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To my dear henpecked husband,
No I don’t intend to insult you, unlike our society ever ready with many tags that aim to degrade you, to question your testosterone levels and to reinforce its archaic, misogynistic beliefs on you so as to snub out the slightest glimmer of hope for change. To me the word “henpecked” brings renewed hope, and pride in having a partner who truly cares and believes in equality ignoring the rants and grunts of people around. A partner who dares to stand by his convictions least affected by society’s screwed up ideas of what makes a man “man enough”.
You are special my dear henpecked husband, a rare gem among a million “Indian men” out there. You actively share the boring house hold chores making them a fun activity. I can freely ask you to do the dishes without having to feel guilty (mama’s boys don’t do house work, it is meant for girls) or to press my legs when they ache. Of course you too seek my help with office work and other things.
I like it that you don’t sit snugly, propped up by pillows, watching T.V with other men while I prepare tea or clean up. I have never had to scream in my head “You are the host too!” when we have had guests. I feel loved, my presence in your life respected, when you never follow the “let men eat first” rule and make sure we eat together. You are the man of my dreams, for whenever there have been little sacrifices, they have been mutual.
Domestic chores thanks to you don’t get pushed into “woman’s domain” in our house. It is our home so together we work to keep it clean. We all feel hungry so we think nothing of sharing kitchen work. We are both educated having thoughts of our own, our own interests and ambitions. We defend and safe guard them for each other. I want you to know my henpecked hubby, that I love it that you don’t interfere in my career choices. You realize that beyond the umpteen roles I juggle, there is another me, just me with dreams and desires for myself. So do I. I promise you we will do what we love to.
Much to the displeasure of our society, you love to spend time with my parents as much as yours and realize how important it is for me to know that they are happy and well. And because you are special, you don’t expect to be showered with gifts and given a lot of importance by my family just because of your Y chromosome. You involve me in the decision you take and the choices you make.
I am truly blessed to be holding your hand in life knowing for sure that you’re real with all your imperfections. A real person with emotions that are not locked up in false perceptions about manhood (men don’t cry) with ambitions whose reasons stretch beyond the need to be a provider to the family. Love, this, let me say, is what I find most appealing in you.
These you may feel are too trivial to be written about, but I have no words to tell you about the solace they bring. It is not very easy to be a twenty first century- married- Indian -woman(feminist) with a career. It is like living in a pressure cooker forever. Those who yield to the pressures and live a life of conformity may seem to be happy, but the compromises they endure for the make-believe peace sets off a turbulent storm in their heads that rages for a lifetime.
So be proud of that label dear husband, go ahead and flaunt it.
Your Happy Hen ;)
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