We had an arranged marriage, and like all arranged marriages, life is a lot about adjusting with the stranger who suddenly becomes your world, his parents, his house, relatives etc. Once I moved to my in law’s house, my daily life revolved a lot around my mom in law. She was my mentor, ring master and agony aunt. Being the pampered tail of my family, I had never taken interest in family chores before marriage and my mom in law realized it soon…when the first time my mom in law hinted I help her with laundry; my first reaction was “what about my manicured hands and long nails?”
But I soon realized there was no escape from household chores. I could not live with the guilt of enjoying a sitcom while mom in law did the laundry alone. After all, with power came responsibility. I could no longer trade household responsibilities for my manicured hands if I had to land up in the good books of my mom in law! And thus began my internship; I helped mom in law in the daily chores and being the wise and sweet mum, she too never rushed me into things.
However, there was one thing that hit me often. In a typical Indian male dominated society, household chores are a woman’s baby. Men turn a blind eye and limit their responsibilities to managing the finances. But hey, I was a working woman! Though I never discussed this with Mr. Hubby before marriage, I expected a hubby who would share the load in the house if I played the role of a housewife and a working woman. It irritated me when on a lazy Sunday, Mr. Hubby and Mr. father in law enjoyed the extended newspaper time while mom in law and I rushed to be with our washing machine and get over with the laundry, as other chores awaited us.
Last year, Mr. Hubby announced we were moving to Mumbai. Now, most wives jump at the thought of moving away from their in laws. However, I was in tears. I had always lived under the umbrellas of the moms – first my mom and then my mom in law. So, the thought of managing a house all by myself in a new city along with a new job got me into a panic mode!
Sadly, I had no other option. Within a month, we were in a city far away from my home. I joined work soon after, and weekends saw us mall hopping to shop for our new abode. I saw the laundry piling up, but the hectic schedule left me no time to take stock of the situation. Being his mom’s pampered son, Mr. Hubby wasn't considered as an option, till one morning, I was taken for a surprise.
It had been a real busy week at work for me. Every non urgent chore had been procrastinated for weekend, laundry being no exception. On Sunday morning, when Mr. Hubby woke me up with a cup of tea, I was taken for a surprise. My eyes quickly went from his smiling face to the wall clock. It was 9am! The water supply timing for the morning was till 9:30am and I had a bag full of laundry to be taken care of! Instead of complimenting his loving gesture, I jumped out of my bed and rushed towards the washing machine to make the best of the last 30 minutes. However, to my surprise, the laundry in the bag had already found its place in the machine and was almost done!
“Why did you do the laundry? I would have done it” I told Mr. Hubby. I was even more surprised when he replied, “When you can take extra load of responsibilities for me, why can’t I share your load? After all, house is our mutual responsibility! And with a fully automatic machine and the new Ariel, laundry is actually a child’s play!” I wanted someone to pinch me. Was I day dreaming? No I was not. Mr. Hubby had understood my agony and had decided to make it easier for me by sharing my load.
Happiness seems no bounds when our better half understands our silence and goes an extra mile to make us happy. Whether laundry or any other chore, each responsibility is ours, together. And in this togetherness resides true love and mutual understanding!
My happy heart now sings –
I know he loves me and cares
Each joy and sorrow he shares
We may not need words to explain
The hearts understand the joy and pain
It’s when we decide to share each other’s load
That the house becomes our happy abode!
Ariel is endeavouring to reduce the inequality in households when it comes to household chores by asking people to #ShareTheLoad proudly after highlighting the imbalance that exists in Indian families when it comes to housework.