There was a lot of noise in that room. There were more than a hundred babies there. Some were crying on top of their voices, the older ones were running and falling. Their mothers had a hard time taming them. Some mums looked frustrated and I was sure they were wondering if this was the deal they married for in the first place.
The fathers formed an all-male group in one corner, talking happily and drinking coffee. They did not bother even to look behind them to find out if their wives were coping with the children. The dads were in a party of their own while the group of mums were fighting with the army of their own children.
This was an open day for babies to have a free check-up for measles and other ailments. The nurses and doctors, I noticed, were all females. They helped with the chasing around. One of the oldest doctors even decided to give away free sweets to the older children to keep them quiet.
I took my mobile phone to take a few photos of the whole scenario. I wanted that rare situation to last for a long time in my mind. Where else would you find a hundred babies under one roof with their mums and over 30 nurses and doctors? For me, it was not an ordinary setup either.
The men were completely out of it though they were in the same room. All of them never knew each other until that day.
They were brought together by their babies and I am sure they started a new friendship right there and then. I could not count how many of the babies were males.
When it was all over and time to leave, the men headed straight to their cars and not bothered to pick up their babies.
They chose to wait for them in the parking while their wives picked up the toys, medicines and the babies. In 15 minutes, the hall was empty and it was left for the nurses to pick up the mess they left behind.
I could not help walking to one of the doctors and share what I saw there. I particularly mentioned about the fathers’ behaviour during the check-up. She shrugged her shoulders and said “it was always like that” that men choose not to get involved in “these situations.”
She found it interesting that, as a man, I asked the question. Before she could ask a question that would force me to defend myself, I left the hall. I knew already what she was going to ask. The question would have been if I could have done differently if I was one of the men.
Later that evening, I showed the photos I caught on my mobile camera to my wife. I also explained the situation. She rolled her eyes and said,” what’s new? Tell me something I don’t know.”
I magnified the photos of the babies close to the camera. I wondered, as I was looking at their little faces, how would they grow up to be? Again, without siding with mothers, I found myself debating with myself the most important question of all the ages. What kind of a person a child would grow up to be if it is raised by just a father without a woman’s intervention?
This time, I decided to involve my wife with the debate. I wish I had not. Her answer was not in a couple of sentences. It was a long and winding explanation accusing men of all kinds of misdemeanours. I gave up and switched on the television but somewhere in the back of my mind, I know she was absolutely right.