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I was sitting at the dining table sorting the peas from the pod, or in short, “Mein matar cheel rahi thee”.
Do you mind? To my surprise, yes you do. Gumrah, a crime based show with real stories, was going on. I was engrossed watching that while finishing my kitchen work on the table. Break time, there’s a TV commercial, in between one of the crime based reality shows. The ad is an instant hit, as the main lead of the ad is a Bollywood super star. In the ad, she is in a great hurry as she doesn’t want to miss a bus to her college. Scene 2, she tells her friend to hurry, because she doesn’t want to peal peas all her life. Or rather she says, “Nahi to zindagi bhar matar cheelne padenge”.
I cringed seeing this, threw the peas away, back into the fridge and swore by the frozen matar. “Never again will I ever get into healthy eating”, I swore to myself. This ad actually made me feel bad about myself; it made me think, that a double graduate is sitting at home pealing peas. My dad’s face came to my mind, saying, “Isi liye padha likhakar bheja tha?” (Is this why I sent you to study?); my mom saying, “Kuch car beta nahi to zindagi bhar…” (Do something, else all your life….)
Oh God, these peas were not getting out of my head.
Now, I am not ok with this commercial or many such commercials which make it sound as if a modern woman who has her head on her shoulders, has to work or do something outside of home to be a woman of substance; otherwise, she is the peas peeler. Hey! Peeling out peas is an art, which is underrated, in today’s market of readymade, packed groceries. I am all for healthy eating, and thus decided to stop buying the green packet of frozen peas that has an expiry date, which surpasses years.
Will someone tell the advertising world that not all home makers or peas peelers feel sorry for themselves, not all mummyjees take their daughters-in-law out for kitty parties, not all women out of jobs are frustrated yummy mummies, not all women not keen on starting all over again are lost souls in search of a purpose in life, not all pretty ladies who don’t work-out are fat and dream of being thin, that some of them are very happy being plump and full, that not all women who stay at home rely on their husbands credit cards or go shopping to the malls every second day, not all mothers dream of bringing home a perfect daughter-in-law and leading a happy retired life which is more like a vacation?
It is all so clichéd. It makes women feel inadequate and incomplete if you are not doing “something”.
I may sit at home, master the art of peas peeling, or paneer making, not be a great cook but do a decent job with it, have simple tastes, simple dreams and wait for my husband for an evening cup of tea; what is wrong with that? I may not be frustrated about not having a career, I may just be alright with pursuing something I love or even looking after the health of my family which involves a lot of things, like cooking three proper meals a day, providing nourishment in the form of juices, salads, fresh matar and what not.
Women are all right just being themselves; don’t fill us in with an ‘ideal’ idea about us. We are ok the way we are, even if we have to do “matar cheelna”.
Pic credit: BK (Used under a Creative Commons license)
A writer and singer by soul and homemaker by role, I am Malini Misra. I
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