Three cheers, rah-rah-rah, Hip hip hurray and all that sort of thing. It is 19th November and this is one time of the year since 1993 that we are celebrating the International Men’s day. Normally this day is not celebrated with the same zest and a zing that the Women’s Day is celebrated . My friend of the baug-bench tells me there is a conspiracy to keep it purposely on the low key so that we may not get any ideas about our valuable importance in our society. In short the worm should, rather, must not turn.
Since times immemorial, starting from the cavemen, the troglodyte men went out to hunt, to face all sorts of danger, to provide viands at the ‘table’ while his better half stayed at home in a warm cozy cave doing cave paintings, if at all anything. If you doubt me, visit Lascaux. The paintings are still there. The residents have shifted to places with partitions we call rooms, with heaters and or air conditioning and a several other thingamajigs. Whether Mr. Neanderthal, Mr. Cro-Magnon or Mr. Homo Sapian-Sapian (Boy,o-Boy they had hyphenated cognomens then, eh) the poor sap had to go and get himself gored by a local mammoth or pierced by a neighboring saber-tooth tiger. Throughout the ages man has been at the receiving end.
Remember Helen? Peli film actor nai! The one who had a face that literally launched a thousand ships, by eloping with Prince Paris of Troy. Later thousands of men were launched off too to the happy hunting grounds and Troy, the kingdom of King Priam was seiged and destroyed! The moment Queen Cleo got herself unrolled from a carpet, Persian I presume, old Julius was doomed! Anthony suffered from a similar fate too. Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony had gone to the land of pharaohs to conquer, but both the great generals got captured in the love net of queen Cleo!
QE I, alias the Good Queen Bess did not want to get her farthingale skirt dirty whilst going across a mud puddle. She gave that famous helpless-feminine look to which we are all susceptible, and lo! The chivalrous Sir Walter Raleigh lay down his rich cloak for the Virgin Queen to tread over. She did. The cloak did not even belong to Raleigh…
Louis XVI was a nice fellow who was happy with his locksmithy hobby, happy in his own way. There was some discontent in his gay Paris yet, with a little give and take he could have kept his people happy. But, Sacre bleu! Mme. Louis XVI went and told the Parisians, all decedents of the fiery Gauls like Asterix and Obelix, to go and eat the cakes. Wild boars one can understand, but cakes, not done. Louis XVI went to the guillotine for this faux pas. Quel dommage! Queen Victoria would just say, “We are not amused,” and dukes, princes and Prime Ministers would quiver!
And they say women are the weaker sex. A myth! Men, the stronger sex. A greater myth!!! I am not here to instigate a war of sexes. I respect and admire women. As the song goes, “I love the ladies, I love ‘em all’, I love the ladies, married or free, They’re all the pretty girls to me.” I have a great wife of over three decades whom I love, it’s a different matter that I cannot get a word in edgewise with her….. so what! My editor is an admirable woman, so also all the women staff at the PT. I even love my mother-in-law! I loved them all so much that in my hey-days I would fall in love ever so often. This confession of mine can land me in trouble at the domestic front, but like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie.
My prelude to this piece might have given an impression that I am a misogynist, that, I am not, On this International Men’s Day I want to highlight immense contributions made by men in all spheres of human endeavour, be it science, art, literature, music, culture, You name it, we have done it. Man has adjusted to working with women in what were at one time totally male dominated domains. Maybe with a modicum of reserve initially, but nowadays we accept their presence as a fait accompli. Men have welcomed women into the world of super high technology and cramped conditions of space travel. No doubt there are male chauvinists but then there are FCPs too! Positive liberal education system can close the gender gap. Twenty-first century is going to be an era where gender inequality will be a thing of past. Men should change their mental conditioning that a women is his property – an obnoxious concept. Men have an important role to play in improving the quality of life in society. This cannot be done single handedly, but only in partnership with women. Women should not hold the sword of Democles hanging over men’s heads with now over-misused laws. Laws are there for the protection of all sections of society but they should not become tools of torture and blackmail.
“Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour, both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe.”
This Shakespearean idea from ‘Taming Of The Shrew’, does not hold water any more. Man works hard to look after his family but women today work just as hard if not harder! We are partners in life and we complement each other. Let the concepts of stronger and weaker sex vanish like mist with the first ray of the sun. The sun of enlightenment is rising.
Happy International Men’s Day to all!!