The other day I was talking on the phone to one of my friends from college- my degree days to be precise. We were chatting about life in general, and she asked me what was cooking for dinner. It being a Friday, I told her mostly TS would get back home and end up cooking or we’d order in. And she went, “Oh! You’re so lucky he does that! My husband doesn’t.” I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to get into an hour long lecture or argument with her. I am tired of asking peoeple to please tell me how the fact that my husband cooks on some days has a bearing on my luck. I don’t get it. People normally assume, that in a marriage a woman’s role is to cook and clean and keep house and take care of her husband’s needs, and the man’s role is to simply earn money. Forget the fact that the woman is also earning and does as much work as the man. That doesn’t count. If a woman doesn’t cook, she’s a bad wife, her mother didn’t bring her up right and what not (again notice how the blame falls on the mother).
I have had both mine and TS’s families also commenting on me “making” TS cook. And I try not to argue because no amount of argument is going to change their minds. But the dynamic of the relationship I have with TS is totally different. TS doesn’t consider his cooking a favour that he has kindly decided to bestow on me. He loves cooking and pottering around in the kitchen and he is undoubtedly better than me in cooking certain dishes. And some days, he knows that I am way more tired than he is and that I would rather sit and read or catch an episode of CSI than get into the kitchen and cook. And I don’t think I’m lucky either just because TS cooks. I don’t see the reason why I should.
My parents never bought me up to believe that my place in life would be restricted to the kitchen. In fact, having to cook was one of the things that they taught me was essential when I would start working and living on my own. Even then I had pretty much zilch knowledge of cooking when I got married to TS. I loved to cook but I would get into the kitchen and try to see what Mom was doing only when I was in the mood for it. And Mom never insisted. I learnt to cook a few dishes in the month before my wedding and that was it. I started clueless about how to cook or shop for groceries or buy fish or anything like that. Excpet for the rare occassion where I would buy stuff for my Mom on my way back from college or accompany her on her grocery shopping, I had no clue about all these things at all.Yet me and TS somehow managed to figure everything out on our own once we started our lives here. Cooking was crazy for me initially. I used to be on the phone with Mom for hours asking her all kinds of questions while trying to make sambar or some such dish. TS would also pitch in with his expertise and we would whip up something. Even today, after more than two years of marriage, I still have to call up Mom for certain recipes. That doesn’t mean I’m am awful cook. I do whip up stuff on my own. I create my own recipes. I watch cookery shows and read cookbooks and make dishes that TS and I like. Its just that I don’t consider cooking to be my forte.
When I was at home and not working, I used to do the bulk of all the household chores. Even then, TS was totally cool if I told him I wasn’t in the mood to cook one day and would rather order in. Today, since I’m also employed we share all our household chores. Cleaning is my forte since I’m the cleanliness freak and even if TS does a good job we both know I’d do it all over again. TS does the ironing most days. If he’s not in the mood for it I do it and he cooks. We do the laundry together. He washes the dishes, I fold the clothes, we both shop for groceries. Never have I felt that the bulk of household chores were on my shoulders. We both do it and we both don’t consider it a huge deal. TS never makes it a huge deal if he helps me out and I don’t think I’m blessed to have such a wonderful husband. After all even I learnt all this stuff only in the past two years.
Truth be told. TS has been cooking for longer than I have. And yeah most days I don’t even get him breakfast. He either gets it himself or chooses to eat at someplace close to his office. I don’t wake him up in the mornings either. Its the other way round. Yeah, I know I sound like the antithesis of what a typical Indian wife should be like, but thats the way I am. And no I don’t think it makes me a bad wife either. Just like TS is used to a routine, I am too. And just because one fine day I happen to find myself married I don’t think I should alter my whole life and personality to match TS’s and neither do I demand it from him. And me and TS have found ways to make our life work. We don’t blame each other or try to assert our superiority over the other. We don’t point fingers and try to hold just onee person responsible for things. We are in this togethr and we are both equally responsible for the things in our life. We just work out something that works for both of us and in spite of our small fights and even our big ones, we do just fine. Our arrangement of “division of labour” suits us perfectly, and if people want to comment on it, they are free to. But sorry, we both don’t want to include luck into the equation. No thanks!!