of these days, when I'm on an annual leave, I intenend to write a book on male chauvinism,
something like a treatise on the subject. It will be a text book for all aspiring wives,
wives to be, mothers, mothers to be ......... , who will recap a wealth of knowledge from
my personal experience and genius.
I come from a large family of children of twelve children ; seven sisters, and five brothers to be exact. My farther a very enlighten man had no discrimination against girls, he loved us all the same. There was no question of male supremacy or superiority in the family. We were all
equal. It was a full house, echoing with roars of laughter & shrieks of twelve bouncing kids . But it would become amazingly quiet when the door bell rang three times ( as was my faters custom ). Three bells meant a complete close down of all sounds, activities what so ever. A complete halt, like soldiers falling in line at the approach of a general. Was it his chauvinistic manners or a personality that commanded respect ???
After marriage, I enjoyed extra protection, pampering but, then there were times I'll choke to death. I was desperate, I wanted my air-bubble-my breathing space, a right to use my own mind, to express my own mind, to express myself. I had serious identity crises.
I wouldn't forget the day was trying on a new outfit "How is it ?" , I asked Waheed. " Well... the colour , the texture, the fibre.. I understand that you didn't buy it for me, did you ?", he said narrowing his scrutinizing eyes. "No!" I answered, "But it's cool, see it's 100% cotton."."
Oh ! It's fitted with air conditioners", came the mocking answer . I could see the mischief in his eyes , he didn't laugh, but everything about his face danced, his nostrils, his ear lobes...
A new life opened for me after the birth of my two sons. I remember the day when my friend caught me fumbling with sunny's shoe laces in the morning, while he was taking his cup of milk in the morning. " Don't do this Nasreen, you're preparing another M.C". " No I have faith in my upbringing, I'll tell them to respect ladies like ladies, to be polite, to open the door for them etc,etc" Not to realize that this way I was segregating both sexes. Infact I was constructing strong pillars into which blocks of male chauvinism will be plastered.
The other day I was working in the Kitchen and, sunny came up, threw his arm around me, " Mama, I love you. You are so nice, so sweet, so innocent, so weak.."Weak", I resorted "What do you mean?!". "Well the day you change a gas cylinder, you boast about it all the day long,
Mama, let me tell you, it's a man's job, let me do it for you."
My husband raised his eyes above the computer screen, and plunged them like daggers into me heart. My heart pounded like the bass of a boogie woogie. His eyes were mischievous, everything about his face danced, his nostrils, his ears lobes....
I turned towards Prince of Wails and, all I could say was, "Oh! Brutus you too!"