It’s an irritatingly hot Sunday and I decided not to leave the house for a myriad of reasons, other than the weather. Sorry, Mamita and Nanad! At first it was just my malas mandi, then, it was the period pain, and then, I sat up all day in bed, reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
Now, if you’ve read the book, you’d know that it’s a total pageturner and a very worthy one at that! So, no one can blame me for not wanting to go out because the question of putting the book down never even crossed my mind.
Reading the book takes me back to the few long hours I spent at Abu Dhabi Airport late 2007. We were there waiting to board our plane to UK. It was a long wait, which would have made me tear my hair out of their sockets but it was okay since we were all sleepy and had managed to get some seats.
Now, since there were only 3 seats, my dad and brother took it upon themselves to go do something else which didn’t involve the act of sitting down since there weren’t enough seats and they obviously didn’t want the female in their family to be the ones standing.
In between waiting and trying to get some sleep, I observed alot of things about the men from the Middle East. How disgustingly high they regard their patriarchal roles and how wrong it was the way they seem to have implemented it on their womenfolk.
They let their women find seats, on which they sit on. Their wives would run and get them food and they receive it like some lord without so much of a word of Thank You, much less gratitude or even an appreciative glance. While all this is happening, they would be talking to the other men present with them, bellowing unnecessarily, with their protruding bellies and gatal looks they would cast on women other than their own wives.
And all the while, their wives stand idly beside them, fully covered in a burqa.
And oh, guess what? When they smoked, they let the cigarette smoke fly in the direction of their wives FACES as if their wives were just one and the same as the beautiful pillars which bore ashtrays in the Airport.
You see, men are undoubtedly granted with what Allah clearly mentioned are their rights to their wives. But what (some) men fail to see is that those rights come with responsibility. Oh, wait. It comes with RESPONSIBILITES, mind you.
And I know I sound very the feminist, and maybe I am. I strongly believe in the role of women in the society; of what they can and cannot do. But that does not make me radical at all because I still do believe in the traditional role of a mother, of a father, of a brother, as I have been brought up in a household which teaches these values.
Whatever it is, I hope that the men in Malaysia will not turn out to be the violent type who would make their wives eat pebbles just because the qurma served was lacking in salt. I know you have a right to demand that your wife serve you well, but you also have a (huge) responsibility of not hurting her and giving her a life which would not cause her mudarat.