I was late in reading the newspaper today. Hence, I hadn’t yet read the item regarding the idea mooted by Women and Child development and supported by the government for husbands to share a part of their salaries with the wives for “services provided”. Hence, I wasn’t prepared for her response when after the breakfast I simply said, “Thank you; the poha was great.” She looked me straight in the eye and said, with her new-born confidence fortified by the WCD, which could have been WMD in this case, “That would be Rupees Two Hundred and Fifteen; the tea is on the house.”

It is only when I reached the office and glanced at the TOI that the true import of what she said hit me like a wet towel. Now that she too is going to be salaried, it won’t be far-fetched if she maintains a full account of all the services provided by her to me and the family and make me pay for them. Fortunately, I am old now and she often has headache; else, I won’t have been able to afford those bedtime luxuries.I would also have to be careful about inviting friends home; it might just be cheaper to take them to the wayside ‘Bar and Restaurant’ where “ready snakes are available” on 24/7 basis.

Musing about this I also reached the conclusion that this can work both ways; I can now demand better service since I shall be paying for it. Bye, bye, cold meals and hot wife if I turn up late. I am wondering if I can also approach the Consumer Court for those occasions when in her annoyance she bangs the crockery and cutlery and the meal on the table. More than anything else, I wonder if I can seek income tax rebate on such items that I do out of sheer chivalry, which would now be covered under charity and grants.

How do we work out remuneration for common tasks that we both do and tasks that I do for her. For example, I can’t be paying for the lunch if I had to go to the mall for vegetable shopping. What about bringing up children and dropping them at school? Will a wife have to share some part of her “salary” or “profits” for these common tasks? How much leave will she deserve under the Wives Domestic Employment Rules, which are bound to be decided in the parliament when they meet next after the Coal Break? Do I have to pay for the maid-servant, dhobi, sweeper etc or is she expected to pay them through her “salary”? What would be the perks involved with the job?

I can see one very good fallout of the proposal by WCD: when the boy’s family makes their unavoidable dowry demand, the girl’s family can come around and say that the former, indeed, owes them monies; ie, her services for so many years minus the dowry demand.

However, my mind was working overtime: will Lyn and I be called DINKs now that she would be earning too and both the kids are settled independently. Will I be responsible for paying increments?

I have lived most of my life, but, I can imagine the plight of the young husbands paying for the delivery of their children and for utilising the services of the mother-in-law during her pregnancy.

Just then the phone rang and it was she on the phone, “I will give you a free advice (thank God, I thought, something is still ‘free‘), don’t waste your time thinking of how much you owe me for having married a dumbo like you; you will never be able to pay.”

How to tell her that is something any husband pays through his nose?

© 2012 – 2013, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.

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  1. What a delightful post! When I first read about the proposed salary, I was thinking how worse can it get. After talking to some people, I realise that the proposal for a salary is not all that bad. Money is always welcome but as the Citibak as says, Certain things cannot be bought with money and are priceless. I wonder if the salary comes with perks as well!

    Joy always,

  2. What a fine comment and how, in a few words, you have described it better in your comment than the entire article.

    Thank you, Susan. What husband and wife so for each other is priceless. I know for sure I can never even hope to repay everything Lyn does for me.

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