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I have memory from my childhood feeling embarrassed if one of my friends visited and my father was doing jhaadu/ pochha or some other household work at the time. Because hardly any other male around did these chores. My father could cook and would help around the house and it was considered such a big deal. I grew up to realize how much harder my mom worked, and how my dad was just helping out in small ways (and not always) and yet he got so much credit. Still, good that he could break the norm, in his generation, in a small town in Bihar. ​

Now I feel so shocked when I see so many men of my generation and with working wives, who don't "help out" (let alone take equal responsibility). I don't blame the men or the mom-in-laws entirely. Women are at fault too. Societal conditioning or whatever, they readily take on the complete responsibility of the household after marriage. Even if they are working full time, even if they have more challenging job than the husband. They sometimes meekly ask husband to do basic chore like serve or make chai for guests after they have taken care of lunch (and not menial tasks like cleaning or doing dishes, that would be embarrassing). And then they feel so grateful and proud of the husband - raja beta becomes raja pati.

Most women never question the norm, and never ask for equal rights. Why would men give up on privileges if the other person is not even asking for it?

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Mahima, this was brutal.

I am almost there too. While there is a desire to help and a sense of guilt when you are your in laws, it really doesn't translate to getting up and doing the dishes. Most I do is gingerly carry may plate and leave it next to the sink.

I think such brutally honest but engaging pieces will start conversations which will hopefully being about change. Your writing has that ability to make me smile (laugh actually) and squirm at the same time. Quite a ridiculous position that πŸ˜€.

Keep writing. Keep being brutal. More power to you!

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Dec 12, 2022Β·edited Dec 13, 2022Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Really loved this piece!

I am still un-married, but have lived away from home (due to studies/work) for the past 10 years. However, whenever I go back home and my sister is also home, I can see that my mother treats me like a 'raja-beta', while my sister is expected to help her out in the kitchen or in the laundry. I think this was always the norm while I was growing up, but I only became aware of this in the last few years.

My parents always wanted me to excel in studies in school and the whole household was engineered in a way to enable that. I never had to do any chore in the house and my mom used to work tirelessly throughout the day, from waking us up, to preparing us lunch boxes, to washing our clothes, and dishes, and dining table, and our bedsheets ... the list is endless.... I never was asked to do any chore in the house. I didn't think of it much back then, as in my mind I was being a good child by doing what was being asked of me -- that is to study hard.

However, now that I have lived outside of home by myself for about 10 years, I've realised the amount of hard work that went into raising us. I can see the tireless and thankless job my mother did all through her life, and continues to this day.

But, whenever I visit home, she is still conditioned to prepare my meals and wash my dishes and feel responsible to wake me up on time. That's the only way she knows, and I can feel her love in her care for me. I try and share the load, for e.g. I'll wash the dishes after she's finished cooking, I'll dry the clothes, or I'll mop the floor if she has just finished brooming. However, I never get asked to do any of this and in fact I get confused looks from both - my mom and dad, as to why do I want to do all of these things (ye sab to meri behen/wife ke kaam hai), which makes me sad.

What I am still confused about is whether I should fight back against my parents, and tell them that they are wrong in not asking me to do the chores, or just silently let things be and stepping in only when I feel they are tired and really need some help. What stops me is not the effort that goes in doing those chores ( I do them all the time when I am not with my parents ), but the mental effort it takes to argue with my parents as to why this is wrong and how they need to change at this age. Even though I am acutely aware of the 'Raja-beta' treatment I am getting, I still find it much harder to stand against my parents. I have had small arguments here and there about it, but more often than not, I've settled to simply stand-by and silently watch whenever my mom refuses to let me wash the dishes. After reading this article, I am now wondering if most men find it similarly difficult to revolt against their parents, when they are pampered by the 'raja-beta' treatment, and what is the best way get out of it?

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Oct 7, 2022Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Seen this play out in different forms so much that it is starting to feel like some kind of universal family dynamic going on in lives of a whole generation of Indian couples (Effect of partial liberalization?). Yet, families won't talk about it cause 'Men will be Men' they say! But it's good to see the cat coming out of the bag finally:)

I also feel that the feminist movement, especially in India, focused so much on teaching young girls how to be independent that they almost forgot about teaching the same generation of boys about how to live with independent women. The official narrative is still about 'beti padhao' not 'bete ko sikhao'. Ironically, the burden of feminism too is shared disproportionately by women. It is high time that we start speaking to the boys. The girls are smart enough. They always were.

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Sep 18, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

I am a 17 yr girl and I hve remembered how I was chided by my father when I was studying and my little brother was helping out mom in the household chores. Nd then I stood against this stereotypical norms abt letting a girl be responsible for the household chores and let a man or boy hve freedom from this trivial things which isn't valued .and after this revolution tht I contributed myself into . I could feel the slight changes when none of my parents ask me to do household just bcz I am a girl. Don't let someone tell u wht u r supposed to do according to the societal framework .

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Apr 5, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Very well articulated! Personally, my only response to this regressive syndrome seeped deep into our patriarchal society is to bring up my "rani beti" so well that she can thrive and flourish without one around her.

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Apr 4, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

What you detailed is quite common, me as husband should not help my wife otherwise my mother -in -law ( forget my mother )and brother -in -law will think i am less mard.V pathetic feeling , this is not an issue with most of boys / males if they had working mother .

If human (male or female )is compassionate such things do not come in any relation other then marriage too.

I am telling my son to learn basic cooking, housekeeping and be compassionate wheather he choose to mary or not to mary .both gender must be taught to be financially independent .

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Apr 3, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

I had a few men reach out after reading this to share that they feel so suffocated because of this unfair treatment. And that this becomes a big point of disagreement with their parents. For a change, it was so refreshing to hear their story! Thanks for writing these articles Mahima - they are enabling so many conversations...

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Apr 3, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Couldn't agree more. It is really shocking that I haven't seen a single man in my life who is not given the Raja Beta Treatment. So sad.

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Apr 3, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Another well written and true article.. Parents start the raja beta treatment from a young age..I have seen parents especially mothers see their son being rude or disruptive and still going "Mera Raja Beta".. so they aren't just raising a useless son but also someone who believes he is being smart when he disrespects others..

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Apr 11, 2023Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Ewww. That really hurt.

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Mar 1, 2023Liked by Mahima Vashisht

The pictures are vivid and utterly true. I would say only milder versions appear here.

Popular cultures like cinema, ads ( save for son's education and daughter's wedding), even our Ramayana and Mahabharata never ever criticize patriarchy.

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Apr 3, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

I am curious to know,

1. if these conditions were conveyed before getting married to the Groom and the Groom's family

2. Are the same chores equally being shared by the wife's, father and mother at her home, prior to her marriage?

Thanks

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Apr 3, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

Please add a not to all the mothers of next generation husbands. If not daughter in law and son let them atleast treat their own daughter and son equally when they visit

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Apr 3, 2021Liked by Mahima Vashisht

If you need someone to help edit, I can do that 😁 that is the extent of my ability

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The question that begs an answer is why do woman who think about the prince in the earlier years do the same when they turn mother or mil

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