The incident was painful for me. It was evening time. I was crying as I was hungry. My father had reached home around half an hour back. He was working as a manager in an airline at that time. My mother was also just back from her work. She was working for an international bank. She had joined her office after a sabbatical of one and a half years. She had to be on this long leave because I had to land on the earth.
I was wailing at my loudest possible. My father was reading the newspaper in the adjacent living room. I could feel he was getting annoyed. I was wondering why he couldn't just stand up and boil milk for me. I knew Mom was just back from work and was freshening up. She would always take a shower after coming back from work. At times, she would be late at coming home from work. But, whatever be the time, an evening shower is a must for her. My father shouted ordering my mother to come fast to do whatever to console me. I was being even more restless. Finally, Mom came and boiled milk for me so that she could feed me something in order to comfort me.
Such incidents continued to occur for many years. Each task related to housework was Mom’s headache. Be it regarding the groceries, my school uniform, cleaning the house, or readying my father’s clothes for the next day at work. During one of those once-in-a-while healthy discussions, I was in my eighth grade and that evening I finally asked my father that if Mom could work and earn like him, why he couldn't contribute to household chores like her. That one moment of truth brought a real transformation in him. He was dumbfounded and sought the answer to such a silently prevalent question. Today he not only contributes whatever little he can, in every chore like folding the ironed clothes, washing the groceries before cooking, preparing a simple breakfast as omelettes etc. at home but also sets an example for all the children at home, especially the boys and gentlemen in our joint family to ensure a balance in life and equal contribution to their respective mothers' or wives' efforts.
A few days back, when I saw an advert by Ariel, it brought back this episode's memory. I was reminded of this beautiful quotation by Benjamin Franklin:
Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I remember,
Involve me and I learn.
As for me, I was involved at home by witnessing a loaded balance tilting towards and burdening my mother in my initial years, and I learned to condemn such gender bias towards the women of the family. I learned to appreciate the notion of #ShareTheLoad, which must even be propagated into the minds of the younger generation, in order to nip such prejudice in the bud, always.