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Couples Cooking Together During The Pandemic Is Yet Another Way We Smash Patriarchy!

Posted: April 14, 2021

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Every time I see the couples working together in the kitchen, my heart fills with joy. Because that’s how it should always be, right?

As a child, I always found it fascinating whenever there was a disruption in our daily routine. Days when my school bus services were closed and either one of my parents had to drop me off in school. Or days when our house-help would take off, and we would get the exciting opportunity to work together in the kitchen!

My mother has always been a disciplined woman. She set strict regimes for us, and we longed to break free from her rules. My blog name ‘A Rebel’s Diary’ reflects my childhood attitude towards her!

As I have already mentioned, my mother never liked me or my sister entering the kitchen when we were in school. She always tried to manage everything on her own. Even though I always had a knack to try out adulting tasks, my mother never let me take up any serious roles in the house.

I never really understood how she did it all perfectly!

Growing up, I find it absolutely mind-boggling how she managed everything so perfectly as if some computer or robot ran our house! The woman was so obsessed with running her house perfectly that she even packed her hospital bags before her second delivery! Not just that, she ironed and folded her elder daughter’s school uniforms as her water broke! Honestly, me or my sister can never be so perfect like her. Nor do we want to!

My mother is carrying generations of trauma and deep-rooted psychology that tells her that she has to execute everything on her own. As a woman, it is her primary duty to look at her children, even when she might not get an opportunity to look in the mirror for days.

Thanks to our current circumstances, she realises how a woman should not burn herself out completely while caring for her children. For now, she looks at her children and her grandchildren!

I loved the days when we could all cook together!

Nevertheless, the days when our house-help took days off, used to be such memorable days in the kitchen. Apart from the sense of pride that our mother has entrusted either of us with an adulting task, the most important thing was the time we spent together!

Being born and raised in a joint family, the sense of inclusiveness and teamwork was always there inside me. It’s always fun when we have ten pairs of hands and ten brains around to execute a task!

The holidays felt like that, and food always tasted better after our fair share of hard work. I realized it was not an easy task and started complaining less about my imperfect sunny side up eggs to my mother! Some days, I even told my mother to rest, it was just an egg!

The cooking scenes now make me so happy!

Post the pandemic, many Indian kitchen scenes went through a drastic change!

With the house-help gone and irregular work from home schedules, many couples felt it evident to share their responsibilities. This was mainly due to circumstance where they had no one but the virus to blame.

I think, for many Indian couples, the lockdown turned out to be a boon, as people realised how difficult the regular chores could be without help.

As I scroll through the romantic kitchen selfies, my heart fills with joy! It’s finally happening! People are finally learning to not take people for granted and that it’s okay for the person (who handles these tasks regularly) to take a break!

The inclusive kitchen scene can ease a lot of burden from all of us. Honestly, every time I see the couples working together in the kitchen, my nephews and nieces helping their parents out, it makes me happy. Because that’s a scene I have been longing to see. That’s a scene I never got to see in my childhood. But that’s how things should be, right?

It’s not just their responsibility

As I also believe that cooking or house chores can also be therapeutic for a person. It has been so for certain women for ages. For me, I always get to release my stress by kneading dough or structuring my story in my mind while I involve myself in the physical tasks.

If you are mindful, you can find peace through anything. At least, that’s what the virus taught us, it can be so much fulfilling to sit in a clean place and have a stomach full of food!

However, even today, many women need someone to tell them that ‘it’s not just their responsibility to carry all the burden! It’s their home too!’ Be it a daughter or a son, responsibilities can always be shared, which fetches bigger wins for the family. It’s not wrong to take a break (irrespective of age) without feeling any sense of guilt or resentment. All it requires is a bit of advance planning and cooperation.

It’s the deep-rooted trauma and denial that our elders unknowingly try to pass on to us. And we need to resist, to stop this from passing on us or to our next generations. I know resisting is the most challenging part! But, we have to find our safe ways and methods.

Let’s not give up on these habits and do our bit!

Perhaps that can stop the random comments like ‘What are you doing? Your baby is crying! Take care of him now! Can’t you see your husband is busy with his office work?’

‘You don’t look married enough! How do you find so much time?’

Whether they are settled in India or abroad, I know this is a reality for many women even today. Because many of them are repeatedly compelled to carry forward these ideas, with the whispering of the three magic words ‘You are a woman!’

Although the wounds and damages caused by the virus are beyond my contemplation, I think there is still a positive outcome of the event. As they say, every event is meaningful, and it impacts us in both ways. I think it’s time to embrace these positive impacts and remember the lessons, the new habits we have picked up.

Picture credits: Still from Dice Media’s series Little Things

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