Have you ever seen your mother sit down with a plate of food without being coaxed or forced? Have you any idea what could be your mother’s favorite food? Have you ever witnessed her having the first meal of the day while she makes sure she caters to everyone else’s choices/demands? Perhaps the answer to all these questions would be a resounding “No” as most of us have never seen our mothers sit down with her bowl of food and be at ease as there would be someone in her family to serve her a second helping in case she needs it just as she makes multiple rounds of the kitchen to get whatever her family insists upon.

Sometimes the demands may be outrageous as she might run out of supplies of the main ingredients but she would never disappoint anyone-for she has never been taught to do so!

I am always eloquent about the way I feel or want things to be and I see no wrong in that. For the past two days once the rest of the house gets into their usual routine I sit down with my plate of breakfast and my first cup of coffee unabashedly; unlike how our mothers have to put down their first cup repeatedly so that others can have theirs hot. 

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This is something that I have always failed to understand; it is like an unwritten doctrine-the best gets reserved for the men, the hottest and the freshest food lands on their plates while the undesirable, leftovers are for the women of the household. It would be a lie if I say I haven’t seen this while growing up; in our home it was taken a notch higher where the women of the household used the leftovers to give them a classy make over as if to massage their broken selves!

Once married, a woman is expected to replicate the same behavior or go a step ahead by sidelining her old traditions and give precedence to the ones that define her “new house”. Here again the concept of a “new house” is quite strange and perhaps only prevalent in India.

Does a woman really have her own house? She is persuaded into believing that from birth until marriage she lives in the house built by her father post which she’s handed over (as the literal translation of “kanyadaan” says) to her husband and his family who become her new care giver.

We have often been told that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but what about a woman’s heart? Does anyone wish to know that? Irrespective of how professionally accomplished a woman might be her prowess is still measured in the way she cooks food or nurtures her home.

While on one hand women are considered the backbone of every family on the other they are judged, berated for every frivolous matter that the society deems as parameters for well brought women and girls.

For a long time I have been appreciated and perhaps loved a little by some of the members at my “new home” because I cook well. To add to this societal achievement of mine I could replicate dishes that were alien to me previously. And that was a double whammy! However with time this love and appreciation soon got restricted to my culinary endeavors. And eventually I had enough of these pseudo appreciators of mine.

Today as I sit with my third cup of coffee with all the household chores taking a backseat for sometime I realize how magnanimously our mothers contribute to the overall social fabric of the society and yet how deprived they remain. And they do all this silently, happily, nonchalantly. 

They do not expect anything in return or I guess that is what we wish to believe in until someone ushers in that much desired change of perspectives! 

Also read by the author: I Had The Last Helping of Food Last Night and I Did Not Feel Guilty…

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