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Read at your own risk. Too bad if you resemble the type I am talking about here, then this definitely might be about you. If you aren’t the sort, it hardly could be about you, right? So don’t whine that I am indicting you unfairly.

Gorblimey! Where was I when this was happening? Probably sleeping the years away like Rip van Winkle, and let me hasten to add here that Rip van Winkle is not a bad word, just a reference to someone who woke up too late to facts, like a tube-light, sort of. Indeed, looks like a tube-light is what I have been, that too not the newer savvy ones quick on the uptake, but a clone of the earlier slower ones that had to blink quite a few times before they came alive..

Ahh woe is me!

What is wrong, you ask? Well might you Sirs and Madams. The bottom, not mine I assure you, but that of my world, just fell off reading something in recent times. It seems while I was theoretically so, sleeping the sleep of oblivion, Science the whatchamacallit of a busybody had gone and done something stupendously amazing. In a tie-up with the entertainment industry it apparently came up with television ‘soap operas’ that gets housework done while the homemakers relax and watch said ‘soap operas’. Though I am proud owner of a mixer grinder, a washing machine, a dishwasher, a vacuum cleaner, even a regular TV, I don’t have this new thingamabob, a TV that airs ‘soap operas‘ and also gets housework done while you relax! *wail*

You think I am making up stories? Ha, you couldn’t be more wrong. There is this guy who distinctly said so in so many words and don’t you go making the mistake that he is a lone man voicing such balderdash. Nope. If you take the time to look around you, by which I mean really look around, you will find the countryside infested with similar types, all spouting balderdash of the pure variety by the minute. You may even find a couple of them in your own home if you use your brains and sift through what is being said. Though they look normal enough on the outside, their thoughts on the topic of homemakers is similar: soap-opera-watching bimbos who have it easy.

In their imagination this is how things happen at home: the food gets cooked, walks over to the table and lays itself invitingly, also packing itself into lunch boxes when necessary; the clothes get washed and when dry get into the house, iron and fold themselves before settling cozily into cupboards; dirty dishes plonk themselves into the sink, have a refreshing bath under the tap and then go marching back to their places to arrange themselves neatly; the broom sweeps, and the mop mops the floors, children do their homework and feed themselves, the toddlers even using the washroom on their own; grocery shops itself, the fish haggles with the vendor before walking into the meen chatti; cobwebs ashamed of festooning your house, retire to Timbuktu; gulab jamuns, cakes and yummy pakodas are plucked off the neighbor’s tree, so on and so forth…

What’s curious about all this talk of men-work-hard-and-women-watch-television-at-home (the homemakers of course) is, just WHY the men are not disgruntled enough to be out there on the streets agitating against the injustice?! You’d expect the downtrodden to raise their voice and fight. Why aren’t they demanding a change of roles? Why aren’t they insisting that from now on women should go out, work and earn while they take it easy at home getting housework done via some Extreme Television Watching? Something smells fishy and I am quite sure it is not the meen I cooked in the chatti, because that was fresh fish too.

Unfortunately, I hit upon the truth eventually. They aren’t agitating for a change of roles because there is no such TV ‘soap opera’ that gets housework done. Catch those who can’t even look after their parents (they marry and bring in a new person to do the job) on their own to exchange roles. And still homemakers are not good enough it seems. The reason: most women from middle-class families have household helps at their disposal and that of course is undeniable proof that homemakers are a lazy bunch who waste time lolling in front of  the television. (Try telling the same men that their homemaker mothers are a lazy lot and watch the fireworks). According to them, she is not a TRUE-BLUE Homemaker who does not do ALL the work without any outside help.

Let me see… why is the same not being applied to ‘middle-class’ family MEN? Do they do EVERYTHING themselves in their work place ‘outside’ their home? Do they sweep their office rooms, wash the toilets, get their own tea, even their own files from the next table? Do they dig trenches, climb electric poles, cut trees, carry loads of grains, wash glasses, even book their own tickets? Or do they have people to delegate these and other works to? Take the case of a Chef, any man’s favorite choice when it comes to putting down women by showing Men Can Cook Too. The Chef cooks, but the food he makes is served by the waiter. How many times have you seen a peon walking behind a babu carrying his files and briefcase? How many times have you seen a steno take dictation and type out that letter for the boss? Even the lineman (electrician) has someone to pass the tools to him. Why then do these men vilify women and grudge them the little help they get from helpers? Why the pretense that the men do not have minions beneath them to make work-life easier?

It seems one cannot ask the man to share the housework, or even to make coffee on his own (when he returns from work) because he has been working so hard, in the sun too (oh the poor darling), while the homemaker…? (Answer: was watching television soaps). I have seen laborers cheerfully lighting fires and cooking their food after doing extremely tiring physical work. So why do these ‘middle-class’ family MEN pretend they are too tired to make a measly cup of coffee? What about his wife, the homemaker? Hasn’t she been working hard the whole day (Does her work end at a specific time? Does she get to return home and stretch her legs and ask for coffee?), especially with a task master mother of his behind her back? Who makes coffee for her? If she can make a cup of coffee for herself between her chores, how difficult is it for a man to make one for himself and may be for the homemaker wife too when he returns from office? Arrey… Come on, it is the invincible and superior man we are talking of here, not the snow-man who might melt if he stands too close to the fire in the kitchen. If he cannot even make one measly cup of coffee after a day in the sun, just think how shameful it is for the whole of *man*kind!