Maidless India #Corona #Lockdown

Last week, I wrote a post on 5 Things to be Grateful for during Lockdown where I mentioned how my husband is mopping and cooking. It seems my husband is not alone. Finally, Indian men have left their mom’s apron/pallu/dupatta and risen to the occasion to do household chores. Thanks to maids being absent.

In India, most middle-class households have one or more than one maids. The mopping and cleaning dishes are done by maids in the majority of houses. Most houses also have a cook. Now, due to the lockdown all homes are maidless, with exceptions of houses with live-in maids. The women are now coping with kids, bosses, laundry, cleaning, dusting, home-schooling, cooking, dishes and so many other things. The men are for the first time in a situation where they have very little choice.

There are few men who have been doing household chores and this phase is just an extension. There are second types of men who are not used to household chores but they have a conscience and it is inhuman to watch your wife do so many things alone while you Netflix and Chill. The third types are those who perhaps always thought that household chores are a ‘woman’s work’ but now they see that it gets done better and faster if both pitch in and working together is fun. And, of course, there is the fourth typical misogynist and patriarchal ‘Indian men’ who think that household chores and kids are a woman’s job, these men neither have conscience nor humanity and they do not hesitate to resort to violence when they don’t get food on time. But, today let us not focus on these monsters and look at the  ‘new age’ Indian men who have finally realized that their machismo doesn’t diminish if they do chores, rather they earn the love of their wife.

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Before blaming the men, I would like to blame the moms of these men. These men were taught by their moms that ‘cooking’ and ‘kids’ are a woman’s job. Similarly, the moms of the girls taught them that ‘home’ is your domain and ‘way to a man’s heart is through his belly’ so you better learn to cook. However, without the maids not only the wife but even his mom is in no mood to indulge him, because even the mother is getting bulldozed by loads of work.

This ‘lockdown’ proved to be a great unlearning for Indian men. I am happy to see so many of them are now cooking and cleaning. My college friend called me and said “I don’t want this Lockdown to end because my husband is doing so much of work.” Another friend said, “I wish I had five husbands like Draupadi, then I could have delegated one work to each of them.”

Many women are also putting their foot down and asking the husband to do some work. Finally women also have stopped pampering the men. Either you do or else face the music. This lockdown took away the privilege of Indian men. The moms of many men have also realised their mistake in raising the boys. They acknowledge that it was unwise to not teach the boys household work.

Here I would like to give an instance. In one of the groups where we are helping the elderly, sick, poor, and disabled people during this lockdown one mother of a 23-year-old boy wrote that she needs help for her son. He is living alone in Bangalore and he doesn’t know how to cook and clean and she would be grateful if someone gives him some homecooked food. The mother probably never imagined that she would get badly trolled for this. Almost everyone in the group unanimously said that the mother should have taught the boy all this when he was a kid. It was her fault to raise a son who knew nothing. Poor lady received no sympathy and many said that the son should learn to cook and clean during this lockdown. The best part is within a week, the same mother posted a video of her son cooking rice and chicken. He saw recipes on Youtube and made his first food.

Indian men, these days most women share the financial responsibilities so it is time you start doing household chores. It is your house as well. Take care of your kids, she didn’t bring the kid as part of her trousseau, both of you brought it together. I would like to see all of you cooking and cleaning even after the lockdown is over and maids are back. This is your moment of glory, make us proud.

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29 thoughts on “Maidless India #Corona #Lockdown

  1. Holly Jahangiri says:

    “Before blaming the men, I would like to blame the moms of these men. These men were taught by their moms that ‘cooking’ and ‘kids’ are a woman’s job. Similarly, the moms of the girls taught them that ‘home’ is your domain and ‘way to a man’s heart is through his belly’ so you better learn to cook. However, without the maids not only the wife but even his mom is in no mood to indulge him, because even the mother is getting bulldozed by loads of work.”

    Not JUST the moms – the grandparents, the dads, the culture, the media – but the good news is, it can change and you’re already SEEING it. This is remarkable and encouraging. (The downside is that in many places, the forced togetherness is causing an uptick in domestic violence and child abuse. The problem has not gone away – just that GOOD men are figuring out that being more involved is enriching their lives and making them more self-sufficient, more loving, more integral to their families.)

    Having a maid, here, is a sign of luxury and privilege, and it is not common among middle-class families, so I always read these things with a sense of wonder. There’s nothing sexier than being WANTED, not just needed, by a self-sufficient man or woman who chooses YOU and shares equally in the joys and burdens of family life. That is the best mate for life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I agree, we have been brought up in a way where this is the norm. But yes, it took a pandemic to teach the men housework and to clean the pollution in environment.
      In India maids are cheap, so most can afford one. This is how our economy survives also.
      Thanks Holly for reading and this thoughtful comment.

      Like

  2. Dashy says:

    I felt this way when my mom needed bed rest after a surgery and I was away from home…it was when my dad finally had to look after the household on his own. He’s learnt the arrangement of the kitchen since then. I’d blame the wives also for not demanding for contribution right from the start, it shouldn’t have to take a lockdown to bring the men to the kitchen. Anyway, cooking and cleaning are life skills everyone must learn. Well said. Absolutely love the quotes in the end. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unishta says:

    I love your quote Balaka. It’s high time men do more work than just bring home the bacon, put on the TV and give ‘advice’ when it’s not asked for. Luckily many men have risen to the occasion and though I am lucky enough to have a live in maid, I still have to do more than I had bargained for ( especially with a healing hand). I’m really hoping life gets back to normal and quick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shweta Suresh says:

    This is so true. I hate it when men declare that they are too mighty to do the cooking and household chores. In this age, it’s important that men step up as well. The parents of such men are to be blamed as well. I totally agree with you. But lockdown has encouraged many to cook.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Corinne Rodrigues says:

    Absolutely right, Balaka. I’m glad to say that my Dad and brothers and now my husband are no strangers to housework. One of the upsides of this pandemic is that many men are learning to contribute more to the housework.

    Like

  6. Sanch @ Sanch Writes says:

    I wouldn’t just blame the mothers of the men who don’t pull their weight – I would blame the parents because BOTH parents raise a child; not just mothers. It’s the same mentality as it’s only the woman who does the household work.

    I was fortunate as my dad always did do the cleaning around the house, the ironing, and the dishes. It wasn’t just my mum. I grew up believing that in a house, you all pulled your weight. My sister and I had to help with cleaning too and I’m sure if I’d had a brother, he would’ve been expected to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I stand corrected. I should have written that ‘parents’. The problem is when we grew up we saw only moms doing everything so our mind got wired that way. It was only moms who did and spoke about housework. Thanks Sanch for pointing to me my warped thought process.

      Like

  7. Rajlakshmi says:

    I am glad the kid finally learnt to cook. Isn’t that how every girl who steps out of home for the first time – whether to work or study learns these life skills. I learned cooking after staying in a hostel. I am glad men are more conscious about household chores. Else to expect a woman to do everything is downright cruel.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Parul Thakur says:

    You are right that many men shared chores in the lockdown. It’s our society and the conditioning. Bot my brother can i stayed away from home and learnt to cook and clean. My brother is better at cleaning than I am. VT too steps in from time to time but during lockdown, we did a lot together. It’s good to see that things are changing and rightfully they should.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Paul Ponnion says:

    Glad that I support my wife by helping her in the kitchen. In fact, I found out that I am a good cook during this lock down… lol. Also heard my director mentioning that it is his turn to cook dinner at home during one of our office meetings last week. Without much of an ‘Indian men’ restricted thinking. May be things are slowly changing. Good timing to note such an article. Good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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