Sorry we are a little late, aren’t you already used to us being a late by now? Thing is we put in a lot of effort for a special date, hence the delay. And this, you bet, was indeed an extra ordinary date – 19 November, International Men’s Day, a day that allows us to acknowledge all the wonderful men who have contributed to make this world a better place.
Sorry, that we often underrate you, discount your sensitivity, and hold each one of you responsible for the misogyny demonstrated by a handful. Sorry for making generalizations – the kind we wouldn’t ever have on ourselves. We didn’t really mean when we declared “All men are the same” following every heartbreak or cursed saying “all men are bastards” each time a man whistled at us. We were overpowered by emotions, a little scared of the darkness of 7 PM, and all the evils we were warned against.
But we detach ourselves from the perception based on the actions of a few, because know we there’s a 4 year old brother saving a share of his chocolate in the freezer for his newborn sister to eat when she is allowed solid food. We admire the teen lover who accompanies his sweetheart to tuition every evening after college, and walks her back till the turn of her neighbourhood. There’s a graveyard on the way, the girl said she was too scared to walk past it alone. Great is the father who, despite having planned differently, broke his PF to provide for his daughter’s education. “I don’t want the gold set for my wedding, I want an MBA degree, papa.” she urged. The husband who cooked dinner, “Mom has a project delivery next Monday, she’s gonna be late this entire week”, he said while putting the children to bed, we appreciate him. We hail the son who threw back his father and thundered, “enough now! This should be the last time you raised that hand on maa.”
Such a shame, we have overlooked these men for the longest time. Today we will celebrate the 22 year old Arjun Das who died heroically protecting his sis-in-law’s honor, the 26 year old Rahul from Nagpur who lost his life fighting his cousin’s molesters, and many others we tend to forget, for our minds are saturated with the harrowing images of rapists and killers we read about all day. For every wrong man, we ignore that there are thousands who have compensated; the likes of Raja Ram Mohan Roy who abolished the Sati Pratha, and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who introduced widow remarriages, are still amongst us, surrounding us.
I extend my gratitude to the manager who recognizes my potential and disregards my gender, those men who graciously offered me to stand ahead of them in the long queues during demonetization, those who generously stood up on the bus so I – mercilessly sandwiched in the crowd – could sit, the security guard of my building who helps me carry the heavy grocery bags to the elevator, runs to the kirana shop when I run out of eggs for breakfast, “You don’t go madamji, it’s time for all construction workers to assemble near the pan shop and smoke bidi, they will stare at you. I’ll get you eggs and bread.” he says, all worked up. He doesn’t know I am capable enough to brave a few glares; he tries to keep the 501 wali Madamji safe, and he is sweet in his innocent gesture of gallantry.
You are present in every woman’s life in one form or another. You assure us, chivalry is not dead, not yet. You are holding the doors, pulling the chairs, opening the cars, loosening the corks of jammed pickle jars in silence, don’t think we are oblivious of your presence. Here’s to all of you, for all that you do. Hope you had a happy International Men’s day. Cheers!!!