We delude ourselves into thinking that women are weak, they are not

Its women’s day tomorrow,” muttered my wife as she turned over to switch off the lights. Though I was tired and drowsy, the words did not escape me and I definitely thought they were aimed at me. Not wanting to leave anything to chance what with all the noise around of women not getting their due, woman’s emancipation, etc., I thought I must plan something for the morrow to at least prove that I supported the rights and recognition of women.

So, I tiptoed out into the study. I racked my brains on what I should do to surprise her. Maybe, I should make a card and place it in the kitchen. Maybe, I should take her out for lunch, and so on. First things first, I prepared a card with “HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY” in bold, and placed it in the kitchen, stating it was closed for the day. Then, I started to figure out where I could take her for lunch. Knowing her aversion for five-star restaurant binges, I tried to find out what could be exciting joints where we had not gone and where we could enjoy a quiet lunch. Of course, I had to plan on some shopping, looked at the papers for what was on sale.

It was well past midnight by the time I was done with my plans and, as I looked at them, I was quite pleased with my own initiative and patted myself that at least tomorrow, I would not be found wanting.

Morning came and what with the late-night sitting, I was a bit late in getting up. Came down and sat with the newspapers and looked in my wife’s direction expecting the customary coffee, only to be greeted with the sarcastic remark “acting smart eh, the kitchen is closed.” And, before I could say anything, she was already on the phone. I heard her say “Muthu — Happy Women’s Day. Shall we go out for lunch? Where? Fine, shall be ready.” The call was repeated and her gang of four ganged up.

And, as I kept looking, she said: “Can you make some idlis? Remember its Women’s Day. And, by the way, I am off to lunch. It’s the Leela, I think, and some shopping later; so should be back by evening. Have fun and enjoy yourself. Maybe, you should order out lunch or if you feel fine, go to the Udupi joint and have a thali meal.”

As I sat gaping, she coolly moved away to start selecting what she would wear and the matching jewels. And I sat thinking. What a day! I thought I should make her day, make her feel important and here she was independent, freely deciding and going her own way. What fools we men are. We delude ourselves into thinking that women are weak, dependent on us when they are actually not. Maybe, women love to leave us with that impression. It was not one but four women, all in their sixties, spontaneously deciding to go out on their own leaving the men to fend for themselves. And these were women belonging to an earlier generation, brought up on traditional values, now breaking free and enjoying their sense of liberty. It’s a good thing and I am glad for them. I hope things continue to be better for women.

And as I shuffled into the kitchen looking for idli batter, I said to myself, “What a day and I am sure a time will come when we men look for “A MEN’S DAY”

(The writer’s email: iyengar.sampath@gmail.com)

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