The word “Wintercearig” (Old English) is a metaphor for the strength of one’s sadness, which is as strong and never-ending as the bitter cold of midwinter.
It’s the International day of Girl child today. UN declared October 11th to be celebrated as International Girl child today to seek more opportunity for girls and increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. It’s saddening that we women folk need a special day to shout out to the world to be treated as equals.
Today I overheard a conversation which saddened me to the core that it made me howl with laughter at the irony of it. It’s International Girls’ day today, yet we are nowhere near the concept of equality. It’s impolite to overhear, but the person in question was shouting away while walking down the corridor which was near my seat. This gentleman in question was chatting away with a female relative about a prospective bride. Apparently he had received a horoscope of an ‘educated’ girl through some other relative and it was a match with his horoscope. He was going as to how the horoscopes matched perfectly, but he was apprehensive because the girl didn’t have a father. He reasoned that who would take care of the mother in her old age or if something was to happen to her. However, by the time he ended the call, he came to a conclusion that he would marry the girl if she was good looking enough in person and the mother could always be sent to an old-age home. I sincerely hoped that she didn’t look good enough for his standards. I’m a half optimist, just hoping she lands a better husband. The word “wintercearig” perfectly describes my state of mind after witnessing that conversation.
It’s a common complaint that our constitution has a lot of laws supporting women while there are hardly any protecting the men-folk. When the recent supreme court verdict came out that a man can divorce his wife if she refuses to take care of his parents, there were a lot of welcome comments from many male netizens as to how there was finally a law in place to protect them and their parents. Imagine if the person above mentioned gets to marry that girl. What would happen to her mother? While there are a lot of genuine cases when a woman tries to separate her husband from his parents for the sake of privacy or other reasons, what of such cases when the husband refuses to let his wife take care of her parents?
Our patriarchal society direly needs to change the way its looks at it senior citizens. They are senior citizens who need love and care, it shouldn’t matter if they are your parents or your spouse’s. This attitude that a woman’s parents can be left to fend for themselves in their declining age should be done away with. This attitude evidently stems from another issue, the biggest headache of all – Gender inequality. We have been conditioned to think that we are cursed if we are not blessed with a male heir as the daughter wouldn’t take be able to take care of her parents like a son would. The popular counter-argument these days would be that women try to separate their husbands from his parents. It would be hypocritical of me to argue that women have been oppressed enough so they have turned against men and thus this behavior. It’s wrong to ditch ailing parents immaterial of whose parents they are. They were there when you needed the most, it’s only fair to return the favor. Of course, there is this other popular argument that parents over-step their boundaries and deprive their kids of their privacy. This is especially true in the Indian context. They need to be sensitized to be accommodating of the changing needs and attitude of the next generation. Isn’t this one viscous cycle?
Not all men are cruel like the person I mentioned, though a majority of them still have that attitude. I have seen enough men in my life to have a little faith in humanity left. These wonderful male species in question believe that it’s their duty too care of their wife’s parents. They might not confess that openly, but their actions speak louder than words. My sincere gratitude to such men! (My dad tops that list for me)