Honest confession: I love eating food and more so, I love clicking food.
And I kind of like cooking too; fancy cooking. Ask me to bake some Italian stuff or pan fry some exotic dish, I will happily try my hand at it – of course, with one eye on a recipe on my iPad! But dare you ask me to make dal, sabzi
and round rotis
. You will be invited to witness my latent, inner rebel screaming out pro-feminism slogans.
Is it just me?
Off late, I have been witnessing a whole lot of girls straying away from all things kitchen. They are ready to take on any challenge – you name it, they’ll nail it. But the kitchen is ideally the last place they’d choose to see themselves. Some might have a panache for culinary so they will try baking cakes and breads, dishing out salads and pastas, but spare them the horror of cooking a regular meal. Most, however, remain clueless till an Indian marriage beheads their resistance.
My guy friends on the other hand seem to be proving pretty talented here. They know it all, they do it all and most importantly, they enjoy doing it. We girls, we don’t see cooking as an art or even a hobby.
Maybe we have never been shown it that way. For us, it has been something which pushes us deeper into the patriarchal society. It has had a feeling of a weight or worse, a commandment to stay orthodox.
So, when my parents asked me to learn cooking with a casual intention of being able to look after myself, I heard it as a male chauvinistic idea to take care of my future husband.
In the quest of proving ourselves much more than making round rotis, we have forbiddingly stereotyped rotis as abla naaris.
We measure the crispiness and fineness of it with our fat bank balance. If you’d be cooking, you’d most probably be of the lower social strata, unable to afford a cook. And somewhere, the attitude feels so wrong. What happened to being devoured by the art of cooking? What happened to the amazing feeling of sinking your teeth right into your mum’s delicacies, better called Maa ka khana.
Somewhere we don’t want to give this same feeling to our children – only because we see ourselves as 21st century, modern Moms. What happened to the need to ensure healthy, hygienic food?
Sadly, we are seeking it in packaged superfoods boasting low-fat, high-nutrients.
While changing times have given us women less time, more work and much more money – we are measuring our success by our absence in our kitchen. And while it’s still unfair for women to sweat it both in office cubicle and the kitchen, it’s also unfair to term cooking as ‘demeaning’. I, for one, cannot guarantee my presence in the kitchen everyday. Nevertheless, I would want my future to hold place for an occasional dessert whip to relax my mind and challenge my creativity outside my domain. I’d like a place to thrill my family with my hit-and-trial methods of cooking. For once, Let cooking be just an art – not a prerequisite to marriage or a label for conventional Indian women.