Isn’t it getting late for your office? I asked my husband seeing him leisurely reading ‘The Hindu’.
You seem to have forgotten that today is a holiday, he said, still engrossed in what he was reading.
But why, may I know?
You silly, it’s a holiday for the whole world, don’t you know? he said accusingly.
It was only then that I remembered it was May 1 and it was International Labour Day.
Looking at my husband who appeared absolutely relaxed without a care in the world, I almost envied him. I felt like dropping myself in the sofa next to him and doing just the same, pick up the ‘Indian Express’ and read from page one to the last. On an impulse I decided to indulge myself in the luxury.
It took a while for my husband to take notice at what I was doing because lifting his head from the paper he said, aye, what is for lunch today? I hope you are making something nice? why don’t you make stuffed parathas and palak paneer? It’s quite some time since you made these. Today you have all the time in the world, don’t have to rush.
I thought my reply to him could wait as I was more interested in completing what I was reading.
When the answer did not come, he repeated his words with a chuckle, sounding a little impatient.
I thought you said today was a holiday for the whole world, isn’t it? I reminded him.
Yes, of course, for all those who work hard and toil the whole year, he informed.
Well, don’t you think the world includes women as well, who work hard and toil the whole year? I said.
May be, he said after a pause, but the holiday applies only if you are working. As far as I know, it is not a holiday for non-working women like you, he reasoned.
O.K. if that is so, it is neither for people like you, I said emphasising the ‘you’.
Who says so? I am working the whole year and, therefore, am entitled to a day’s holiday, i.e. on the International Labour Day.
As far as I know, labourers don’t work sitting in plush air-conditioned offices and commute by cars and looked after by their spouses once they are home, do they? I shot the question at him. In fact, it is homemakers like me who toil in the kitchen, preparing three meals a day, sending a husband to office and children to school which leaves little time to themselves who need a holiday from these chores, I added.
So, what are you suggesting? he asked, his tone suddenly turning serious.
Only that between the two of us it is homemakers like me who constitute the labour force who deserve a holiday from the kitchen, I said, stressing on the ‘me’ and ‘deserve’, and resumed reading the paper.
Needless to say, my words left my husband flabbergasted.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao