Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gup shap.

I feel that there is some basic difference between men and women. Whether it is in their genes or cultural tuning I wouldn’t know but I do feel that men-or at least those that belong to my generation suffer from a blindness that has no name. We’ve heard of color blindness and night blindness. But how do you classify when men look at things without actually seeing them. My husband for instance needs me in the house all the time. It used to be-
“Where is the gas lighter?” at five o’clock in the morning. This question would annoy me. I certainly don’t hide it under my pillow. Earlier I’d get up and give it to him and come back to get on with my dreams. These days I close my eyes tight and continue to dream. He must have learnt to locate it or perhaps uses matchsticks but he has stopped asking me. The next question would be
“Where is the milk?”
Why they don't try to locate even medium or large sized objects is something I don’t understand. Even while I write this post my husband is asking for the TV remote. He is the actual ‘controller’ of the remote and it is invariably found on the sofa. I don’t even touch it with my little finger but the question is always popped at me. As if I go about hiding everything. I personally feel that they shoot the question even before looking for a particular item. A gent’s towel is not the size of a lady’s handkerchief to be folded and kept in my purse nor do spanners and screw drivers attract me. But it is always ‘where is this or that.’

One evening when I came back from work every edible item had been left open. The cooker with cooked rice in it, dal, and sabzi lay open on the kitchen slab. Curd and pickle on the dining table. Lids of all sizes lay strewn all over the place and this was at least two hours after he had his afternoon meal.

I woke him up from his afternoon nap and demanded to know why he hadn’t bothered to keep the curd and dal in the fridge and why each and every item had been left open. He had no answer except that he was watching an interesting match on TV and forgot about it. He did not even see the curd and pickle lying open.

“Oh! Stop it will you?” was his retort. “It doesn’t take place everyday!” Thank God it doesn’t. It would cause my blood pressure to soar. Honestly I don’t see a woman doing this however interesting a program on TV may be.

The second problem area is the selective deafness he seems to suffer from.

“The dal is in the fridge.” I’d tell him. “Heat it up in the microwave just before lunch.”

I’d come back and see that he has not taken out the dal at all. He had mixed rice with sabzi and eaten it up.

“But the dal was in the fridge” I’d protest.

"Oh was it? I did not know”

“I told you and you nodded your head as if you understood.”

“Did I? I don’t remember you telling me anything.”

The truth was that engrossed in his paper he had not heard a word of what I said nor seen me leave the house.

“Appa was better than you.” I’d say referring to my father in law.

And it was true. My father in law managed a lot for me. After I left at 7 in the morning and the children and husband followed me, he’d go around the house not only putting out lights and checking on the gas regulator but he’d keep track of dhobi account, servant’s salary and newspaper bill. He’d take care of the children’s home work and tell them bed time stories.

“Last month we did not get the news paper on the 3rd since 2nd October was a holiday” he’d announce. Or “The dhobi has lost a towel. I’ve asked him to look for it. I am not paying him unless he gets it.”

It was such a relief to have an elderly person attending to minor details of house keeping. My husband may ultimately do the same for the children but right now all he does is to irritate me.

Having said this I remembered a piece of advise my mother in law gave me long ago.

I was upset at something that my husband said and was about to retaliate when she shut me up much to my irritation.

“Wait till you reach my age” she said. “You can get then away with saying anything you want and he won’t even bother to listen to what you say. The bonding will be such he will not mind it even if he heard you. But not now my child. You need to grow old together before the privilege is yours.”

I now realize that she was speaking from experience and I tease my husband saying that I have his mother’s permission to boss over him once he retires!

32 comments:

Altoid said...

Heheheh, good one HHGMom. One probably solution could be YOUR selective deafness.

Are you SURE you dont hide the lighter underneath your pillow?

Ok, take care and plenty of hugs

-altoid

Srijith Unni said...

Well written, Hip Granma..! These sweet little posts from your experience, they are so pleasant to read.. I`m sure i`ll use something of all i`ve learnt here, in my life going ahead.!

I`ve not been around for a long long time.. Will catch up on your tag soon.. :)

With Best Regards,
Srijith..!

Kowsalya Subramanian said...

I was nodding my head all the time.. leaving things open - my husband does it all the time - so somedays when i had leave before him i used to worry about it in the office. Oh.. your MIL's words are so true. roles in my parents hours have changed and my mother now is able to boss around my father and he doesn't mind it too :)

hillgrandmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hillgrandmom said...

oh you are so right! But finally it's ceased upsetting me, except if he gets too accusing :) But I must say he closes things (he has an absolute horror of lizards).

Hip Grandma said...

altoid:No,no I don't hide the gas lighter under my pillow tho'I've been tempted to do it when he is particularly annoying.

srijith:Where have you been?Busy with work?No new posts since long?My friends too say thay they learn lif's little lessons through my narrations.Am I that good a narrator.Well,well!

kowsalya:It is all the more annoying when one returns after a day's work and hubs points out that he could not find this or that.I look for it and locate it in a minute saying I did not take it to my workplace with me!

hillg'mom:men can never be women they find the routine of housekeeping tedious.my friends blames it on the Y chromosome!yeah my husband closes things most of the time,like he'll close the milk pan when I've left it open on purpose so that it may cool enough to be refrigerated or he'll put off the kitchen light without checking whether the work is over for the day and so on.And he panics when the cooker starts releasing steam and starts bugging me from the first whistle without letting me deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Hi ,

I have been reading your blogs for couple of months. It's so meaningful and realistic.

I think this syndrome is with all Indian men. My husband was like this in early stages of our married life. I lived in India for a year after my marriage and came to US and have been living here for last 11 yrs.

But this syndrome of him asking where, why, can you ? slowly stopped once he realised he needs to do his fair share of work at home just like his wife(all by himself and I waited patiently for this mircle for many years).

We both work full time and we both constantly hear from our male colleagues about their turn to cook at home.Thanks to american men who deligently share all the duties at work or even more, my husband is a completely changed person. Today when I return from business trip, I not only get a bear hugs but warm home cooked meal (my favourites ones). He takes lot of responsiblities in the house like cleaning bathrooms and wooden floors with a pride saying that's it our house .

Though I work full time and commute more than him, I still take the full responsibility of house keeping and cooking . He started taking more responsibility as the years went by and I stoppped feeling guilty for making him do all womanly duties :).

We are expecting our baby after 11 yrs and I am proud to say that he takes care of me better than my parents . Thanks to American life my husband is changed men and so are others desi guys .

-reader from portland, oregon

Prats said...

Pooof!!! I used to always feel guilty when I would get irritated with my husband, now I can go back to sleeping and let him search for the milk and lighter, which only happens maybe once a year...

I guess men just come made like that...but what your mother in law said was really so lovely....maybe I will also take her advice and wait for old age to catch up :)

Preethi said...

good one... and i found myself agreeing.. my husband calls me "google"... i have made him look for things ofcourse.. refusing to get up when he asks me for something.. after half an hour he still hasnt found it... whats with men and finding things.. dont they have eyes?? Glad to know I am not alone... Uh MEN!!!!!

Joy said...

HHG, :) I can so well relate to things not seen which are actually right in front of you. As I wrote in a comment before, I really think they see the world differently, literally.

Lekhni said...

Hiphopgmom, this is straight from my life. I could have written every word of this. My Dad was just like this, and now my husband.

He would also misplace stuff, and I would go around searching for them. Of late, I have stopped the searching part. Some progress, finally.

Phoenix said...

Men would just be men, I guess. :)

rajk said...

Very true...
I have an example of the selective deafness right here...It just happened a few hours back. I gave my husband dinner and kept a glass of water on the table by his side..I repeatedly reminded him that the water was there. But of course, he was doing something much more important, watching his favorite show on TV.
So when the show got over..he comes up to me and says, "You didn't give me water today!"

Thinking aloud said...

i couldn't help smiling all throughout... it happens here too and it irritates me no end that a guy could stand ther in the kitchen and holler 'wher's teh milk' but now after reading this, i give up and will sweetly ignore...'cos as you rightly said no sense in raising my pressure up....
MEN!!!!

and i just loved this post :)

Just Like That said...

Smiled all through your post:-D Its not a question of generation,thnk its more a question of gender. Men or rather, married men are all the same! Bah! And sometimes it gets so irritating I could pull my hair out. Guess (pray) I will get mellower with age.
And yeah, blogging does help a lot too, you get to know other long-suffering souls :-D

Hip Grandma said...

anon:welcome here.Indian men have been thoroughly spoilt by their womenfolk.First mothers and sisters later wives and daughters.But I sometimes wonder whether it suits us to make them soooo'dependent??

Prats:when left on their own they'd rather avoid using the stuff rather than look for it.They seem so helpless that one tends to help them look for it.

preethi:Oh no!you're not alone.We could all form a league of sorts in the near future.

joy:'God knows where you keep it'is a famous refrain.And all the while the item is right in front of them.I think it is a rhetoric that they repeat by rote without really meaning it.

lekhni:It's all in the genes.Let us grin and bear it.

phoenix:may be may be not!But women will remain the same.why don't they let their men learn to manage on their own?the same applies to me.but then how would I write a post on 'These menfolk'..?

rajk:with the TV on and a favorite game being telecast these men are worse than kids.I feel like tying a bib round the neck and spoonfeeding him.They neither speak,hear or see anything.

thinking aloud:No point getting irritated.We HAVE to see the lighter side to retain our mental balance.

jLT:Welcome to the world of husbandsho conveniently become blind and/or deaf as per requirement and convenience.You are not alone my dear.you have a whole bunch of supporters.

eve's lungs said...

I so agree wit you about not being able to locate things . AG stands in front of the bookcase and says "Where is the book I was reading? Why cant I find a single thing? " As if it were a major conspiracy. The book's actually lying on the table , mind you! I usually look bored nowadays so he locates whatever he wants himself!

Tys on Ice said...

i just saw my future here...let me just set the record straight here...men and women are wired differently...we are to a large extent 'not there'..infact we are defintly never on the same page...its wierd...i ask my wife for things out of sheer habit..wife thinks its just to irritate her but in reality it just pops outta my mouth...

after reading ur mom in laws advice, i think iam in deep trouble in the next 15years or so..

chakli said...

you have a beautiful style of writing. all these scenes that you paint from your daily life bring a smile to my face. i can imagine my mom or my aunts complaining of the very same things.

Preethi said...

Hi, You have been tagged.. go to Incessant Musings

Hip Grandma said...

eve's lung:yesterday I attended a workshop on counselling adolescents.A topic that was discussed was The role of society in assigning gender roles highlighting that the sex of an individual was biologically determined but his gender role was the outcome of societal pressure.I found myself nodding at each point put forth.May be I'll write about it next.

tys on ice:'i ask my wife for things out of sheer habit..wife thinks its just to irritate her but in reality it just pops outta my mouth...'

Poor madhumita.I can empathise with her.Tell her that she has an ally in me.BTW I've read her blog but without knowing that she was your wife.

chakli:Welcome here.You're right this problem is universal.Gender roles as they say.

preethi:taking it up soon although I've done it before a whole year ago.

Sue said...

Er, I'm afraid I always ask V where something is, if I can't find it straight away. Whether he is supposed to know or not. But I do have a reason -- he has a very good memory for where he saw things last. :)

And I admire what your mother-in-law said. Would you mind if I quoted it in my blog?

Itchingtowrite said...

had me laughing all the way!! this is exactly what my husband does... he will eat bread but not bother with heating up the full course meal. and don't even get me started on the ;leaving things open..& the lights on. it runs in their family- so i know where he got it from! but now I hav 2 people behind whom i switch off lights and close the lids!

Sunita said...

:) A very good one. Insightful. I need to drill this inside me, now.

Hip Grandma said...

sue:You are really lucky to have V.A husband who can actually look up for misplaced items!what luxury.I am turning green with envy.

ITW:Are they really helpless or plain lazy?I really cannot decide.

sunita:Glad you liked it.Something we all relate to,isn't it?

WhatsInAName said...

hahaha
Nice one HHG :) "Veetukku veedu, vaasapadi"...
I sometimes thank my stars for my FIL who does exactly the same jobs that you mentioned (reg your FIL)...
In the book, "why men cant listen and women cant read maps", they say its all in that Y-chromosome ...
Somethings dont change with time hahaha

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Are all men the same???????:)

Hip Grandma said...

whatsinaname:Veettukku veedu.ha,ha!you are right.I've heard of the book mentioned by you.Must read it.

IQA:Good to see you back.Yes all MEN are the same.

dipali said...

Hello, HHG. Have been an occasional lurker o your blog. Read your m-i-l's wise words on Sue's post, and came to read the entire post. It is all so true- I could identify so totally with the selective blindness, deafness and memory loss. (As in "Did I have my medicine- you didn't give it to me, did you?" after it has been given and consumed. Maybe I need to keep some permanent witnesses around:)
Will definitely be back, HHG- keep'em coming!

Hip Grandma said...

dipali;welcome here.'men are like that only' was my mom's assessment and may be she is right!

Lavs said...

I think Grandpa and my hubby have come from the same genes. Remember that over-protective attitude while crossing the road? My hubby just cannot listen....i used to repeat it ten times earlier now i say it once and ask him to repeat it to check whether he has understood my instructions...with age, i think i will just forgo the above process. Good one, Grandma

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment posted by the woman from portland. Only I started since from Day 1. Even after we were married the work at home was 50-50. be it washing the vessels or clothes. or cleaning the floors. i never felt guilty. funnily my mother wanted to make me feel guilty of my husband doing house keeping. she tried to spoil my brother too to keep his male image , but we were 2 sisters who made sure that our brother would grow up to share 50-50 in house keeping. so when he grew up, he would ask us that if we wanted him to make chai? he cooks too :) if we ironed his clothes, we would expect him to iron ours.

its what we expect of our men that they become to be.

shilpa