Wednesday 1 January 2014

The Happy MAN

The year was 1997. I was reading for my PhD in Sweden. We came to Sri Lanka for a short period as Nilanthi was preparing herself for the delivery of Amesh.

Our then-future-home was under construction, thus we stayed with Nilanthi's parents.

It was a Saturday evening and I was giving a bath to Ashen. Barely two years old, he was making the whole bathroom a mess. It was like pouring water on a jumping-prawn. Once soaked in water and soap, Ashen used to leap into my arms and hug me, ruining all my clothes, so that I scream and pat his back. In the next moment we were laughing and running around the washroom, now both are soaked like hippos........  Those were the best moments of my life.

Suddenly, Sajeewani, my sister-in-law, appeared at the door.

"Ayya, there is a call for you from Shantha Ayya, what shall I tell him". Ayya is elder brother in my native language. Shantha was one of my good friends at that time.

"Tell him that I am bathing Ashen"

She was little shocked. "Is it OK to tell that?" she said with little surprise. "Shall I tell him that you are out?".

A medical student at that time and later a Consultant in Oncology, Sajee's reaction was very typical for a South Asian lady irrespective of her level of education. 'An adult male member at home is engaged with an act that could not be revealed to the outside world". Bathing a kid is a 100% female job.

Then I started thinking to myself.  Why didn't I think in the same line as others. Just two years ago I would have asked Sajee to tell Shantha the exact statement that she proposed. What has changed me?

Then I understood. The two years in Sweden has completely modified my psych. An unimaginable conceptual change that made me think differently from the rest of my society.

In Sri Lankan society, males are deprived of many precious moments of life. Mothers do not let their sons to wash their clothes. Thus, they do not have the chance to enjoy playing around with soapy clothes and hanging shirts in a clothesline while looking at the neighbours garden........ 

A Sri Lankan man hardly get a chance to make a cup of tea (despite, we got the best tea in the world) and enjoy it while others give comments about the taste.  

Cooking a delicious chicken curry, dhaal fry and a green leave mix (mallun) with rice is a talent way beyond the peripherals of men's capabilities in South Asia. Even if they try to enter the kitchen for such job, mothers and wives will give a frown. They may think that their territories are under invasion. 

Men often love cuddling babies. However, how many of them support in changing their pampers, feeding them or carrying them on a lengthy walk...... ? Not many I guess.............

I think it is the high time to change this "stupid" attitude among both males and females in Sri Lanka as such attitude and practice may lead to an unhealthy society.

Most often a majority of middle and lower class Sri Lankan women spend their total post-child life in cooking, washing, baby-upbringing, housekeeping etc. Unfortunately many of them do such heavy work amid struggling to earn the living for the family as well. 

In the urban society these women have many add-ons to this usual workload; payment of bills, shopping, carrying children to school/tuition classes and attain to their homework....... sometimes even some domestic plumbing and electrical work too .........................

If you can read through their eyes, you will understand the pain of these hard working daughters, wives, mothers as they do the daily routines. They may not complain or even refuse the male's help due to age-long attitudes and social pressure.

However, as the Sri Lankan women reaches 35-40 years of age they develop all sorts of illnesses; back pain, neck pain, pain at joints, muscular disorders, headaches, gastritis  etc. etc.

Have you ever thought that this may be due to the over-work that they have undergone through out their life.......? 

If something is wrong, it is "WRONG", even if it is practiced for thousands of years.

For a healthy and progressing society a man with multi-talents and a woman with less burden will be a blessing.

Give a serious thought to this.....

Be a HAPPY MAN in the coming year.............

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