My Trysts with Homemaking
I have been getting sermons (necessary and unnecessary) about cooking and managing a household, mostly kitchen, since I have been approaching my 20s. “You should know how to manage the kitchen”, “Career vagaira is fine, you should pursue that, but you should know how to cook”, “what will you do when you get married and go to your ‘sasuraal’? Will you give them short stories instead of ‘poli’ ‘bhaaji’?” Such statements were a regular feature of my conversations with my grandma. Sometimes even with my mother. I used to squirm and make faces at such statements and loath them, wondering what is the big deal? I mean why does it matter so much if a girl cannot make perfectly fluffy and spherical ‘phulkas’ or cannot whip up a special, succinct vegetable dish for her boyfriend’s or husband’s friends or business associates? I have been pondering over these questions and issues related to it. I have not yet got the answer, but I think it somewhere lies in the gender based roles. These roles are so tightly compartmentalized in our culture and tradition that it is almost impossible to go beyond them. Although, it is another story that guys (some sensible ones) these days do help willingly in the household chores. However, the fact cannot be denied that how much ever successful career woman you are, household work (cooking, cleaning, managing kitchen) and taking care of kids is never going to bid adieu to you.
The point I am trying to come to is that homemaking is a pretty tough job. I wonder how my mom, her mom and all the women of their age and generation managed their households as well as work arenas so well for years together. Kudos to them! I think kitchen is one thing which can give you serious nightmares. You keep on getting dreams like shit! I did not keep the milk back in the refrigerator, I did not keep the curd for setting, or oh god what do I make for breakfast tomorrow or the worst what vegetable should I buy and cook for lunch? Phew! The kitchen management, care and maintenance issues are simply endless. You are never really done with kitchen. You simply have to shut shop and forget about it till the next sunrise. Kitchen has never been my forte and I guess it never will be. But with my grandma (who is an absolutely amazing cook) gone for a sabbatical, I have been compelled to take over the charge of the kitchen. I am sometimes miffed with the umpteen things you got to do associated with home making. Still, I am strangely satisfied with myself for being able to manage that pretty decently. I have been preparing and doing things I never even dreamt of. Yes, I set curd and go shopping for vegetables, like a seasoned homemaker. I also squabble over prices of veggies!! All this, along with my work, yes! I have now realized that knowing how to manage your house is as tough and unsettling sometimes as your career or profession. Perhaps, it is even difficult than climbing up the professional ladder. Home making is surely not a piece of cake! I think I will wrap up here as I got to go do some preparations for breakfast tomorrow! Adios!