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Barabanki, U.P. – A new study published Monday by researchers at the Maha Bharatiya University (MBU), revealed that more and more Indian men are stressing about the mandated 21-day lockdown. “The quarantine period itself was a slow-motion nightmare. This could kill me,” reported Jai (last name withheld) who has also blogged about his concerns. 

The lockdown would only make things worse. It is the main reason why political leaders like Prime Minister Modi and President Trump have dragged their feet on imposing the dreaded curfew decree—hence the abbreviated 3-week trial period. We know why it’s three weeks and not more. Dr. Manav Banda, a prominent social psychologist, reminds us of the critical 3-week period that can help solidify a brand-new habit: “Want to cultivate a new habit to change your behaviour? Practice it for three weeks, and lock it in,” he says. In fact, as early as 1960, Maxwell Maltz, a cosmetic surgeon, reported that it took 21 days for amputees to stop feeling phantom limb pain.

This does not bode well. These three weeks will transform India’s men. 

The nation’s behavioural scientists too expressed worry that the lockdown could escalate into full-blown melancholia. It could force men against their better nature to actually help around the house. Jai had more to add: “These feminists are using the Corona virus to slowly effeminate and emasculate us.” He reported feeling a strange powerlessness that only prisoners of house arrest can attest to. In his Whatsapp group chat, Jai went on to sound the alert: 

The nation’s behavioural scientists too expressed worry that the lockdown could escalate into full-blown melancholia. It could force men against their better nature to actually help around the house. Jai had more to add: “These feminists are using the Corona virus to slowly effeminate and emasculate us.

Did your wife make extra trips to the grocery store for “shopping” last week? Did you “accidentally” get locked out of the house yesterday? Were this morning prayers extra aggressive? Do the pillows and cushions around the house bear fist-dents? Did you catch her mutter, “—better get COVID-19”? 

Beware the signs. This is only stage one. 

Mr. Singh, also from the same Whatsapp group, agreed with these grim symptoms of being housebound. He revealed something equally alarming:

I found scraps of cut-up aluminum foil in the waste basket. At first, I thought it was just pretty confetti. But then I wondered: why throw it in the trash? Two minutes later, I managed to catch this Facebook screen before my wife clicked it shut:

Another group-member (who wants to remain anonymous), told us that his wife’s consumption of murder mysteries and crime dramas on Netflix had escalated overnight. Armed with a few Sadhguru videos, he tried to do some damage control. He ordered an emergency intervention by gathering the family for 20 minutes of yoga and meditation. But his wife hijacked the last minutes of meditation to promote something called, “screaming” therapy. Making unblinking eye-contact with him, she snarled and hissed in his face for a good five minutes. This unnamed gentleman has now committed to making breakfast every day of the lockdown. 

Manu (name changed upon request) said he was especially dismayed when his sister showed him the text his own wife had sent her: It was a memed quote by South-African novelist Mr. Zakes Mda: “Men, on the other hand, tend to cloud their heads with vain pride. They sit all day and dispense wide-ranging philosophies on how things should be. Then at night they demand to be given food, as if the food just walked into the house on its own.” Since then Manu has started visiting the kitchen, doing the dishes, and even setting the table. 

Dr. Narasimha Mardana, co-author of the study which coined terms like “quaranxiety” and “menancholia”, noted that this could put a great deal of stress on the already-stretched masculinity infrastructure in the country.

Also read: Coronavirus And Our Callous Casteist Biases In India

We are seeing more and more men jumping to help their wives in the kitchen, tutoring the kids, cleaning the bathrooms. They are even caring for their own parents. The most powerful and macho men are cracking under this tremendous strain as can be seen in TikTok posts by Bollywood stars like Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn performing domestic chores. This is not good for the nation’s morale. It is not only affecting work productivity but more importantly, testosterone production. Poor sperm motility is another red flag. In fact, if this goes on for too long, it is in danger of irrevocably altering the nation’s character and DNA. 

Another study by the nation’s premier health institute, INCNIH shows that Dr. Mardana may be right. This could well be the beginning of a disturbing slippery slope. If men are forced to stay at home for too long, like Jai, they may start to become paranoid about impending female ferociousness. Being scared straight is not a viable state of being for anyone’s mental wellbeing, certainly not men’s. We cannot have a nation of cowed-down men even if the cow is our nation’s spiritual animal.

This could well be the beginning of a disturbing slippery slope. If men are forced to stay at home for too long, like Jai, they may start to become paranoid about impending female ferociousness. Being scared straight is not a viable state of being for anyone’s mental wellbeing, certainly not men’s.

This fear may lead them to unnecessarily (and some say, even prematurely) debase themselves by cooking, or cleaning, or dusting. Last week, two men in Sandila were recorded by a hidden camera mopping their living room floors and straightening cushions. Just yesterday, my own father thanked Mummyji’s hard work and service by clapping hard for five whole minutes. He says his carpal tunnel is now cured. 

What kind of example are these men setting for our sons? What’s next? Sensitive men who cry? Daddies who play ghar-ghar with their daughters? More dad-bods and less beefy hunks sporting hairless six-pack abs? The nation will rot to its core. This is why the 21-day lockdown is a critical test of who is fittest. We cannot let this manxiety that goes on to fuel a feminist coup, become the status quo. It could erode millennia of carefully-erected structures and traditions. The institution of marriage itself—the bedrock of our gender canon—is under visible threat. 

Also read: Coronavirus And A Panic Stricken World That Cares Little About Mental Health

On Baisakhi day, April 13, 2020, we will find out if the feminists have crushed our way of life, or if we have managed to stand firm, with or without baisakhis


Featured Image Source: ABC

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