History of why men aren’t supposed to cry

Men aren’t supposed to cry or else they are called names – girly, gay, weak are some of the nice ones and there are quite a few nasty ones too. But why? It was always believed since ages that crying is sign of weakness and women can cry because they are the weaker sex. There was a time when a man’s muscles were really important because humans were living in Jungles where they could be attacked by animals or other groups of men. Muscles were important because the wars had to be fought on a regular basis. Every man was expected to protect the country or the land where his clan was growing. That time men just had to fight for the protection of their women and children, they had no time to cry. And that is how the concept of toxic masculinity started to build up to where it is today. It became a fashion to call a young boy names when he cries in public. It became a norm to expect that men are superior and stronger and hence always have to show up their strength to the world. Why? Doesn’t make sense, right?

Rules of the society

Children by nature are self-expressive. A new born doesn’t feel shy in screaming out loud when he/she is hungry. A two year old kid doesn’t feel ashamed taking his/her clothes off in front of strangers. A five year old child believes that he/she is the center of the universe and all his/her needs must be fulfilled. At the age of 7-8, kids start to become sensitive to the rules of society, the rules that are explicitly made and rules that unsaid and are implicit. Explicit rules of the society are taught to kids at a very young age and they are very quick to learn, for example traffic rules etc. Implicit rules of the society are dangerous because they are never spoken about directly. Kids just understand these rules without being told from the way adults around them behave, the way media portrays society etc. 

Boys don’t cry is sometimes an explicit rule in households where boys are told constantly that they aren’t supposed to cry even when they fall down or hurt themselves. But many times the message “boys don’t cry” come from implicit rule that the society has set for them. This is dangerous situation. I am really glad that society is opening up to this situation and bringing the awareness around the mental health of boys and men. If women have proven that they are the go-getters in the world, it is time for men to prove that they are equally emotional and need as much support as women do. 

What really happens when men don’t cry

  1. At a very young age, they learn to suppress their feelings. They realize that they are not supposed to feel hurt or upset but it is ok to feel angry and revengeful. Hence, every time they get hurt they get angry and revengeful. Remember the acid attacks on women who rejected those men? 
  2. Tears is a natural way to keep our eyes moist and protected. They also make you feel relaxed. These tears bag fill up as an emotional reaction for human beings. They contain stress hormones which are secreted from the body in form of tears. When boys don’t cry, they never get rid of their stress hormones. This stress keeps building up to a level of massive explosion which again mostly is violent because they aren’t supposed to cry. Remember the domestic violence cases, especially when the husband is stressed at work?
  3. Tears helps sleep better! This is something that I have experienced, once I cry a lot – I get an amazing deep sleep and when I wake up I am all fresh and positive. Imagine if I don’t cry, I would spend the whole night tossing and turning on my bed with hurt, upset and anger building up inside me. Remember how many men drown themselves in alcohol or commit suicide because they just don’t have a way to deal with life?
  4. Tears provide closure. Have you ever heard how people are encouraged to cry when their loved ones leave the world? That is because death of closed one needs grieving and there is no better to grieve than to cry. When you cry, you give a closure to what is an open wound. Grieving is not just important at a death, it is important at any occasion that makes you feel extremely sad. Without tears grieving is incomplete and wound remains open. 
  5. Crying in open gets you much needed empathy. This is true for girls. When girls cry, they get enough empathy from all around them – boys and girls. They get solutions to get out of the situation. Imagine if we manage to create such an environment for boys too. It would be so easy for them to gain the much needed empathy in that moment. There would be lot less fists fights and emergency hospital visits.

My personal experience with tears

There are times in my life when I constantly feel stressed due to work or other reasons but none of the reasons are strong enough to make me cry. I literally make myself watch an emotional movie that makes me cry and there goes all my stress flowing down from my eyes. Then I just close my eyes which have just been naturally cleaned thoroughly and awesome sleep that I get makes my morning so fresh and positive. This is the way I deal with my tears. 

I am a mother of a 5 year old boy. His favorite colors are pink and purple, he likes to sleep with his cars, cries at every minute thing and is super competitive. In short, he is just 5 year old human being. It would break my heart to pieces if he starts believing someday that something as natural as tears is bad for him. 

My message to all the young boys out there

Life gets tough as you grow…
Whether you get beaten up at school or bullied by some bad kids.
Even if you can’t score well in your exams or you get rejected by a girl you really love.
Maybe you will get cheated on by your best friend or even your girlfriend.
You might get mugged in the middle of the road or you might believe
that your parents aren’t fair to you.
It is possible that you have to deal with a crazy professor or a boss.
There will be plenty of moments in life where you will feel like crying, where you will feel that tears are welling up in your eyes.
Don’t stop them, let them flow and you will see how your spirits will rise to face the life once again in all new light.


It was the morning of Diwali of 2016. It had been 3 days of us visiting emergency room of Columbia Asia every 4-6 hours. My son was 1.5 years old and was suffering with high fever and wheezing since a few days. Unfortunately, Diwali was a long weekend and doctors weren’t regular – OPD’s were closed. So, we had to go to Emergency ward even when it wasn’t an emergency. 

Doctors had said that he needs nebulization every 4 hours to start with and since his saturation level was too low, it had to be checked with every nebulization. That meant we couldn’t nebulize him at home, we had to go to the hospital every 4 hours – day or night. 

On the day of Diwali, we realized that his health is only getting worse. His fever wasn’t coming down in spite of all the strong meds that he was being given. To add to the problem, he was not eating. He had spent 3 days only on a couple of biscuits and water. He refused to take milk or any solids and puked when fed forcibly. So, that evening we raised our concern AGAIN to the doctors. This time he was advised a chest X-Ray and blood work. We came back home and my son slept off. 

It was the first Diwali after my Brother in law got married which meant it ideally was supposed to be a big celebration. I was in no mood to do anything for Diwali at all, but we still had relatives over for dinner. I hardly prepared anything and my Mother in law did all the work. I was totally disconnected. Soon after we finished dinner – my son started screaming really bad. He had fever greater than 103 degree. It was a panicky moment for us. Kapil (my husband) was in the hospital to collect his reports. Me and my in laws were quick in sponging him and managed to get his temperature under control. Meanwhile, the reports confirmed that he had lung infection – a typical case of pneumonia. 

We were keen to admit him right away after looking at his condition but hospital refused. To my surprise, the reason was that all medical staff is busy attending the Diwali emergency cases. My husband explained what he had witnessed – emergency ward of that hospital was crowded with cases where people were burnt while burning crackers. And that was just one hospital – doctors mentioned that it is same case in all hospitals every year on Diwali night. It was very disheartening to hear this. In spite of being disturbed with my son’s health, I felt extremely sad about what all pain people go through in the name of celebration. Also felt horrible for all the medical staff that is busy attending the patients on the Diwali night. 

Next day morning, my son was admitted. He was very scared and so was I. He was sleeping on my lap in the Emergency room when the doctors came in to put his IV. I was made to step away so that doctors could deal with him and curtains were drawn so that me and my son were blocked from each other. I remember my palms hurting because I had my hands clenched so tight when he started to scream. To make things worse, he started saying – “Sorry mumma, I will be a good boy!” and many things like that. In his cries, he even started reciting his favorite nursery rhymes. I was in tears standing just outside the curtains. I realized that I should never tell him that doctors give injections to bad children. I am sure he was smart enough to think that he was being given the injection (and pain) as a punishment. That moment was very difficult to go through. 

Once we moved to his ward, things started to improve. Within 24 hours, he became almost normal. The only reason that meds were not working was because he wasn’t eating. 2 units of glucose did the magic and his infection was reduced by 80% by the end of 24 hours. At the end of 36 hours, we walked out of the hospital hoping that we never have to experience something similar again. 

However, we again landed in the same state 1.5 years later after his 3rd birthday. He got lung infection again at the same spot. Well, that hospital visit is yet another story that I will write about some other time. As of now, he is 4.5 years old and the infections did not recur since last 1.5 years. Fingers crossed! Doctors suspected weak lungs by birth and I hope (pray) that this isn’t the case.

Hospital visits aren’t delightful for sure. The only time I was elated in a hospital was when my son was born and I saw him for the first time. 

Diwali is just round the corner – I really hope and pray that hospital emergency wards are not full like we saw that years.


Meghna was wearing her clothes while listening to Vinod go on and on about the corruption in the country and false promises of the politicians while he was reading the newspaper. She wasn’t interested in participating in the conversation, Meghna and Vinod had just spent a beautiful night together after a lot of acute planning – she just wanted to enjoy the after-effects of it.

Vinod went on and on – “When will the world change, why can’t people just stop telling lies and be straight about who they are? Look what is happening in politics, Bollywood, cricket – there is lying and cheating everywhere.”

Just then Vinod’s phone rang and both of them just froze at their spot, just the look on his face told Meghna that it was Vinod’s wife (Prerna) calling.

Vinod’s tone changed now – “Hi Prerna darling! Of course I missed you, this important business trip made me travel otherwise I would have never left you and gone even for few hours. I had a great presentation last night, will be back home by evening, love you a lot.”


Next day morning when Radha opened her eyes, she realized that atmosphere wasn’t as silent as it usually is. There is some commotion outside the door, she cannot figure out what it is till she actually goes out of the door to check. But she felt lazy, must be some maids and milkman fighting. She somehow dragged herself out of the bed to the kitchen to drink warm lime water. While she was immersed in her tasteless lime water, she heard a voice outside the door that sounded familiar. It is the old man, but why is he shouting? Curious to see what was happening outside, she opened the door. 

There was a man standing, dressed up in blue blazer with a suitcase next to him. She could smell his cologne even from a distance – the typical look and smell of a NRI. Old man was standing at the door with a red face full of anger. “You nicely show up when I tell you that this flat is on sale? What do you think of yourself? You left me at the old age home to just die without a family member. I somehow managed to buy this flat from my savings. Now when I want to sell this flat and donate the money to the old age home – you show up on my doorstep. It is all my fault, maybe I did not give you the right sanskar. You are all a selfish generation only concerned about money. Go away to US to your family. I am nobody to you and do not expect a single paisa from this property.”

“Baba, you have to let me speak at least. I have not come for the property. You can give the money to whoever you want. Baba, let me come inside. I want to talk to you.” The man says feeling embarrassed that his family story is being discussed in public. Radha realizes that this man must be the old man’s son. “What a jerk!” she thought. 

The old man closed the door on his son’s face. Radha was still standing being a witness to this family drama. The NRI son looked at Radha and said “Do you mind giving me a glass of water?” Radha too wanted to shut the door on his face. Such people who cannot take care of their parents deserve this only. She never had parents so she didn’t understand how somebody could take the parents for granted. She had spent her entire childhood wondering how life would be if she lived with her parents like all kids do. And here is this jerk who had a great childhood because he got to live with his parents and now when they are old, he doesn’t care. 

Radha nodded and came inside. The man followed her hesitatingly. “Do you mind if I can sit down for a while? I had a long 30 hour flight and I am really tired. My father won’t let me in, he thinks I am jerk.” Radha did not comment although she really wanted to give him a piece of her mind. She let him in. The man sat down, he looked really tired. Radha went in to get a glass of water and when she came out she was surprised to see that man had tears in his eyes. She was in no mood to empathize with him. It was already 7:30 am and she had to get ready to start work on the new project with Vansh. 

Just then Pragya came out rubbing her eyes. “What’s up, babe? You still haven’t taken a bath. I need coffee. Can you fix me a cup, please darling?” As soon as Pragya noticed a stranger in the house, she almost screamed. Radha quickly pulled her in kitchen and told her the whole story about the old man and the son. Pragya said “What the hell is this drama on an early Wednesday morning? I have got work to do and so do you. Just ask him to get lost. He anyways deserve it.” Radha nodded but deep down inside her she knew that she couldn’t simply drive a stranger out of the house who is in this state of mind. 

“Do you want a cup of coffee?” Radha asked the man. Pragya rolled her eyes back in the kitchen. 

“Aaaaa, no I guess. I will see if there is a hotel nearby where I can spent time till tomorrow. I will book a flight back to New Jersey tomorrow night. By the way, my name is Akash. You are?”

“I am Radha and she is my flatmate Pragya.” Radha managed to give a short smile. 

“Can I ask you something? Why did you really think that your father will let you stay with him and that you could have the money from this flat? Didn’t you leave him at an old age home years back? I know it is your personal life, but I am really curious.” Said Radha with a taunting smile. 

“It’s a long story. I think both of you will get late for work if I start my tale. But right now I will just say that don’t judge me by listening to what my father said now. I am in a lot of pain. I just lost my family back in New Jersey and I realize what I did to my father and mother was wrong. I did not even come to visit my mother when she was dying from cancer. After her death, I thought my father would well off with others of his age. My wife didn’t want him to come and stay with us. So, I left him at old age home. I had no idea that he bought this house and neither did I know that he is planning to sell it. I have earned enough money, I am not looking for property share. I just came to apologize to my father now because I suffered the same pain that I gave him years back.” Said Akash, his face was softened and Radha could see tears in his eyes. 

To Radha’s surpsrise, it was Pragya who spoke now “Mr. Akash, we really don’t know you or your father. He only comes here to get some ice every night for his drink. That itself makes me sad that he has stay alone at this age. When Radha told me about what happened this morning, I was quite sure that you are nothing but a jerk who deserves this. Now listening to you and looking at your state, I really think that you should give a little more effort in convincing your father. If you just take the flight tomorrow night because your father said all this to you – then you definitely are a son that no parent should ever have. He is upset with you and if you are really regretting your decisions of past, then you should not run away like this. Your father is hurt from years and he has a right to say all this to you. This would my advice to you, rest is up to you.”

Akash was thinking deeply now. What Pragya said seem to make an impact on him. Radha and Pragya looked at each other, not sure of whether to interrupt him or not. Radha went to the kitchen as coffee maker was now ready with the coffee. She got three cups ready and came out. 

Akash took a cup still staring down at the floor. There was silence in the room for next 10 mins. After which Akash got up wiping his eyes. He looked at both of them and managed to give a smile. “Thank you for the coffee. I will just go to one of the hotels nearby. And thank you so much for the advice. You are right, I should not give up. I have to try and convince my dad to come and stay with me in US. I will make up for all the lost time. Thank you so much again.” Radha and Pragya smiled at him. He went out with his suitcase. 

Radha and Pragya looked at each other and then Radha shouted “Oh my my!!, it is 8’o clock. I am going to get super late. I got to rush babes.” 

“Go girl go, I am going to chill out at home for an hour more.” Said Pragya. 

Radha got dressed and just before leaving she gave a long hug to Pragya. “I never knew my bindaas friend could even advice somebody that impacts him so deep.” Said Radha. 

“Don’t underestimate me, sweetie.” Said Pragya winking at her. 

Radha left home and Pragya switched on TV and sat on the sofa. She noticed a card on the floor, she picked it up and it said – 

“Dr. Akash Verma,

MBBS MD Orthopaedics,

Kendred Hospital

New Jersey”

It had his picture of his smiling face which looked quite handsome along with his number and email ID.

“Why did he leave his visiting card at our place?” thought Pragya. And now she had an urge to google this guy and she couldn’t stop thinking if he would really take her advice seriously and come back for his dad again. She would find out in some time. 


First times are always special because they make you either confident in continuing what we want to do or they make us really scared to go ahead in that venture. There are many things that have gone well for me when I think of my first times. Although there have been goof-ups too, sometimes because of me and other times not. 

The very first memory that I have of a goof-up is when I was going to the school in Dehradun for the first time. I was born in Gujrat and my parents had been staying there for almost 18 years. When I was 6 years old, my father got transferred to Dehradun and we packed our bags to come to this new city which was quite different. My father and one of his colleagues had got the transfer together and hence we were travelling together. I was 6 ready to go in 1st standard and my sister was 13 ready to go in 9th standard. And the other family also had two kids – elder one going to go in 4th standard and younger one was my age. 

We had shifted mid-session so getting admissions in the school was a challenge. Somehow we managed to get admission in a school named Scholar’s Home which had 3 branches. The farthest branch was quite far off where my sister was supposed to go since she was going to High School. The first branch was quite a big school but we did not get admission there, we younger ones got the admission in the second branch which was only the Primary school. The schools were quite far off from our home and there was a school bus that would take us there. 

I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember being dead scared. It was a brand new city, new school and away from home. I don’t know if I cried but I know that the only relief I had was that I was not alone going to that school. So, the goof-up happened when the bus conductor got confused about which branch he is supposed to drop us at. There were no mobile phones or landlines at that time. My sister was on the other bus. We three kids got dropped at the first branch which was not the school we were supposed to be at. I remember kept telling the bus conductor that I don’t think this is where we are supposed to be, but who takes a 6-year-old seriously? 

As soon as we came in, the teachers were surprised to see us as we weren’t even expected. I started crying and so did the other two kids with me. We spent the whole day sitting in the Principal’s office. There was no way they could get the confirmation from anywhere either our parents or the other school. We did not know which bus to take us back home, so we waited for long 6 hours or so for the school to get over. Once the school got over, we were escorted to the school bus. The bus was waiting there and I was so relieved to see my sister on the bus. I remember telling her the whole story and then repeating it for my parents multiple times about what really happened. I don’t know how scared or worried they got. 

Now as a parent, I feel that it was a pretty bad goof-up. We could have been lost and I can imagine the state of my parents once they came to know what really happened. Later on, till the time I was at that school – it was a pretty funny story to tell other kids that how I got dropped at the wrong school.

The first-time event isn’t always goof ups. They are also memories for a lifetime. And there is one more first time that I would like to share which was rather special – it was the first time I travelled abroad. It was an official trip to the US and I was just 22 years of age. That opportunity was rather an unexpected one but I was quite thrilled that I got a chance to stay there for 3 months. During the journey, I kept listening to the song from the movie Chak de – “Badal pe paon hai”. It did feel like I am cloud 9 and everything around was so very exciting. The first experience of explaining a Mc Donald’s cashier that I wanted to have a vegetarian burger was quite funny. After a while, I asked them if they could make a burger without meat and the lady looked at me as if I had asked for all the trash in the restaurant. Just by her look, I left the place after having fries and coke. 

At the Denver airport, I was quite nervous at the security check for a simple reason that I had to take a domestic flight now. I had heard quite a lot about their security checks. I did the regular drill of taking off the shoes, socks, coat, specs, etc. Unfortunately, my mobile was still in my pocket. So when I went through the metal detector, it beeped. And I realized that those guys take the metal detector beeps way seriously than I had ever seen. The security personnel there looked quite scary and he asked me to step back. In all my nervousness, I did not understand him at all. He had to say this thrice for me to get it and my eyes were fixated on the gun that he had taken out because I wasn’t listening to him. Of course, once I stepped back they checked me thoroughly only to find a harmless innocent mobile in my pocket and then they let go of me. I was trembling by the time all this got over, but now I knew how to handle the security there. The more nervous you are, the more trouble you are in.

We were a group of Indians working together on a project while my first stay in the US. Our project manager was an old American lady who was a workaholic. She once came to me and said – “Prabhjot, I have trouble communicating with some of our colleagues”. I was a bit puzzled if my friends were in some trouble. 

She said “Every time I ask a question to Anand, he always nods his head sideways. I cannot make out if he is saying a Yes or a No. What does it really mean?” 

I couldn’t help but laugh at this. She was sincerely quite embarrassed in asking this question and it was her first time working with Indians. I told her it is not just you, we Indians also get confused with each other. And then I had to tell my manager to sensitize the team to not use nods and communicate very clearly in Yes or No. 

Well, first times are special. Not just first time events but also the first time objects are super special – like first salary, first address of your own, first house, first car, first pet and the list goes own. My husband gets quite frustrated every time we cross the ATM where I withdrew my first salary from – because I always remind him that this is the ATM where I saw so much money in my account for the first time and what a thrill it was.

Feminism is the most misused word in today’s world
and it worries me a lot
because I am not sure what kind of education
we are giving to our little girls
who are growing up in a world where “being a feminist is cool”.


My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius. Choose to measure yourself not as some horrible victim or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.”
Mark Manson

This is one of the stories I read in the book named – “The subtle art of not giving a *#@&”. Don’t go by the language of this book because when I started reading it, it totally changed my perspective in so many different ways. It helped me look at things really objectively, outside of the view of my value system.

So, here goes the story (of course in my words and with my take on it)

In 1983, there was a metal rock band group which was gaining a lot of popularity. They got their first debut to be recorded in New York. The lead guitarist of the group was also one of the founders of heavy metal, but the rest of the band was fed up with his drinking and drugs problem. Although he was highly talented, they decided to fire him.

It was in April’1983 that Dave was woken up by rest of the band members. He was in an ugly hangover. He was told directly that he was now out of the band. It came without any warning. They had already hired a new lead guitarist. When he was asked for his flight tickets, he was told that they would drop him New York Port Authority Bus Terminal and he is taking a 4 hour bus to California.

It was still one hour to go before his bus would depart. He had total of 5 hours to reflect on what had happened. He was definitely furious. He was fired from a band that he had co-founded. The rest of band was moving on to recording their first album for which he had written majority of lyrics. He felt cheated, betrayed and fumed. However, in those 5 hours – he got over his self-pity and decided that he would take on his ex-bandmates with a revenge and make them regret this decision.

By the time he reached California, he had decided to find his own band and also wrote the lyrics which later on became one of his famous songs. In the coming few years he worked like crazy, he hired new musicians and created his new band. This new band named Megadeth turned out to be a huge hit. It sold over 38 million records worldwide and earned platinum certification in US for five of its fifteen studio albums. It also received 12 Grammy nominations.

However Dave wasn’t satisfied. Never felt successful. Because the band that fired him was Metallica. And it was indeed way ahead of Megadeth. Metallica had sold 125 million records, won 9 Grammy awards, nominated for 23.

Dave is a strong man because he could turn around a negative experience into a productive one in just 5 hours. He put his entire heart and soul to what he wanted to do. He has money, fame, power. He is ranked as one of the best heavy metal guitarist in the world. Yet he fails to feel success inside him. Because for him, he always wanted to beat Metallica which he could never do.

Two decades earlier in 1962, one more similar incident happened. A guy named Pete Best was fired from his band. He had performed for 2 years with them and the band was at the brink of stardom.

The manager of the group called Pete in his office just before their first recording, and asked him to leave because other bandmates did not want him. He was heartbroken, he never met any of his bandmates again. He quietly left for home. In the coming years, he joined multiple bands and but it was no success. He struggled with depression while his bandmates were selling millions of copies worldwide. They came to be one of the most successful bands of the time – The Beatles.

In 1965, Pete attempted suicide from which he was saved by his mother and brother. His mother’s words put in the sense in him. “They want you to die. Think about your wife and your daughter. What would they be without you” she said. He then realized that suicide was a mistake and promised that he will never ever do that again. He took up a job as a civil servant and just worked 9 to 5 job. His main focus now was to be a civil servant, a good husband and a father. In late 1980’s, he picked up music again. He founded his very own The Pete Best Band.

Pete is a happy person because he found solace in being mundane. He found success in serving people and just being a father and a husband. He did not expect more from life and even though depression hit him hard but he could get over it.

He had met his wife when he was still “The Beatles”, however she did not leave him when he was kicked out. They got married and Pete found solace in being with her – knowing that one of his fans is his wife and even though he isn’t popular any more, she still chooses to be with him.

On the other hand, Dave Mustaine made it a mission of his life to beat Metallica. And even though he attained a huge success as a celebrated artist – he is far from feeling content.

The reason this story hit me hard is that even though you might have great ambitions to be famous and successful – your identity should not be that ambition. There is much more happiness in these mundane titles like a good mother, a good daughter, a good father, a good friend, a good public servant can give a lot more success than being a great businessman, a sportsperson, or a rich man.

I do not intend to say that being ambitious is not right. But making that ambition the whole reason of your existence is wrong. Your existence is worth much more than a few billion dollars that you might make in your lifetime. The real value of your existence is known only to your near and dear ones and not to the millions of fans that follow your work.

Follow your passion, earn lots of money and fame but do not let it become your value system. You and I might be laughing at Dave Mustaine because in spite of earning millions of dollars and fans, he still considers himself a failure. This is because you and I have a very different value system than that of Dave.

Look inside your value system. What are you really running behind? Is it really worth it?

The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible. This often means giving up some grandiose ideas about yourself: that you’re uniquely intelligent, or spectacularly talented, or intimidatingly attractive, or especially victimized in ways other people could never imagine. This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you’re somehow owed something by this world.
Mark Manson