One day, I came back from school and I saw mother was
frantically packing her stuffs in a suitcase. Herself, quite tense as if she
just had some really serious argument with her husband. Father was smoking his
pipe in the living room.
"Mom, where you going?"
No answer. She kept packing.
Lately, I could see Mother was always struggling with Father's
do's and don’ts. Even though her family almost resembled the one from my
father's side in terms of being subservient to men, they did not quite comply
to this idea of gender bias, they seemed to be more lenient and forthcoming
regarding change and treating each gender equally. She did a lot of new and
pioneering things as a woman of her time. She went horse riding, she would
drive a car and even worked outside of house while going to school. Well maybe,
that was how she fell into the eyes of my father. Father liked women who would
go forth and would take risk just like himself, but after marriage he did not
quite see himself supporting this kind of life style of my mother. He would
have been happier if there were lesser oppositions and reasoning’s from the
mother's side for his every objection to her idea of being “progressive”.
I could see the strain between them that was gaping wider and
wider with every major fights they would have every once in a while. It
would a big deal for me if any week would go by without their fights. The rate
at which they were bickering and fighting was becoming more frequent these
I asked it again, “What’s going on? Mom!”
"I’ve had enough! I am done living my life with your dad. I
am not growing in this relationship at all. The whole thing is pushing me in
and back. I cannot live like this. I have to go! Now you tell me, where do you
want to live? With your dad or your ma?"
The question was too abrupt to answer anything. I need both of
my parents. I do not want to belong to a broken family. I have some dreams and
hopes about how my mother and my father are going to contribute to my growing
up. I was not ready for this kind of question from Mother. Suddenly I recall
that quiet kid from my class whose father had left his family for another woman
and now he would not want to talk to nobody. Most probably he thinks himself
responsible for all that had happened between his Ma and Pa.
“I don't want to be that kid. No! I don't want to have all those
mental issues that only I can feel and none of the others in class!” I almost
After getting married to Father, Mother was devastated to know
my father belonged to that category of men who would want them to be regarded
of higher honor and value then women.
“He was not like that before the marriage, he was a different
man when he was courting me, but people change given the circumstances of life
scenario.” Mother would say. To her, Father hid his real personality quite well
to marry her.
“I hate to admit it that I am married to a bigot.” She said one
night after a big fight.
But that was how she was
made to believe about the most of the men around the world. They feel their
worth when they have their control over their women and when they have them
under their belt. It was such a discouraging time for women to live in.
“We women do not have our voice!” Mother always thought. As per
her, everything was pre-described and pre-written for them.
It was the year Carpathia had
sunk as well. The ship that was used to carry around the various survivors for
so long had given up itself. The same ship that helped women and kids stranded
in the sinking of the notorious Titanic.
"What a loss!" She thought to herself.
Father did not care about this news. He was already clear about
who should have been in Carpathia.
The news about stocks and businesses appealed to him better than anything
On other areas, Father was as usual.
“Men are the best and productive gender in the world and women
should always listen to them and comply to them.” Father would say.
My father's family was that of an aristocratic values where the
gender bias was not much of a big deal but it was more like an openly accepted
notion. The women in his family never had their say. They were just there to
tend to their men's needs and wants and then be fecund enough to gift their men
with enough children they would want. It was because Mother came from a
family where these kinds of values were taught early on to women that Mother
quite easily accepted her so called fate and would not think about succumbing
to what they call as a 'revolt' but maybe she is done accepting her fate recently,
the result of her family’s forthcoming attitude about change.
“I don't want to grow myself while you both are catering to your
own full blown egos. If you two can be selfish, why can’t it be me as
well?”, I made my statement sternly.
"I do want both of you, mother!"
"Well that's not going to happen, honey! Make a choice before
a choice will make you.” Mother retorted.
"Choice will make me?" I did not even understand if
that meant anything.
“Why am I on a spot? Why do I have to make a choice? Can I not
simply pass? Just like how you people together take decision on my behalf while
picking my running shoes or my school bag? I don't want to do anything with
making a choice. I am still small for heaven's sake!” I was wailing by now.
I felt like running away while Mother started consoling my childish
“Why is it only her or only Father who can revolt and do
whatever they feel like? Just because they are full grown adults?”
I felt I grew smaller and smaller to revolt or do anything. I
wanted somebody badly to protect me, cover me and hide me under his hood, away
from everybody's eyes and notice. The smaller I grew, the harder I got crushed
between my mother and father and their soaring walls of egos.
Now from a father's point of view.
I am a man. And that is the ultimate truth. I am raised with
this notion that a man has to do what he has to do. A man has to be the
breadwinner of his family. Women are there to bear our children and continue
our legacy of men's surnames. We do need them but they cannot afford to be the
breadwinner whatsoever because they are weak physically and too soft naturally.
We understand math and business better than women. They can never face the kind
of life we men are made to deal with everyday.
When I first saw my to be wife at the horse racing court not
watching the game but participating, I got so fascinated that I had to talk to
her. She was this bubbly free spirit who just forgot how pretty she was and how
enchanting her moves were. She got me completely enamored. I was next to helpless.
You know how Plato said that when one falls in love that person becomes a poet.
The same thing happened to me as well. My thought process became like that of a
poet. I liked what my to-be-wife was doing, one of those pioneering works for
the women of her time. She inadvertently got all the men interested in her then
the racing game itself. But I was determined to make her mine and nobody
else's. It had to me whom she was going to fall for.
I instantly approached her after the race before any other
drooling men got near by. I wanted this charmer to be my passion for
"You are good with horses, eh?"
"I like taking control." Her voice just felt like a
sweet song playing in the air.
“Nice control at the course”
“Thank so much for your kind words!”
"What do you say? Would you like to have coffee with me
this weekend?" I surprised myself that I was too direct.
"Sure! I would love to do that, but I decide the
place." She was quick with her reply.
"I like it you taking the lead. Wherever you say, I am okay
with that." I got excited.
The date was fixed. I got the chance to know this
woman. Slowly, more meetings continued. Eventually I proposed to her
before anybody tried his luck on this woman I have set my eyes on. She was
helplessly blindfolded in my love as well. No wonder, I was always famous among
women in my college days. So after a few months of courting, it was decided we
We got married among some apprehensions from my family. Especially,
my father was concerned about her outer disposition. To him, she was overtly
forthcoming and too unfit for our family type.
"She is all wrapped up around my finger, she is going to do
what I want her to do. You people do not worry much." I convinced him.
Well maybe I was being too presumptuous on that. To assume that
Wife is going to be wrapped around me ‘forever’ was wrong of me. Not until
later I would know that I was about to get punished so bad for my arrogance.
The first few months into marriage went all fine. No big issues
at all. No big arguments except here and there. Wife was always very loud and
vocal about what she wants and what she does not. A lot of times I had to face
embarrassment because of her. My restraints would be impediments to her idea of
being "progressive". The initial fights would be anything about the
kind of dresses she would pick for herself to the kind of people she would be
keeping company of.
"Wife, I did not quite like the people you were talking to
today in the party."
"Well, they are my friends from school! And besides that we
know what we want from ourselves, unlike you" She would snarl back.
After a year or so, we had a son. I was elated to have somebody
to continue my surname. But Wife was looking to have a daughter. I remember fighting
about it as well.
"I want somebody like myself who would take forward our
family name." I had made it clear.
"That is too snobbish attitude you are indulging in."
Her reply would make it clear of her being unhappy about my statement.
I might come conservative to most of the people but maybe
because I never got to see women acting so bold and rebellious all my life in
my family that to see a woman of my life rebel against all the norms I grew up
with, it just did not sit right with me. I would be happy if Wife would be
doing what the other regular women would be, but she was like just not cut out
for the present time.
The bickering kept escalating as my son started going to school.
I felt she was looking for some kind of freedom in her life. No wonder she has
been a staunch advocate for ‘Women Liberty’. Having a kid kept her engaged for
some years to really do something out of her time. But after Son grew up, Wife
wanted to go out and do something for herself, express herself enjoy herself and
know herself according to her. She had been a good mother but cannot say the
same thing about being a good wife to me and good daughter-in-law to my parents
though. She had this unique piece of mind to take decisions and if I object,
she would retaliate with how backward my family was or had been.
Regarding going out and work, I would rather die than face the
shame if somebody would say that women in my family had to go out of the house
to work because I did not provide enough. It was just against my pride of me
being a man. She kept holding grudges that I did not let her work and grow
professionally. It was more for personal exploration than for money to her. My
argument was after marriage you have to tend to kids, husband and your family
first and let the man do his job of providing. Women staying away and out of
the family circle was something I never thought about. And this was not a
culture I would want to patronize in my family. But she would just not
understand my argument.
One day Son had gone to school. Wife was in the kitchen fixing
lunch. As always, the bone of contention was about her seriously wanting to
work out of house.
"Wife, I don't like this idea of you working outside with
other men. I simply can't let you do that! Before marriage it was something
"I don't like it when somebody else has a control over my
life and desires"
"How can I be somebody else now?" I urged an
“In a way I blame your parents
and their upbringing for sowing this kind of mental attitude towards women in
This was enough for me. "Don't you dare say anything
against my parents!" I yelled at her.
"Maybe then we should part our ways then. Since we belong
to completely different families, it's better if we give space to ourselves”. She
could not take it at all.
She stormed out of the kitchen to the bedroom, opened the
wardrobe and scooped out a suitcase and started packing frantically. The moment
was so heated. My mind was not working. I lighted a pipe, got myself seated in
the living. Son had just arrived from his school. Coming at the wrong time, he
found himself completely confused. I could not figure out what his mother was
saying to him, all I could hear was him wailing that he wanted both of us in
his life again and again.
With Wife making it clear that she wanted out, I felt the rug
under my feet getting pulled further. What I thought how my family was going to
be like, how I would not fail my father and his legacy, everything just crashed
in front of me. I could not even survive the marriage. I thought I have
everything under control, but maybe not.
As a man I felt weak, so weak to get up from the couches and
face the world, one more time.