Sunday, June 1, 2014

If you can't cook & clean, who are you?

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This was the question that shocked me most in my life & it took me almost one year to recover from that shock just to be able to write about it.

A well educated man, who was a potential lover for me, living in the land where it gave birth to feminism; France, asked this question from me in 2013. It was a question well timed, finely uttered which made me feel horrible. I, who hold two university degrees, who sacrificed many "fun" things around me for my studies went blank in front of such a question which made my throat so dry. I saw red flames in front of my eyes, You have to believe, I saw them for real !

Yet, I could not defend myself because I was actually not good at cooking or cleaning last year. This question influenced me to leave my books aside to look at Internet food recipes & practice cleaning skills much needed. After excelling in cooking & cleaning, today , I have the right to talk about this question , with a certain confidence. 

First of all, I have forgiven this person who asked me this question, forgiven in the name of Love, because there was no personal attack there, as he is a great cook, himself, who brought me really good food prepared by him. But, it is still interesting to look at the state of the woman in modern society & her role expected in the marriage. Because, I may be not the only person who heard that question in life. 

I, although from Asia, even with a very traditional background was never taught to cook & clean because it was my mother who looked after those matters till we grew up. She criticized me for my stubbornness for not making an attempt to cook , even warned me for the shame I will have to go through in a future marriage if I only practice eating always. I never thought cooking & cleaning are things that need too much attention, if I had known it, I would have taken lessons on that perhaps continue to do a PHD on that matter. 

Having said that, I feel so sorry for my mother who is an expert in cooking & cleaning , who has great talents & great passion for that.   But, she stopped there, her skills are limited there. She never got the opportunity to go beyond those talents because she was never bothered to try out. I also feel so sorry for my dear sisters  whose husbands never make at least an attempt to prepare a tea for them. I also feel sorry for my dear friends who keep on making food for their boyfriends, who would never ever get at least a sandwich from them.
Now, when I mix some spices here & there , making awesome curries, roasting Tandoori chicken & baking weird cakes, people really appreciate me, even the person who asked that question, I silently wondered 

 "Am I a real woman now?"  "Who  am I ?"

I have a big problem fitting into the image given to the woman & her expected skills in life. I don't complain about cooking & cleaning, I want food to eat, I prepare them , I can't live in a pigsty always, I clean my room whenever I feel like. But, it does not mean cooking & cleaning are my hobbies. I don't have a problem with girls who like those stuff, it is not demeaning for womanhood, but I have a problem when men expect the same things from me, the same things they see in other women. Go and find a cook, I would love to say.  I am saying again, I don't have a problem with the two skills, cooking & cleaning.
I will make your tea or scrape the coconuts with great love only if you don't ask for it, because it is my choice to do it, but expect me to be the tea making woman, you would dearly get a cup full of pee & a coconut directly on the head!

But, something stops me, the fear, the fear of failing to impress my lover or my future husband. 

I am afraid he would leave me for a plate of food or for a spotless toilet!    
I am afraid he would hurt me for talking about this issue, that woman is more than a spicy Dhal curry, that a woman can be a better Dhal curry!
I am afraid he would call me lazy, unorganised & not feminine even though I have tendencies towards them!

I am afraid love is not enough to satisfy a man, pure love, spiritual love, hot love, cold love what ever you call it, love is not enough to satisfy a man.

It is just OK because we get hear awkward but funny questions in life. 

Nabilla Benattia, a reality TV personality, became a celebrity in one night, after this famous question :

"Er, hello ! I mean, like, hello ? You're a girl, and you got no shampoo. Hello. Hello ! I dunno, are you getting me ? You're a girl, and you got no shampoo ? It's like I'd say : you're a girl, and you got no hair".

Even though, she uttered it in utmost stupidity, when we read it closely, leaving behind the fun part, there is a certain truth  there, like the question I faced. Women are still expected to fulfill the image given to them & they take immense pleasure of doing it & complaining about it at the same time too. She complains society for making her a victim, but then she does not understand her potential, that she could be the change that she wants to see in women. Would she dare? 

Finally , I just want to say , I am born as a woman, nature could not stop it, but then I don't want to act like a "woman" , in many instances. I sincerely, don't like to be reminded of my gender, neither I am proud of it, nor I am ashamed of it. I don't want to be a great woman, I don't want to be a bloody slut. I am, just me, a human , accept me, as I am. I am searching for myself, because It's important to me, find the person in me, before someone else give me a title, cook, cleaner etc. Therefore , who are you ? is indeed a difficult question, I don't think many can answer that question.

I am a void, I decide who I am & who I am not.
I don't have to tell it to you, that is my confident conclusion.





By Jahooli Devi
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