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My intention at first had been to forget the whole thing and write about the friendly neighborhood Kingfisher. But, no. I thought it better get down to it and write about what triggered me today.

Someone in my school group shared a picture, an animated GIF rather. It showed a see-saw with a man at the center. On one end of the see-saw was an old woman, and at the other end a young woman, presumably his mother and wife respectively. Both are seen waving to the man and beckoning him to them. He takes a couple of steps towards the wife and the see-saw tilts to her side, endangering them all. He goes back to the center and it stabilizes. Next he takes a few steps towards his mother, the same thing happens. So he stays put in the middle. That is supposed to solve everything: the balancing act. Ugh.

What’s my issue with it? Plenty.

For one, a man, as much as he’d like it to be, is NOT the center of anything at all. Pretty much all Indian men think they are the Sun and the mother and wife are planets who have nothing better to do than revolve around him all their life. We are not living in the fifteenth century. Wake up from your self-induced stupor and look around.

Secondly, what the heck is this, some sort of competition? Like really?! A mother is a nurturer during the early years of a man’s life and the wife is a partner in his present. Their roles are not the same and certainly NOT equal. If you think they are equal and the man has to find a balance between the two (as depicted in the representation), you have a terribly sick mind. And this is addressed to both men and women. After all the GIF was probably made by a man, but was being shared by a woman.

This matter of being caught between two women is a favorite trope with story-writers and movie-makers. Naturally they are almost all, men. You have stories of ‘poor’ men caught between old love and wife, mistress and wife, mother and wife. Take a look at the previous sentence and pause to reflect in whose company the mother and wife pair find themselves. Yeah, what did I tell you?

I’d have let this go, albeit grudgingly, if it had been shared by someone from some previous generation (though they too should know better). But when it comes from my own peers, I simply want to curl up and die. Or rant. I know I haven’t thought this out well enough and there is a lot more that’s wrong with the GIF. May be I’ll elaborate on it later. Right now, disappointment, and anger cloud my mind.

© Shail Mohan 2020