Vani, 35, is an SEO expert and works in Pune.
It was the second day of Coronavirus lockdown at home today. It’s been also a few days since Shanti mausi - our maid - has come for work. With two kids, parents and my office work, it was becoming difficult for me to manage. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, online meetings, deadlines – everything was striking together - all at once.
Result? I was irritated, frustrated, overworked, a bit depressed and stressed. It was one of those days when I had just finished washing utensils and layed on bed. I was not just physically tired but also mentally exhausted. Why is house work only a woman’s responsibility?
Karan was still on his laptop and it was 11 pm. He too was working from home. Kids were watching TV in the living room - Khatron ke Khiladi!
I started browsing our society’s ladies’ WhatsApp to see how others were coping at this time. One woman had just been cribbing about how she has two sons and it was tough to get them to mop the house and clean the utensils but she was trying. I could relate. Men and work? Na!
Then a friend of mine, who has two daughters, wrote, ‘It's difficult to make the girls do the work too. But we must take this opportunity to get the kids working, boys or girls.’
‘Let's get the kids to understand that they must know how to work at home and that boys and girls both are equally responsible for household chores. That's the way we bring the change in society when they grow up,’ she added.
That message really struck the chord.
I was subconsciously making my daughter help me in the kitchen but not asking my son to contribute, even though he is older. I immediately forwarded this message to Karan and my mother-in-law. After a few minutes, got a thumbs up smiley emoji from Karan.
What about husbands?
Before I could add husbands to the list, someone who must have been reading my mind, wrote, ‘What about husbands?’ and she added a winking smiley emoji to it.
‘My husband said he will help me cut vegetables. He sat on the dining table, asked for washed veggies, then knife, then cutting board and then dishes to keep the veggies. At that point, I thought cutting is better than bringing all these! So I asked him to help me in cleaning and other works,’ chucked another lady in the group.
‘We have actually divided chores at home between husband, wife and kids. Everyone is doing their bit. Kids need a bigger push but I hope it will eventually work out,’ said another.
‘At my place my husband is preparing the tea .. and doing some utensils,’ added yet another lady.
I was wide awake now. I forwarded all these messages to Karan and asked him what he thinks? He came to me and hugged me.
Jo koi na kar paya
‘Sorry I have been selfish and did not participate at all in the household chores. But tomorrow, let me help you in cleaning the house and utensils. Cooking you will have to teach me on the weekend. Maggi aur anda to bana ke de sakta hun in evening!’ Karan said.
‘Let’s see in the morning! Kal pata chalega,’ I replied disinterestedly. I knew he would forget in the morning. I was so tired that I just wanted to sleep.
Next morning, as I woke up, there were noises coming from outside. Kids must have woken up, I thought. Yes, they had and were coming to our room, with Karan. They had made butter-jam toast and tea for everyone in the morning. I know, it was just the beginning but I was happy we all made a start.
‘Jo koi na kar paya, Corona ne kar diya,’ said my mother-in-law, eyeing father-in-law when she saw Karan washing the utensils while our dad put them on the rack.
We all had breakfast together and made new rules. Karan was to help with cleaning of utensils and cleaning of the house. My son was to help with cooking, daughter - the youngest - with dusting and serving the food.
Our parents were to help whenever required but mostly we let them be at ease. Everyone would change roles every 2-3 days so that no one gets bored. And we all promised - this will continue even after lockdown ends.
I proudly shared the pics of my household helping me in chores on the ladies WhatsApp group. I also thanked all of the ladies for inspiring me! Here's hoping for an equal world.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.