Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#443 : Day Nineteen - Wintercearig

The word "Wintercearig" (Old English) is a metaphor for the strength of one's sadness, which is as strong and never-ending as the bitter cold of midwinter.

It's the International day of Girl child today. UN declared October 11th to be celebrated as International Girl child today to seek more opportunity for girls and increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. It's saddening that we women folk need a special day to shout out to the world to be treated as equals.

Today I overheard a conversation which saddened me to the core that it made me howl with laughter at the irony of it. It's International Girls' day today, yet we are nowhere near the concept of equality. It's impolite to overhear, but the person in question was shouting away while walking down the corridor which was near my seat. This gentleman in question was chatting away with a female relative about a prospective bride. Apparently he had received a horoscope of an 'educated' girl through some other relative and it was a match with his horoscope. He was going as to how the horoscopes matched perfectly, but he was apprehensive because the girl didn't have a father. He reasoned that who would take care of the mother in her old age or if something was to happen to her. However, by the time he ended the call, he came to a conclusion that he would marry the girl if she was good looking enough in person and the mother could always be sent to an old-age home. I sincerely hoped that she didn't look good enough for his standards. I'm a half optimist, just hoping she lands a better husband. The word "wintercearig" perfectly describes my state of mind after witnessing that conversation.

It's a common complaint that our constitution has a lot of laws supporting women while there are hardly any protecting the men-folk. When the recent supreme court verdict came out that a man can divorce his wife if she refuses to take care of his parents, there were a lot of welcome comments from many male netizens as to how there was finally a law in place to protect them and their parents. Imagine if the person above mentioned gets to marry that girl. What would happen to her mother? While there are a lot of genuine cases when a woman tries to separate her husband from his parents for the sake of privacy or other reasons, what of such cases when the husband refuses to let his wife take care of her parents?

Our patriarchal society direly needs to change the way its looks at it senior citizens. They are senior citizens who need love and care, it shouldn't matter if they are your parents or your spouse's. This attitude that a woman's parents can be left to fend for themselves in their declining age should be done away with. This attitude evidently stems from another issue, the biggest headache of all - Gender inequality. We have been conditioned to think that we are cursed if we are not blessed with a male heir as the daughter wouldn't take be able to take care of her parents like a son would. The popular counter-argument these days would be that women try to separate their husbands from his parents. It would be hypocritical of me to argue that women have been oppressed enough so they have turned against men and thus this behavior. It's wrong to ditch ailing parents immaterial of whose parents they are. They were there when you needed the most, it's only fair to return the favor. Of course, there is this other popular argument that parents over-step their boundaries and deprive their kids of their privacy. This is especially true in the Indian context. They need to be sensitized to be accommodating of the changing needs and attitude of the next generation. Isn't this one viscous cycle?

Not all men are cruel like the person I mentioned, though a majority of them still have that attitude. I have seen enough men in my life to have a little faith in humanity left. These wonderful male species in question believe that it's their duty too care of their wife's parents. They might not confess that openly, but their actions speak louder than words. My sincere gratitude to such men! (My dad tops that list for me)


  1. Disheartening conversation indeed. But to be honest, when I was younger, I too had this similar mindset that looking after the parents is the primary responsibility of a son. Maybe I was conditioned by the society that way.

    You see, it takes a while to figure out that society can be wrong most of the times. The realization can come well after marriage, which means one is left with an immature mind during and post marriage, for at least a few years. Maybe the harsh truth.

    But now, I can confidently say that I will take care of both parents during their old age, even though they have a son.

    And mindsets are slowly changing, I believe. But people often see this gender thing as a war than anything else. For example, you have got this law, I haven't. So you are one up. I am at zero. And I will make sure that you are back to zero, or I will go one up in some other thing and deny you coming up. I believe that's the general attitude of the people, regardless of the gender). But as responsible human beings, let's spread love. Let's treat all as equal. If you tell someone with love, they will understand. That is equally applicable for both genders.

  2. Exactly! It's not a war! It shouldn't be look upon as that way. I'm truly happy that your mind set has changed. Wish It were the case with lot of other men!

  3. Both of you are correct in your own interpretation. But the fact of the day is no one has time to take care of senior citizens. I don't blame anyone, because of their priorities and other compulsion it is difficult for siblings to take care of their parents. I have many parents coming to me with this. We have to find solution to this.

  4. It's sad reality. However, my point is that, a woman's parents shouldn't be shunned just because they are her parents. The SC ruling only worsens the problem don't you think?

  5. I am not telling that womans parents are not to be taken care. All parents are equal.
    More disparity leads to desperation and dis engagement.

  6. Despicable attitude of that guy. I too wish that the girl meets or marries someone better.

    I was arguing the converse part of the law in one of my groups. How does it sound - the wife can file a divorce when the husband disagrees or desert's his wife's parents.

    There are going to be heated arguments.But to much of our relief, the patriarchal mindset is slowly changing for good.