Thursday, June 25, 2009

A clever trick

My dad, a strong willed man, had strange notions of man’s superiority over woman. He always ordered my mom about even where requests would have been appropriate. My mom willingly subjected herself to his taunts and abuse. My dad and I were eating our dinner together. I asked “Dad, I have a question. “
He said “Shoot your question,” sipping his coffee.
“Do you believe men are entitled to treat their wives as chattel? Can they order them about as if they are paid slaves? Can they assume that wives have no say in all household matters and only husbands have the right to decide?”
Tell me what is at the back of your mind. What prompted you to ask this question?” he asked.
“Nothing in particular. It is just to know your views.”
He slowly said in a measured tone “I strongly believe that women will have to be kept under tight leash. Give them an inch they will take a mile. As an earning member who keeps the hearth burning, the husband has the right to see things are done as per his wishes. He may have to occasionally crack the whip if necessary to maintain discipline and compliance with his wishes. Men give them food, clothing, shelter and children for the work they do. What else do they need?”
Aghast though, I was not surprised at his boorish attitude knowing well how he had been treating my mom all these years. I hated him for a while for his rude response and brashness. I kept quiet not knowing how to react.
He asked “I am not convinced that you asked this question casually. Tell me what impelled you to ask?”I could not control my tears when I thought of my poor mom and started sobbing.
“Sita, pray tell me without crying what is troubling you.”
You married me to Hari telling me he came from a cultured family of decent people. Life has been a hell for me from day one of marriage. Not a day passes without his insulting and beating me often in the presence of his parents and siblings. Even when I am sick none comes to help me in the kitchen. None asks me whether I am alright.He neither trusts me nor gives me money even for buying vegetables. I am not allowed to express any opinion even on matters concerning my children. I do not want to live there any more. I am willing to work and take care of my kids. I do not want to stay in a place where I am not respected or treated equally with dignity.”
He lost his arrogant demeanour and his eyes became misty.” Why didn’t you tell me all these years? I would have taught that brat a lesson or two.”
“How could I when you are yourself no better than Hari? What kind of a support I could expect to get from you? I said.
My dad broke down. “I have been a fool all along. I will change myself from today. This is a promise, Sita.Let us go now to Hari’s place and talk to him before deciding our next step. I cannot forgive a man for treating his wife so miserably.”
The door bell rang just then. Dad rushed to open. There was the beaming Hari and the children in all smiles with a complaint “Nana, mom refused to come with us to Disney land telling us she had to be with you. She missed a lot of fun today.” With a foolish grin, my dad looked askance at me.
“Extremely sorry, my dad, for making up this story.Hari is a doting husband and like the genii in Aladdin’s lamp is ever ready to carry out my smallest wishes.”

7 comments:

  1. lol..lesson well taught.
    the end was totally unexpected..u had me thinking the other way and i was really impressed at Sita and her wittyness.kudos!!

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  2. i never expected the end one of the best stories i have ever read. really superb.

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  3. I likes the twist in the tale :)

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  4. Its only when we witness things happening where it hurts the most, thaz when we truely realise our mistakes. An intelligent daughter to a hay headed father:)Great story!

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  5. A wonderful story Sir.. If only all spouses treat each other lovingly, courteously and selflessly, the family and indeed the world will be much peaceful and joyful.

    Initially I thought the author was a male ! Probably associating the story with you..

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  6. That was quite a clever trick!!

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  7. that was really clever :) this time, u did let me guess the end.:)

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