Muscat: Two years back when COVID-19 hit the country, many companies had to retrench a sizeable segment of their staff to stay afloat amid reduced revenue and low volume of sales. That saw a lot of men, mostly Indian white-collar, lose their jobs. This has given rise to a new trend of ‘house-husbands’.
Joseph Manakkad, an employee of an automobile agency, was on a good wicket with his wife also employed in the private sector, as an executive secretary. But that ended in 2020, when he was served a notice by his employer, terminating his employment contract.
“We knew when office remained closed for about a month in April 2020 that our jobs were at stake and heads would roll. But it was the suddenness of the decision that took us by shock, especially for those whose children were in school finals. My son was in Grade 10 then and my wife and I decided that she would continue working in Oman.” Fortunately for Joseph, his wife’s job was secure enough to get their son onto her visa. “After few months’ holiday in my native town of Idukki, Kerala, I was back in Oman on my wife’s visa, and life has been good ever since.
“I don’t have the stress and pressure of job, which was taking a heavy toll on my health. We have moved from a two-bedroom flat to a one-bedroom flat, but the difference is that our life is much happier now. I had always enjoyed cooking and watching movies and live matches. I am now living the life that my ex-colleagues would be jealous of.”
Most families like Joseph’s, where the wife’s job was not at stake, decided not to relocate permanently when the man of the house lost the job in the pandemic.
Quiet and peaceful Oman
Krishnan Eashwaran, now 60, had been working in Oman for the last 26 years when he was told that his contract was not going to be renewed in 2020. “My son and daughter are well settled and stay outside Oman. Ideally, I could have gone back to India but I love Oman where life is peaceful with no pollution and no loud noises, unlike in India. My wife and I decided to stay in Oman, where I am now on a family-joining visa from her company.
My gratuity amount is split into fixed deposits in banks back in India, and my finances are being managed by a consultant.” Krishnan’s wife is employed as a private secretary to the Managing Director in a private firm.
The bug to stay in Oman has bitten even those who have retired from services, like in the case of Arjun Mitra. Mitra retired from service six months ago, having turned 60, but his wife who is working as a teacher in a private school is still in service. With his two daughters settled comfortably with high-earning jobs elsewhere, Mitra wanted to enjoy his innings for some more time in Oman.
He is back on his wife’s visa and enjoys a well-earned retired life in Oman currently. “We had to shift from a four-bedroom villa to a single-bedroom apartment, but there is no stress of work now. All I do is enjoy my time with my workouts and walks, reading books and spending time with my wife. I also help my wife in the kitchen and household chores.”