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My University degree will help me attain my dreams, not learning kitchen skills to perfection, though I can certainly cook for myself.
Recently, I stumbled upon a video clip of the Kapil Sharma Show, where a husband shamelessly appeared in front of the world to complain that he has issues with his wife because she doesn’t know how to make round shaped rotis, and he feels embarrassed every time someone visits their home and his wife has made rotis that look like India’s map. He also took immense pride in the fact that he knows how to make perfectly round rotis. But why would he make them for his wife, even if he feels they must have them for guests? It is her duty, after all!
And then I saw an infamous clip of a crime show, where a husband measures the diameters of roti and slaps his newlywed wife because it was less than 12 and 1/2 centimetres! Her mother-in-law comforted her saying, that she will ‘teach her’ how to make the perfect rotis as per the standards set by her husband!
Honestly, nothing changed much since the day I learnt how to make perfectly round rotis!
Since my childhood, my mother never taught me to make perfectly round rotis. She barely let us enter the kitchen, even though sometimes we wanted to help her willingly.
Every time her opinion was crisp and clear, “You will get to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and it doesn’t require any additional skills or talent to get in here! Once you start doing it, you will pick it up naturally! Right now, you focus on your main job-studies, and let me do my job of taking care of you! Don’t get distracted from your goals wasting your time on all these.”
When I moved to a different city, I eventually learned how to make round rotis, but did it change my life significantly in any way? Certainly not; but, my University degree did! It played a vital role in building up my confidence, shaping up my character, and creating my life the way I wanted. And I realised what my mother meant, years ago!
Thank God my mother never apologised to me like Simran’s mother! She never agreed to give up on her dream of raising her daughters her way because of the patriarchal society! She decided to play stronger roles to raise her daughters. She decided to set new rules and raise a voice about them proudly to relatives and neighbours.
As they say, charity begins at home; I learned the basics of feminism from my mother, even though she learned the term years later from her daughter! She just knew she wanted a different life for her daughters, and she made it happen in reality. And I couldn’t be more greatful about the fact that my mother is way different from Simran’s mother, and I am optimistic that my future husband or in-laws will definitely not choose me for my roti making skills!
Unfortunately, many Indian women are not so lucky as me. They are literally forced into focusing on these life skills as they grow up, even more than their professional skills!
In my case, this additional skill didn’t seem to be any useful in my personal life. My loved ones never bothered much whether my rotis were round or square, thick or thin! They gladly ate them as long as they were edible or ordered online! For me, it did add a sense of pride and happiness, as if I have learned a new art. But, it is nothing more than aesthetic satisfaction.
Perhaps, the new age Simran too needs to hear this out ‘Jaa Simran Jaa, poori karle apni padhayee aur bana le apni zindagi’ (Go Simran go; fulfil your education dreams and build an independent life) from their mothers!
First published here.
Image source: a still from the film DDLJ
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