I love eating. But I hate cooking just as much. Every person who doesn't like to cook is going through this dilemma during the lockdown. We are all missing the tasty bahar ka khana. But we are also too lazy to get into the kitchen to make that white sauce pasta we are craving for.
And if by mistake, you are a girl living in 2020 India, who is expected to live by the norms that belong to the 19th century, it only gets worse. Because now craving is not your biggest problem. You also have relatives who have nothing to do, so they constantly poke you to know whether you have learned to cook or not. So basically most young women who don't like to cook today are stuck inside their homes, with limited options, pesky relatives and the pressure to finally get their rotis round.
We asked some such women how the lockdown has forced them into the kitchen and how they are dealing with having to eat what they cook.
No more 'I am too tired to cook' excuse
Nitika is a 23-year-old software engineer living in Noida. She says, "It was easier to escape the kitchen work when I had to go to the office daily. I always had the 'I am tired' excuse. But now, every day my mother and I argue at least twice a day about why I don't want to cook. I have even learned how to make dal. But the more I cook, the more I despise it. The only reason I am still doing it is that I don't want her to be doing all the chores alone."
Would learn cooking if you learn basketball
Roli Rajpali, an 18-year-old from Bhopal is a student at Delhi University. Roli was an all-rounder in school. But somehow cooking never fit into the plethora of activities that she pursued when she was in school. "I was a very active kid. I am a trained classical dancer and was the captain of my school basketball team. Even now in college I am a part of several activities. But when it comes to household, I simply hate cooking. I just cannot stand in the kitchen for that long. My mother understands me. But it is really difficult for my relatives to mind their own business. No matter what I do, I will be an 'ideal girl' only when I can cook well! like, who even made these rules?"
She further adds, "I have had so many relatives during this lockdown telling my mom to teach me how to cook in free time. I just tell them if you learn basketball, I will learn to cook. Some of them haven't called again. Of course, my mother later told me off for being disrespectful. But worth it, I have had enough!"
Cooking surplus food at once
Leena Agarwal is a teacher from Meerut. She says that she always hated cooking. "Even before my marriage, I had made it very clear to my husband. He didn't have many issues with it either. We have always had a maid. But now we have to do it all by ourselves. Cooking thrice a day is extremely stressful and hectic. I would prefer to take three extra classes than cook thrice a day. If I start cooking thrice a day, there would be no time for anything else! So what I do instead is I make lunch and breakfast together. This way I have to cook only twice. And anyway, what are refrigerators for?"
By the time food is ready, you are no longer hungry
Shreya Singh from Delhi is an Economics Student studying at the University Of Delhi. She says, " Cooking as a hobby is a different thing. Cooking once a day is also okay. But cooking thrice a day to feed an entire family is a huge task. I don't prefer getting food delivered. Because it can bring germs to the house. So, we have to cook. We don't have a choice. But the thing about cooking proper food for everyone is that it takes an extremely high amount of time and toil. By the time the food is prepared, you don't even feel hungry anymore. You are too tired and not to mention annoyed, to eat anything. And eating is not the last task. You also have to do the dishes later!"
She further adds, "So, what we do is we divide the work. My mother makes the sabzi, because obviously, nobody else can be trusted with it. My dad kneads the dough and I make the rotis. And my favourite part is that my younger brother does the dishes. It is really satisfying to see him do the dishes."
The thing about cooking proper food for everyone is that it takes an extremely high amount of time and toil. By the time the food is prepared, you don't even feel hungry anymore.
Well, we know cooking is not meant for everyone. While some do like it, for others it is pure torture. This is basically why the civilised world came up with the concept of division of labour. So that everyone gets to do things they are good at and they like to do. (The fact that Indian parents don't understand the 'bizzare' concept of doing what you like is a different thing.) But it is times like these that we realise that cooking is a life skill. Everyone (the word is not gender-specific) should learn basic skills so that they can survive even when there is no one to support them.
Ayushi Aggarwal is an intern at SheThePeople.TV