Mumbai: It is five to eight in the morning. With the school bus due any minute, the atmosphere in the house can be best described as chaotic. One of the kids calls out to his dad asking if he has seen a missing blue sock. He can’t join the search as he is busy force feeding breakfast to his daughter. Scenes like this are no longer that uncommon as the concept of a house husband is becoming a reality.
David Beckham, who retired after an illustrious career in football last year, claims he’s loving his new job that of a house husband. As Victoria Beckham is busy designing and modelling, David takes care of the kids and the needs of the family at home. “I’ve been lucky, I’ve always been able to take the boys to school in the mornings and pick them up and make them dinner and things like that. I’m always in the car. I’m kind of like a driver at the moment,” the footballer had said.
Not only in the West but in our country too, with more women pursuing their ambitions vigorously, men have started taking over the household. One prominent ‘house husband’ who doesn’t mind his designation is popular writer Chetan Bhagat. Married to Anusha, the COO of a bank, he had quit his job and moved to India before he became famous as a writer. He had gone on record that, “I wait for the kids to come back from school. It is a joy to see your kids grow up and I am one of the few lucky men who get to witness it.”
Muralikrishnan, 27, an artist from Kerala, explains how he too is nowadays home-based. “My wife Sowmya, works in the IT industry and has been financially supporting the family for two years now. I have always wanted to make a living off art and it was a collective decision to quit my BPO job. I have had a few people scorn at me, but as long as I know I’m taking care of my child and not leaving him at a day-care, I really don’t care.”
In a patriarchal system like ours, it can be difficult for a house husband. “Only a man comfortable with his own masculinity can ignore what other people talk about him and do the right thing. Household skills are not gender based. Similarly when it comes to making a career decision, partners should encourage the one with better career prospects to go ahead, if and when a sacrifice becomes a necessity,” opines marriage counsellor Rajani.
One of the main problems regarding the gender roles in a marriage is the mindset of the men. “Traditionally men were hunters while women took care of the home. Now everyone is hunting,” says lyricist Madan Karky who is married to subtitles editor Nandhini and is more than happy with running the home and taking care of their child whenever required.
Theatre artist and actor ‘Evam’ Karthik who is married to playback singer Suchitra says, “The macho ideals have been encoded into our systems. But it’s changing.” Karthik has this to say about his equation with wife Suchitra, “In the seven years of our marriage she has had a far more successful career than mine and I have joyously accepted that. Neither of us has any qualms about taking care of things at home.”
Salar Mohamed Bijili from Bengaluru continued his studies after marriage and moved to Bengaluru where his wife worked. “I was dependent on her but she was very co-operative,” says Salar who shares the household work and takes care of Tanisha, their three-year old child. “Now I’m into my second experiment — a consulting firm with zero savings,” he laughs. He knows he has the support of his wife to chase his dreams and he knows it’s not something everyone enjoys.