Home truths about India's married men

Apr 22, 2014, 09:31 IST | The GUIDE Team

A recent survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed that Indian men spend only 19 minutes on unpaid housework compared to Slovenian men who spend two hours. Now’s the time to champion women’s rights from our homes, as famous Indian men reveal

Kailash Kher (Musician)

Pic/ Nimesh Dave

This outcome is very subjective. It’s up to the time the man and the woman in the relationship have, depending on their work schedule. The only thing is that the term ‘homemaker’ usually refers to the wife, or is associated with the female gender but it’s mostly about who has more time. If one can make one’s own bed, lay out the wet towel to dry on the washing line, I feel that such things are also a contribution. Usually, people become habitual to luxuries, and shrug off their responsibilities. An individual’s life in itself is like a home, which requires up-keep. Though, I am privileged in terms of help, still I ensure that I am involved in such matters. There are times when Sheetal, my wife, gets angry lamenting that ‘even the curtains are handpicked by you and you don’t let me do anything’. But now I’m taking it easy.

Ravinder Singh (Author)

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

My case is completely the opposite. Maybe I am the odd man out but I believe that there’s no use shouting about women’s empowerment from the rooftops. Like charity, it also begins at home. Being a full-time author, I am usually home while my wife is a nine-to-six professional. So, it’s actually my duty to buy the vegetables and having the knowledge of the ripe ones from the raw, storing them, and even chopping them. I take care of the usual house maintenance chores, from the air conditioner to gas and electricity. Perhaps, it has something to do with not having a sister. So, my mother always looked at us for help. Since childhood, I have known how to knead the dough. My father is a priest in the gurudwara, so he made sure that I knew how to clean and do seva and serve langar. Even in Belgium while working with Infosys, I did everything. There’s nothing women can’t do and I think it’s vice versa too.   

Nikhil Mehra (Designer)

I  come from a strong thought process and upbringing where both partners share equal responsibilities. I have a pair of twins, so the morning starts with bathing them and getting them ready for school. When I tell people this, they are quite shocked, ‘Oh, you wake up and get them ready and feed them breakfast’ (chuckles). So, I find that silly. From taking them for a swim, or making them play tennis or painting with them or whatever it may be, I am involved. Some times when the cook is unwell, I make their breakfast and they love my scrambled eggs with milk and cream. Whenever Vidushi (my wife) is shooting for her films or is busy with theatre, I always take over. Regarding the survey, earlier there was a natural tendency for men to earn the bread for the house but now women are sharing responsibilities equally. So, the husband realises that he is not the only bread earner and can take time off from the office and do household chores.

Vicky Ratnani (Celebrity Chef)

Pic/Shadab Khan

I  am quite contrary towards that finding. In fact, I am particular about how things are probably done. I think it’s like teamwork where certain things can be split and shared. You know, I have a busy life but the same time you know when there is something which I can do, I do it without any hesitation. (Regarding why Indian men feel domestic chores are not their domain) is an old school thing. The newer generation doesn’t think like that. It depends on who your partner is. It’s got to do with many people having domestic help at home or how they were brought up. In today’s set-up, when you are working all day and in case something needs to be done, and if I have time, why not? Also, I make sure that I cook at least twice a month at home.

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