Friday, July 24, 2009

Diaper Generation

There was a time when marrying your daughter off to an officer from State Bank of India was a cool thing. The father of the bride would buy things that the new couple would immediately need. They buy a grinder, mixie, couple of beds and a cot - and carry all this to their daughter's new home. The girl would become pregnant in a few months and come back to her parents house for delivering the baby in 7-8 months. Being a man was cool then. You saw your wife leave the afternoon of the seemandham and you start goofing of with your manager's receptionist the next day morning. The wife on the other hand gets a break from doing work and would lounge around in her parent's house whiling away time and watching her mom do all the work for her. The baby is born, a telegram is sent to the father, who goes and distributes sweets to his manager. The baby then pees and poops all over the red-oxide floor. The only thing that saves the red-oxide floor from more poop are the grand father's old veshtis.

Old veshtis were diapers then.

They tore it off in small pieces, tied it around the baby's "arana kayaru" and washed 50 such pieces every 2 weeks. The mom sleeps inside a mosquito net, gets up only to feed the baby and sleeps for most of the time. The grandma cleans the baby poop, changes diapers, cooks, gives thatha 'filter kaapee', does kulimurai, applies oil & seekai podi and buys 'nai kaasu'. The baby is stabilized, brought to normal sleeping condition in 3 months and when the dad gets to see the baby, he is blissfully unaware of all the baby poop under the redoxide floor. He won't see it ever and won't even know how the underside of the baby looks like. The mom has no mental problems and depressions. She is ready to send her kid to IIT classes and Srimathi Maa'm classes.

Then the thamizhan migrated to amerikka and became a saaftwear engineer mapillai.

Just like there are ABCDs there are also DCBAs - Desis Confused By Americans. These are proto-typical Bay Area migrants who have delusionally bought into the white man's life style. They put photo frame's of their wife and their wedding photos in their office, go on camping trips, buy mulch and worry about 'Green Bay Packers'. The last 10 years have seen a dramatic change in the desi man's involvement around pregnancies and babies. It is the complete opposite of the SBI officer situation. The other extreme. The man still invites the girl's parents to stay with him and to assist during the pregnancy. However, his wife ignores her mom's advise, goes to pregnancy classes, breast feeding classes, postpartum depression prevention classes, and prenatal yoga classes. The white man does it because there is nobody to help and his in-laws won't come even if he paid for the tickets. And the desi man wastes $300 for these classes 'just in case', accompanies his wife for all these painfully boring classes (this gets a separate post) and then finally follows his wife right down into the labor ward.

He is actually present when the baby is born.

This very act of participation is a symbolic show to the world that he is different from his rude, male chauvinistic, and barbaric ancestors. The man wants to be involved now. He has no choice. This is the definition of 'normal' now. Sun rises in the east, gravity pulls the apples down, man has to go to the labor ward. Its a religion unto itself, you don't question 'why' you just do it. All this has became so in the last 10 years. If you don't believe it - try saying 'no' to the labor-ward thing and you'll find out.

Diaper Fever, Obsession and Love

The man waits like a predator for the baby to be born. He crouches and is ready to leap. Moments after the baby is the born the man leaps, captures the baby, cuts the umbilical cord lining (signifying the importance of his participation) and proceeds to do the most vital thing he will ever do all his life - change the diaper. The man wants to change the diaper. He needs to. He has to. He pines to. He longs to. He desires to. Cleaning baby poop is a priority for him. It is all that he wants to do. He has been waiting 10 months to do this. It is the new code. It is a burning desire more potent than the desire to email pictures of alien-looking-new-born-soaked-in-blood sitting on a ghastly looking mom (the ugliest she has looked her entire life) to his entire corporate organization. More important than the desire to post ultra-sound pictures on Facebook. The grandma can go an entire pregnancy without changing the diaper. The mom can go an entire pregnancy without changing the diaper. But the man cannot.

If aliens were observing social patterns of earthlings, their report would read something like this - the younglings discard waste products from their intestines, which are emitted out through fissures on the back of their bodies. Curiously the male's social standing among other human beings is determined by how many times, how quickly and how desirously he cleans the youngling's intestinal discard. Cleaning the backside of younglings and removing intestinal waste with passion and love shows that the male is progressive, sensitive, caring and responsible.

In continuation with the theme that the default standard in the modern desi world has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. A person who is not appropriately tuned in can come for a rude shock. Changing diapers, celebrating fathers day, mothers day, first-onnukku day, and poopy day are the societal norms that need to be followed to preserve an appearance of being normal. Baby names have to get smaller and shrink to the point of becoming olden day police constable like serial numbers such as A1, C108 - so that the arbit white man who stops to say hello to the baby in 'wal-mart' can pronounce it without difficulty. If you forget to follow any one of these you are "not normal" "strange" and "difficult".

The rise of the diapers

The man has to use his parental leave (imagine this - pregnancy leave for men!???) and hang around the house. Even if he has his 'maamiyar' around to do most of the work, he has to hang around. Even if there is no work to do around the house - he has to hang around. While it is civil to buy tickets for maamiyar and ask her help, the desi society considers the man barbaric if he lets the maamiyar do all the work. There might be an army of 2000 people he could have paid for and brought them to United States to help with the pregnancy. However, the correct protocol for him to is tell the entire army of 2000 people that (a) they don't know anything, (b) they are in violation of modern science methodologies and (c) proceed to do all the work himself.

Even if he has nothing to contribute (the baby wants to eat, he has no part to play here), he has to get up in the middle of the night, stay awake and hang around the mom. Because if she is "suffering" it is considered good courtesy and acceptable normal behavior for him to suffer alongside. A person who refuses to do any of this is considered chauvinistic, barbaric, cruel, regressive and of course a wife-beating cave man. The word gets out soon. People ask each other details. Its like a hygene test. They ask "how many diapers does the father clean? How much work does he do around the house? ya..ya.. I know your parents are here and they do all the work but what does he do? It is what he does that is important?" A man who has cleaned zero diapers is an outcast. Other women won't let their husbands talk to this Neanderthal, lest they be corrupted by such evil and negative influence.

Diapers are everything. The smellier they are the more their importance. More than ever before cleaning disgusting, ugly, smelly shit has become the most romantic, caring, sensitive and important act a man can ever do. Diapers control things that are larger than poop. They control the man's status in the society. The baby poops and fills up these paper products unknowing of the consequences of that action and the tension surrounding things that what their bodies don't want. This is diaper generation. You pick up the wipes and start cleaning or you are permanently cut out of society.

50 comments:

Arksantos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arksantos said...

I want a job in SBI. I will work for free. :)

Hawkeye said...

its my dream job. not that easy to get.

Anonymous said...

Thank god for people like you. Otherwise it is scary to live amongst the 'aatu mandhai'.

Deivamee.... u rule.

vicky said...

Hawkeye, Some men should consider themselves lucky if they are only changing diapers..luckily they are not married to the type (read 'Berkley moms') who believe in cloth diapering,
co-sleeping type of thing. Luckily they are also not married to the type who think everyone must do their thing for the environment blah blah...

Hari N Iyer said...

brilliant post sir .. kalakitenga ...

Sriram said...

Message from Akyutesh:

SBI thatha vaazhgha!

indha post rejected. naa idha othuka maaten!


:)

Arvind said...

Hawk, really good observation about the way the current generation works! :) Our dads had it easy!
Have you escaped other baby activities such as bathing the baby, putting the baby to sleep etc.?
Except for delivery and breast feeding (the two things that mother nature decided men were exempt from), it appears everything else should be equally shared.

Shrinath said...

I think you meant stereotypical, not proto-typical. Sorry about being a grammar Nazi :)

Lone Crusader said...

haakai, pondatti permission vaangittu thana indha post ezhudina? :-P

MLC said...

yellaam pona jenmathule neenga vaangina saabam ungala indha jenmathule ippadi vaatudhu!:-p

ms said...

hi hawkeye! i am so glad i found this site. you write well. and what about the DCBA habit of holding barbeques in sweltering summer heat because that's what his amreekan friends are doing? every indian knows that to huddle around a fire is a winter thing! all my colleagues were amazed when i invited them for a barby in winter! nothing like a cold beer around a sizzling barbeque!

deinonychus said...

The Emperor Strikes Back!! Fantastic post...

tamilcinema said...

Add Your Blog in Tamilers.com

Raj said...

Ha, those were the days, Hawkeye, when men were men and could stare women in the eye. Amrikans have spoilt it all for us. If only their grandfathers had worn veshtis, like ours sensibly did.....

Destination Infinity said...

That was a good one... Just imagine the plight of men whose wives are working! and the mamiyar is far away! It could be worser Hawkeye, you are trifle luckier in the relative sense ;-)

Destination Infinity

Suchitra said...

Quoting you,

"He got employed because he failed to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a house husband."

I rest my case.

Idling in Top Gear said...

I dunno if DCBAism is limited to the shores of the US. Even in Mylapore and Mambalam these days, shades of Massachusetts liberalism peak out. I honestly believe (from observation) upper middle class wives (under the age of 30) in Chennai today demand pretty much everything their NRI friends do. The only difference is all those cost 4x (PPP-wise) what they do in Cupertino, CA.

sundar said...

@Arksantos:
A gem of a statement!

Kokki Kumarru said...

Mass katitinga!!

Sreekrishnan said...

"She is ready to send her kid to IIT classes and Srimathi Maa'm classes."
was a classic ... rest feels like "Curious case of SBI Manager" [or a S/w Enn]!

Kalyanamey Vendam pola irukku !

Extra-Ordinarily Ordinary said...

Many more happy returns of the day. Have a great year on and off the blog.

Renu said...

Thata's have moved on to shorts and so there is a shortage of veshtis at home..

Alan Smithee said...

You flatter me again.

Ravi said...

Congratulations!!
Is it a boy or girl?

Valli Doll said...

Inspite of all this you get to play cricket too ;)

Anonymous said...

Whats the ladai you have with your dad? Are you jealous that he dint change diapers for you (when you were young)?

achupichu said...

@ Anon - "Whats the ladai you have with your dad? Are you jealous that he dint change diapers for you (when you were young)?" - Lol!

@ Hawkeye - How come I am never inspired to write about simple things like diapers? Eppadiba ippadi ellam yosikkira?

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Anonymous said...

After Onion, its the turn for vellai poondu.. enjoy O'Brahmin!

Anon5 said...

I feel sorry for your wife.

padma said...

I enjoyed reading it.. fun and true to every word..
I wonder what made you to write this.. may be personal experience!!
Well done..

Prakash said...

hahaha. had a nice long laugh after a long time. :)

Shashi said...

Hah! I had a good laugh Hawkeye :))
I know two of my married cousins, who have similar experiences :P :))

Raghu said...

Funny read Hawkeye...espec the 'onnukku day' 'poop day'. Scary to think even M'pore lifestyle has chged to DCBA life-ishtyle...!!

Bet there's more to follow on related topics...keep the humor flowing....we can atleast laugh abt it if not for anything else !!

Shorts-wearing SBI maamaas ulagam vaazhga...!!

ms said...

hey, where are you? long time no write!

Hawkeye said...

anon,

danks.

vicky,

i think our komanam clad ancestors had the most respect for the environment.

hari,

nandri,

sriram,

:-)

arvind,

i've escaped it so far. baby gets oil-bathed in indian style by maamiyar. i think they key is whoever you call for support from india (a) must be capable of doing ultra hard work and (b) must be not be stopped from doing the hard work by arva-kolaru parents :-)

shrinath,

my grammar is the worstu. im generally happy that my posts aren't graded.

lone crusader,

enakku bayam ellam onnum illai..only fear.

MLC,

pona jenmathula senja punniyam

ms,

i generally hate barbeque. too much work.

deinon,

nandri

raj,

agree :-). multi functional gadgets such as veshti as diaper and saree as thooli shows that indians were pioneers in the art of reusable object oriented thinking.

Hawkeye said...

destination,

agree :-). the scope of the post is those men who insist on doing such things even when they are relatively well-off as far as family disposition is concerned. thereby needlessly creating an impression that this should be a norm.


suchitra,

i cleverly did not define 'house husband' :-)

Idling,

yes. men are losing in the larger scheme of things.

kokki,

nandri

sreekrishnan,

if you don't change diapers, your case will be so curious that national geographic will cover you.

LKS,

nandri hai

renu,

this explains why this phenomena has spread to mylai.


alan,

like i said.. didnt intend to flatter you :-).


ravi,

nandri. girl.

valli,

the only game i missed happened on delivery day :-)

anon,

he did change diapers. my 'ladai' is on the jealousy that he didnt have to.

achupichu,

theriyaliyee...

anon5,

adhaavadhu supriaarity kaamplex. you have something superior going on and she doesn't. so you feel sorry.

enna patru..enna patru

padma,

i had 11 friends have babies in the same time frame. after it finished raining babies i was the only one who ended up not being diaper-wet.

prakash,

daanks

shashi & raghu,

thanks :-)

Anonymous said...

This is one of the funny articles I have read but let’s not kid ourselves, this article is meant to humorous. Please don’t try to add more meaning or depth into it.
The blogger makes it sound as if the old ways are always better than new ones. In this age, when women (all women should be financially independent) work outside the house why can’t men work in the house? There is absolutely nothing wrong in being actively involved in the child’s upbringing. If I remember the old ways, the “Fathers” practically ignored the child all through the child’s life except when it comes to marriage alliances and during his own retirement when he knows that the son decides the old age home. All they did was, berate the child constantly. I’m very sure there were exceptions but I’m also sure these were the fathers who were involved with the child in the early stages of his or her life. Blogger also mentioned that we were becoming westernized or americanized but he forgot to mention the other ways we are westernized now. Ways that makes their life easier but not necessarily women’s. Men (and women) want to talk (know) to the girl before marrying her, some want Girls who can contribute financially to the household(also bring a dowry), they want a wedding reception all clad in western wear. Come on, give me a break… don’t accept changes when it suits men and be condescending when it suits women.
Oh by the way, my husband was outside the delivery room when I had my children. He did not want to be there because he was not sure how he will handle the experience and I did not want him to be there because I wanted my doctor to be focused on me and not on my fainted husband. So it worked out. He is a great father in his late forties and is friend, support and guide to both of them. I mention his age because I do not want you all to think he young, preppy, very westernized Indian man. He is normal man who rises to the occasion whether situation warrants it or not because these are his children. He is not going to let others do all the dirty work for him.
I appreciate every spouse that wants to be a part of this experience and hope they continue to be present emotionally and financially for their kids as they grow up. As for Lamaze classes, I know from first hand experience that it makes the contractions less painful if you know how to breathe.

Hawkeye said...

man.. feminists are boring.

Anonymous said...

Ayyo kadasi anonymous,

I am so feeling by your comment that I feel like puking.
Thaangala. If I become god, i will first recall all these boring revathi/suhasini types women from India.

Sowmya said...

all women should be financially independent

If there is something more irritating than feminists, it feminists trying to put one over other women.

Nobody needs to be anything. Stop trying to act as if you are waaay superior in thought and quality than women who choose not to work.

And then you will go on to show sympathy and fake care for such women as if you care about them more than they care about themselves.

Now, I clearly get where this hawkie is coming from when he said this

A person who refuses to do any of this is considered chauvinistic, barbaric, cruel, regressive and of course a wife-beating cave man

its friggin' bay area maamis who are capable of causing all this.

- Sowmya

Anonymous said...

awesome post man, keep it coming

raju said...

Excellent post. Only one point. An SBI man fathering a kid is an acheivement in itself!Just look around you.

And what are/were you doing in the Bank other than cleaning up someone else's poop?

Raghu Sharma said...

"He is actually present when the baby is born." Well, the line which reads - "The man wanted to show involvement"- Perhaps, i reckon that this generation still to be offensive and people are still trying to take all men to task for the old mistakes made b the chauvinists :-)/ Good observations of diaper handling :-)
Cheers
Raghu Sharma
http://raghuism.com

Amol Naik said...

Fantastic post! Boy you've hit the right chords with the desi confused about American life-style! And quite marvelously, you have stayed unbiased and non-conclusive.

Anyway...good to come across your blog...waiting it to read more of this stuff..

Sridhar visvanath said...

Even though nothing that you have mentioned is new...it is fun to read ur long post...

i love this
"The man wants to change the diaper. He needs to. He has to. He pines to. He longs to. He desires to."

My thaatha, maama, manni are all ex SBI officers...I did a retired SBI officer character (almost aping my thatha" in Indus creations "London express" in Bellevue...I was actually planning to invite so that u can blog about it honestly...but forgot...or did not know to reach u...)
my appa was different however...he is from IOB....

my dream job too...:-)

Hawkeye said...

sridhar,

did we meet in vatsan/nimmy's house?

Anonymous said...

this is a hilarious post...I so enjoyed it...eppadi ippadi?

--Saranya
PS:read somewhere abt Maayavaram....neenga mayavaram aa?

shail said...

Glad to know that it finally registered! :))))
I am looking forward to be a grandma in the near future (not particularly though) but if the new parents expect that as the grandma I am some poop cleaning, cooking help, they have another thing coming! "You together created, now you together very well clean the mess!!" is what this mom/mil says. I am here to smell, play with and enjoy the clean looking delightful grandchild.Lol.
Nice read, though a bit repetitive with the poop diaper bit. But I get the point. Haha and it makes me so damn happy to see the way things are moving.