In the patriarchal and conservative society of India, a new breed of husbands is coming to the fore. They are often tall, dark, handsome and most importantly, can cook up a storm (thankfully, not literally), scrub and clean!!! No, this breed of house husbands or stay-at-home dads does not think like the average Indian males — it isn’t necessary to make the bed in the morning when one has to sleep in it again or to tend to household stuff. No, they even make beds and fix up meals too! Yes, welcome to the new breed of ‘house husbands’.
The Questions ‘who’ & ‘why’
House husbands are still considered to be dysfunctional and a failure by many in India because of the cavemen attitude that people have; that men are the hunters with the peripheral vision, while women, with an eye for detail, are the care-givers and caretakers of the family and home. Well, isn’t it time these people realised that it is no longer considered emasculating, or regarding such men henpecked, if they decide to stay home, taking care of the cooking, scrubbing and laundry, and, of course, taking care of the offspring? Many couples in India have actually opted out for this option without any hiccups.
The questions ‘who’ and ‘why’ do crop up in one’s mind. The answers are simple and practical. Contemporary India is seeing growing gender equality, where women are as qualified, with a career and dreams for progress. So when the DINKs (double income no kids) in India are blessed with a child, they weigh out the options, and come to a decision as to who will take the financial responsibilities, and who will do the household chores. This is where practicality comes into play. If the earning capacity of the wife is more, she dons the mantle of putting food on the table, and the husband becomes the ‘soccer dad’ aka, stay-at-home husband.
The Role of House Husbands
House husbands are in no way wastrels or ‘trophy husbands’. They do their bit of taking care of the house, and some even bring a paycheque home through work-from-home opportunities. Here one has to observe that taking care of the home front has become easier over the years, with various electronic devices for cleaning and cooking, and the availability of ready-to-cook meals and takeaway options. However, you can still find those quintessential dads dropping and picking kids from school, the ‘Man Friday’ scouring the market for the freshest of vegetables, and the ‘Good Samaritan’ helping out his neighbours with a bowl of sugar here and fixing a light bulb elsewhere. One would be surprised to know that many of these house husbands also develop an interest in the more womanly arenas of beauty and fashion, and learn to apply that right shade of eye shadow (of course, on his wife) or design a dress.
The Famous House Husbands
If you are astounded, you will be even more surprised to know that there are some famous men who have opted for the role of a house husband. Chetan Bhagat, the famed author of 2 States and 3 Mistakes of My Life, is a house husband, who decided to stay home to take care of their twin sons when his wife became the COO of UBS bank, and was more successful than him. David Beckham, the football player, Muralikrishnan, an artist from Kerala, theatre artist and actor ‘Evam’ Karthik are just a few of the famous ones, with many more joining the ranks.
The next time one sees a matrimonial ad looking for a handsome, tall, dark, cultured house husband who knows how to cook, one should not be surprised, because we are almost there. It is time that the Indians realised that women are empowered enough to don the role of the breadwinner in the family; and it is not a matter of shame if a man chooses to cook that slice of bread and put it on the table. In this age of equality, it is only right if we accept the new breed of husbands with equanimity.