Why Must Men Get Best Pieces, Warm Food…Women Mainly Leftovers?!

Men or boys getting the choicest pieces of a meal, and women eating last or even going hungry is 'normal' in most Indian homes...

Only the other day while I was carrying a casserole full chapattis from the stove to the dinner table it slipped from my grip, spilling the contents on the floor. As I picked up the rotis and tried to wipe them clean with kitchen tissues my husband fumed, ‘Throw them away; I won’t have any! Do you think I am a house pet?”

Mind you, the floor was pretty clean since all of us walk barefoot indoors. So ultimately I had to eat them myself (it’s sinful to waste food, isn’t it?) after rolling out fresh ones for him and the daughter.

There are more such instances: he grumbles if there is excess salt in a dish or a few extra (whole) green chilies in his portion of curry. Why can’t he discard them on a side plate while eating, I often wonder?

Elsewhere, I remember reading a newspaper report of how a man bashed up his wife because he found the sambar was cold and on top of it not tasty enough! How despicable is that?

In my husband’s case the desire for privilege has been drilled into him (his dad included) by his female relatives lifelong. When my sasumaa and her sister ruled the roost, the two men always got the creamiest portion of anything. On festive days the women made scrumptious daalpuris; the old man was served six, his son about ten, while we women had to remain content with a piece each!

On yet another occasion during family dinner only daal and drumsticks in tangy mustard paste (plus rice of course) were on the menu. Suddenly somebody discovered that the curry was spoilt (due to the heat perhaps), and unfit for human consumption. Thereafter in a flurry of activities, the men ate the daal chawal; we women had none. Can’t eat rice with nothing. Besides, who would cook afresh close to bedtime? That night I went to bed ravenously hungry, as I had eaten nothing since lunch!

That’s considered quite alright as far as Indian mothers and wives are concerned! These occurrences are commonplace in most households, although situations vary. Let me give you more examples.

We Bengalis buy a lot of fish for daily consumption. And as most of you know the ‘fish head’ is a highly coveted commodity when woven into myriad savoury dishes. Naturally, they are earmarked for the males in the family, unless of course any one or more of these gentlemen choose to opt out.

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Wait, there is more: in an average Indian (non-vegetarian) home with limited resources and many children, often siblings are known to scramble and spar over who will eat the leg piece or the breast piece from a bowl of yummy chicken curry. Mothers, nine times out of ten, are likely to bestow it upon the boy/s, cajoling the sister/s (if there are any) to give it up “for the brother”!

Trust me I harbour no rancour or bitterness towards menfolk per se, but the subtle discrimination is a tad hurtful. Anyway I may be barking up a wrong tree… I doubt if such women are listening…

Image source: YouTube/ short film Ghar ki Murgi

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About the Author


Am a trained and experienced features writer with 30 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...

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