The Mother and the Ladies

They were in love. I could see that in the pink flower placed neatly in her wavy hair and in the matching colour scheme both of them wore to the early-morning session. Together they seemed carefully crafted to be framed but not to be posted on social media, lest love be robbed of itself. Certainly, they, unlike those who don’t believe in the institution altogether, would say yes to the idea of marriage. After all, they were holding hands, an unconscious gesture that seemed too appropriate to be inappropriate after celebrating 25 years of marriage and parenting two lovely children.

Good Morning, Madam. Good Morning, Gentleman. How may I help you today?

“Good Morning. It is about my son. He is 20. I am not liking the way he looks at ladies. The way he looks at the helpers at our home and when we go to restaurants to eat, the way he looks at the ladies around. It is disturbing.” The lady was disturbed by her own words. Her husband affectionately handed her a bottle of mineral water.

Isn’t this natural?

“My husband and I thought so at first, but it is not only about staring at ladies. It is about where he focusses, where his eyes go, and how he does that. Last week, we were in a temple in South India and the ladies were standing on one side and the men on the other side. After all, a temple. There also! It was embarrassing for both of us.” She exhaled. The empty water bottle made a crumbling sound.

She wasn’t ready to buy a well-defended social construct. This mother is a ray of hope in a world where toxic masculinity is celebrated at the expense of the dignity of not only women but also countless men who aren’t perceived as “man enough” or refuse to “man up.”

Hope, nonetheless.

After a long, heartfelt discussion, they left holding each other’s hands.

Love, truly.

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