Married for two and half years, I have got a fair chance of learning and flaunting my cooking skills. Little did I know that I was entering a world where anyone and everyone sampling my prepared meals views it as an opportunity to give their two cents or as we Indians call it muft-ka-gyaan.
Last month we were hosting a relative from India who were visiting us for ten days. The relative, who shall remain unnamed for very obvious reasons, made it very clear on the very first day of arrival that I should keep an open mind while they dish out gyaan, identify the areas of improvement and list out the solution. Stumped beyond my wits I surprisingly was left dumbfounded. It was the very moment when my mind decided to play aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai while trying to numb out the pain and awkwardness inflicted by the guest. Mind drew blank while I fumbled for the right words but failed gloriously and remained quiet. To be honest, I was not even trying to be polite. Score for my seventh grade moral science teacher.
Two weeks later on recalling this educative moment of my life, I could come up with not less than seven smart retorts perfect as a response to the eager critic’s statements. So the new knowledge is tucked away in memory for future use. My wit chose the most oppurtune moments to jump to jukebox mode. It’s difficult for me.
Long story short, the episode played out everyday for the next ten days while the husband was conveniently left out of the conversation. So zero gyaan for him while I got the royal treatment. This was grossly unfair considering it was assumed and expected that the lady of the house should be in possession of all culinary related knowledge.
My cooking skills are work in progress. Only in the months after we moved to the States I had the opportunity and leisure to learn and practice the art of cooking. Internet and Skype were the medium in those initial days when I struggled with making chai. I know this is an unpardonable act. India is a tea loving, tea consuming nation. My ignorance stems from those years spent at Manu’s chai tapri outside DLF Infocity. That’s my defense.
I have always been very vocal about the double-standards that exist with regard to cooking and men. As someone famous had remarked:
At a time when the lady of the house is constantly fending off criticisms (veiled as feedback) on the spicy tear inducing chicken curry or extra salty dal, I feel the urge to stand up and voice this out.
Cooking is a life skill; as necessary as education.
It is about self-reliance. Anyone who consumes who food, must possess the knowledge to its preparation. So encourage your son to enroll for that home science class and applaud his effort when he bakes his first cake. The kitchen realm is the abode of the hungry, gender unbarred.