In my previous post, I wrote about the many challenges, frustrations and humiliations that we, the disabled population of India, face. But we are not the only ones who are victims of insensitivity. Our spouses and children also have to tolerate humiliating situations on a regular basis. A large section of our society has a regressive, repulsive attitude towards them. You will be shocked, annoyed and even amused when I tell you about the questions they have to field every day. Their answers, though, rock!
1. How do you guys do "it"?
My wife gets this one a lot. You might think that this question comes from close friends or people who know her well. Think again! This comes from every Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, Elizabeth and Mary she meets. This, in fact, is the most frequent question that she gets asked. Most of the time, we answer together and tell them, "We'd love to show you! Can you come over tonight? Bring some popcorn!" That usually serves the purpose. But there are a few who come back with the same question the next day. And believe me, these are educated people who work at top-notch corporations and actually manage teams. So there goes the "education brings maturity" theory right out the window.
"Everyone is upset that while they have husbands who look like Arabian stallions, she is stuck with me."
2. Madam, I am here to help you in "any" way, want my number?
This one has sprung from the lips of a shocking variety of people, from the plumber to the guy delivering pizza to our place. I am sure I don't have to explain this question any further. Her response: "Yes, give me your number, I will need to complain to the police of obscenity and harassment." They all scurry away after that! Like mice!
3. Aren't you worried about your security?
This one is a by-product of the mindset that the husband should double up as some sort of commando when he's around his wife. So, when the husband in question is not able-bodied, it is a universe-ending, no-return, dark situation for the wife. For this, she simply says "Well, we don't play Minister-Guard at home, we are married to each other, and that means we complement each other. When he needs support, I am there and when I need it, he is there. Security is state of mind that comes from self confidence and not from the muscularity of your husband's physique." Again, they just keep asking this question over and over and over. We are thinking of recorded responses now, seriously!
4. Does your kid miss having a strong dad?
The perception here is that I cannot run and play with him. I can't take him out to the playground. I cannot take him on a bike ride or carry him in my arms. This one, my son loves to answer. He just says "My Dad makes me strong, he does not believe in supervising me, he is my hero. He can talk to Barack Obama on Twitter! Can uncle do that?"
Do you feel bad when you go out with him?
This one is full of pity and "support" for my wife for having made the supreme sacrifice of marrying me. Everyone is upset that while they have husbands who look like Arabian stallions, she is stuck with me. I really love the people that say this, I do! Her reply: "What happens if your hubby is in an accident and loses mobility? You'll leave him for another stallion?" And that has its effect, almost immediately!
5. Why is your dad sitting all the time?
His reply: "He is so tall that if he stands up, you can't see him!"
6. What will you do if there is a fire or an earthquake?
I don't think anyone in our country has a proper answer for that one, including me!
There are so many more such questions that we get, but that would make this a book and not a post. I just hope that we as a country just grow up soon. I am waiting for that day, with my wife and son.