So, Reena is a working woman with a regular 9 to 5 grind. Michael on the other hand (and this is the odd part) can be seen watering and trimming their lovely little garden from 9 to about 11. Then, around 12 noon you can see Michael bringing out freshly washed linen to the drying lines. Shortly after that Michael can be seen driving off and returning in about an hour’s duration with brimming paper bags. At about 4 in the evening Michael clears the dried linen from the lines and takes them indoor. Following that you’ll find him sitting at their cute little tea table out in the garden, reading the paper and sipping chai. Reena arrives shortly, joins Michael in the garden, the couple sit around chatting over chai for an hour and then they head in for the night.

At first, I thought this was a temporary arrangement. My thoughts ranged from
‘Michael must have recently quit his job and looking for a better option’.
‘Maybe Michael is a novelist’
Or even ‘Michael must be working for one of those fancy work-from-home companies’
I never even came close to the truth of the matter while pondering.

Michael is actually a new age husband. A ‘revolutionary’, if I may term him that. Michael is a ‘House husband’. Don’t laugh. There is nothing to laugh about. If you spoke to Michael you’d be convinced that being a homemaker is what he enjoys best. And Reena (who loves him unconditionally) is absolutely fine with the arrangement. From a very early age, Michael showed no signs of fighting it out in the outside world. Being the bread winner to him seemed a drab. He always wanted to be the homemaker. And this position he enjoys thoroughly. He devotes as much attention to making sure the house is squeaky clean just as any other man would to make his presentation flawless. And on the other hand Reena displays all the attributes of an enterprising young woman. She is ruthlessly ambitious when it comes to her job. It’s a fine arrangement for this couple. Both doing their part even though the roles are reversed.

I don’t know what to think of this situation. I know a lot of people in my locality who think Michael is a pansy. But I for one, having known the man, know that he is anything but pansy. Like I said, he’s a military general when it comes to running the house.

Is it wrong for a man to differ from the pre-ordained societal role? Why should man always be the provider? In a world were women want equality in everything, why can’t a man do a woman’s job? What really is a man’s job and what is a woman’s job? Who makes these dumb rules anyway?

I don’t know the answers but I have no problem with accepting Michael as a man. He does exactly what he likes to do and thoroughly enjoys doing it. Reena has no complaints. She’s actually been freed from her pre-ordained societal role to pursue her interests. So, what actually is wrong with this situation? Nothing. But I guess it will take decades, or even centuries, before the Indian society accepts role reversals. It’s becoming quite common in other parts of the world, but it’s still not widely accepted.

This might be a very controversial topic for a blog. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying I like to be like Michael. I enjoy my work and I would definitely like to be the bread winner of my family. But, if Michael likes to be a homemaker, I have nothing against him. Then why should society feel any different?

Disclaimer: All characters in this blog are fictitious and any resemblance to any one alive or dead is purely accidental.


Sudha said...

I agree completely.

And let me congratulate both you and Michael on your outlooks. These are the kind of people we need in the world!

I'm not being a female chauvinist here, I just mean that people should be free to do what they like, as long as it's legal and harmless. In all respects--be it choosing a profession, a sexual orientation, a societal role, whatever.

Bubbasanuel said...

Thank you very much for your comment sudha. i am glad you liked my post.
i agree with you...people should be allowed to be what they want ad do what they want as long as its legal and as long as it doesnt affect anyone else.
the whole idea of giving a set of rules to follow (as society does today) is a restriction on our freedom. someday we will bring the fences down. but that will take a long while. :)

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