Not the regular dal-roti girl…

I am not a feminist, not even a conventionalist… I am just a normal girl, the kind you meet every day, in the office…on the streets and even in your homes. The only difference is that I am not the dal-roti types. Don’t get it? I don’t cook the meals in my house. Here, I said it! I don’t do it out of choice. I have a maid who does and I have no qualms admitting it.


Okay fine, you say but why blog about it? I write today because the majority of people in our country still would read my confession and shake their heads in disapproval. The lady of the house in India is the reincarnation of Annapurna. Any deviation is frowned upon.
I saw my friends being taught culinary skills when they reached the marriageable age. I did not try, nor did my mother force me. I was told it adds to the matrimonial prospects. Post marriage, I realised that my qualification mattered little when I was at home. The expectation to cook well  be a Masterchef in the kitchen runs high. I did not relish that but tried nevertheless.
My expertise was judged by the roundness of my rotis and no one asked me how work was(shocker-I am a doctor!) Can you beat it…I was once told to apply ghee on the correct side of the roti. Roti has a right and wrong side? Really? I gave up…it was easier than determining the right side!
I also hate the way food is discussed in households.
‘What for lunch?’ is the question at the breakfast table, discussed in detail with mouthfuls of paranthas. I am given the cold stare if I do not jump in the question of the hour debate. The same is repeated at lunch and dinner as well. Why is it so important to have exquisite three course meals every day?
Why do relatives want to taste what I have cooked when they come over? I am serving you good food, why can’t you just eat it in peace and be thankful? I would have opened up a restaurant if I was so fond of cooking.
Till date, I do not know how much water and how many whistles are needed to cook a dal. I don’t mind that. Why should anyone else?
I work my ass off just like my husband. Why doesn’t anyone ever come over and ask him for a nice aloo ka parantha or sooji ka halwa made by him? I don’t expect him to cook but I don’t expect anyone to expect the same from me too.
The day I stopped being the superwoman trying to balance work and household chores, I discovered time to follow my passion for writing.
So much said, it still doesn’t mean I don’t cook at all. I like to bake and can whip up some sinfully rich cakes but that is my passion. I do it when it pleases me, not as a duty.
I prefer to sink my head in work than my hands in sink full of utensils.
Just as men get tired after work and need time out, don’t women get tired as well? Woman fought with the world and stepped out to walk shoulder to shoulder with her man to share the financial burden but could not free herself from the pressure cookers and kadais that wait for her to come back from work more eagerly than her family!Don’t you think it is time we stopped branding the kitchen as a woman’s domain and area of accountability? After all, everyone eats…should it not be the common zone of responsibility?
Should we not end these gender stereotypes and stop telling our kids to ‘do it because you are a girl’ or ‘don’t do it,you are a boy’ ?
I chose not to stick to them. Today,I go to work, love driving big cars, utilise my time at home to pursue my hobbies and have fun with my daughter. Is it really an issue that I don’t spend my waking hours at home in the kitchen?

30 thoughts on “Not the regular dal-roti girl…

  1. Agree to a very large extent… Well summarised… I love to eat but hate to cook elaborate stuff… There I said it!!! For me the shorter a meal takes to cook the better it is…

  2. Agree to a very large extent… Well summarised… I love to eat but hate to cook elaborate stuff… There I said it!!! For me the shorter a meal takes to cook the better it is…

  3. Agree to a very large extent… Well summarised… I love to eat but hate to cook elaborate stuff… There I said it!!! For me the shorter a meal takes to cook the better it is…

  4. Evry woman need a Me time..and m still waiting desperately for this world to understand the same..Office guyz has no clues how their female counterparts juggle in the morning to reach office at time..males enjoy their weekends and the same is a prison for the dal roti working females .
    Hope for a better future!!

    1. Don't worry Allsama! You don't need to wait for the world to change. It just needs your husband and family to understand it and for you to explain it. A happy woman is a better mother and a more loving wife! 😉

  5. Good idea. There are many out there who wish they could say the same. Home is a joint responsibility of the man and lady. Even the highly educated of our times fail to understand!!
    Be the torch bearer… Way to go girl.

  6. Loved to read my exact same thoughts. In today's world of adulterated food, cooking has become an essential knowledge. But to use it as a measure of the worth of a woman, is a disease to be eradicated.
    I find it terribly boring to think about food, hour after hour, planning, procuring 🙁 Nowadays cooking has become easier for me to do and generally I do something at the last minute, with whatever available. And make sure my sons pitch in.

    1. Thank you Sini! A woman's worth is actually still measured by the roundness of her rotis in many homes…more so by women!
      I really feel food in Indian homes in an over-hyped subject. I am glad you are teaching your boys to pitch in…mothers like you make a difference!

  7. Enjoyed reading this a lot, Shivani! I wish women (myself included) stop being superwomen! But then, there are those 'surveys', those 'researches' where it is conjectured that women can do it all – work at office, at home, make geometrically precise parathas, drive, detox, be present at all the PTA meetings, and make gajar ka halwa when there is unexpected company and look that they are have a great time. For those of us who can manage and afford maids, there is a choice of not being a superwoman, or else one just needs to embrace the Kryptonite.

    1. Thank you Shweta, glad you enjoyed the post! Many of us are forced to but a significant number of us do it to ourselves. We glorify our roles and just keep on toiling..without realising that it is okay to not be a superwoman at all times. If the labels of man's job and woman's job are done away with and men start contributing within the four walls as well, I think life will a lot easier.

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