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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

' It's called Patriarchy '

Safine looks out of the car window. There's nothing new she sees but it's very rare they get invited for a lunch Dawwat . Her Husband's eyes are focused on the road , beside him is his cousin Azmal who has joined them for the long Eid holidays. Safine looks at Nooraan , her youthful daughter , who has now plugged in her earphones and has completely zoned out.

 Nooraan pulls one her left earphone out ' Ammi , Najma aunty's Kofta curry was so good! I loved it more than the Daalcha.'

'Yes! I was quite surprised myself! It was a different style of preparation. Delicious nonetheless.' says Safine.

' Ammi , I didn't know Saleem Uncle does sewing too? He even alters his children's school uniforms when needed'

'He does ,' says Safine ' He and even Amjad helps his wife do the house work. Both men  cook , get their kids ready for school and finish up on other necessities. If they notice that their wives are away or busy or overwhelmed they don't turn a blind eye. They immediately get up and handle the cooking and cooperatively tend to their kids.'

' What great men they must be. Understanding and comprehending the true essence of marriage. That's how it should be'

'You can't really compare' says Azmal after overhearing the mother-daughter's conversation ' Men go out and work hours and deal with all sorts of stress. Their wives are working women so it is difficult to do all work. But If she's a housewife Isn't 8 hours enough to finish up all the house chores? your cleaning and cooking?'

'But Azmal a mother's work never ends. If only 8 hours were enough. Parenting is a life long job. You get two days in a week off. ' Safine calmly explains.

' Then you should raise your child well enough to help you in your responsibilities. If women cannot handle both work and professional life then stay at home. And If you are a stay-at-home mother then you should manage all the work. You can't have your cake and eat it too!' says Azmal.

' But bhaijaan we can say that too , right? Men also cannot have it all.' says Nooraan defensively.

'You can't match home stress to work stress, ' says Safine's husband  ' there is so much pressure on us , all sorts of tensions , children's education , work stress , financial stress. It's all very different. '

' Just because she is not an earning member does not mean her job is of any less value!' says an outraged Nooraan.

' None of our points are actually valid' says Azmal ' For a man to do housework is not Sunnat. '

And with that he ends it.

A defeated Safine looks out of the car window. Nooraan sits grumpily in her corner knowing well that there is no point arguing with elders. She looks at her mother who smiles meekly at her.
 She reaches out for her mother's hand ' Ammi , It's not Islam. Will a man be punished at Akhirah for helping his wife?! No. It's called Patriarchy. It's so deep rooted that it has blinded countless people.'

Safine looks away with hope draining from her eyes.

Photo Courtesy: Majid Saeedi

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