This post is not intended to be inspired by arrogance. In case it may seem so, I offer my deep apologies for the same.
When I returned after living ‘outside’ for over a year, I felt myself feel a paradox around the idea of chivalrous men.
Men, in general, hold the door for you: and this, whether or not they know you, whether or not you are the center of their date night, whether or not they want to impress you. It just seems like the right thing to do and they do it. Their gesture makes you feel warm inside, and you smile with a twinkle in your eye.
A similar thing happened to me this evening, when I went I was leaving a local eatery and the man who was entering at the same time, decided to hold the door for me and my mother. I smiled at him with the same twinkle-in-my-eye expression and was about to say ‘thank you’ until he exclaimed he was not the security guard! Oh well! I thought I was just returning the courtesy!
When I was ‘there’, I often noticed men taking the passenger seat in a car to let the women drive. Whether the woman was his wife, girlfriend, mother, friend or colleague is an analysis for another day. But there didn’t seem to be much attention to the sex of the person behind the wheel. ‘Here’, even some of my male friends pass a derogatory remark when they see a girl driving the vehicle. At the end of the day, its an operating machine which needs to be ‘manned’.
When I was ‘there’, it was most polite, decent and commonplace for the men of the house to trash the day’s garbage in the unit’s garbage room , at the end of everyday. Here, if my mother was to tell my father this (I don’t think she would!) my grandparents’ generation might throw a major fit. Well, if you ask me, its a bag of waste which was gathered from collective use and who throws it is not relevant because its not like the germs differ their contaminating powers based on race and gender.
Today, I’ve touched the one month mark of being back in my city of birth, and I still notice points of differences everyday. These are questions that I didn't raise in the first 20 years of my life because I didn't think there was another side to this coin. It was only when I dropped the coin and it landed on the other side, did I realize that there is more to this than meets the eye!