The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. How cliched does that sound! The days when people reckoned a woman’s place was in the kitchen while men went to ‘work’ and bore the household expenses — is history! These traditional gender roles are perhaps as antiquated as the belief that the earth was flat.
A couple of decades ago, most men would enjoy the comforts of their homes, safe and secure in the knowledge that their mothers would take care of it all. She would feed everyone, including their fully grown sons, who would then head straight into marital bliss – hopefully with a wife who’d extend the same benevolence.
But those days are bygones now. Welcome to reality, dear men! You are going to spend many, many years on your own, and you must assume responsibility for feeding “yourself”. In the interests of survival, men really must learn how to cook their own food.
Empower your sons – teach them to cook
To all the mummas out there – begin by teaching your sons how to cook. It is an essential life skill and he’s going to need it most when he goes off to college and is staying on his own. He will need it even more when he takes up a job and finds himself in a different city.
Your ‘little boy’ needn’t be a master chef, but the basics are important; not being dependent on anyone for your nutrition is imperative. Best of all, one doesn’t need fancy and expensive gadgets, pots, pans, spices, ingredients or knives to cook simple yet tasty food. Besides, the heady feeling of eating something that you have cooked yourself has its own kind of satisfaction; a different kind of high.
And guess what? A man who knows how to cook is that much more “marriage material” – an added bonus! For all you know, your life partner–the lady of your dreams–may have an even more demanding career than you do. Obviously, she is not going to spend time in the kitchen or even have the time to do so. Therefore, push your boundaries, make a little shift in the paradigm and know your spices just like you know your beer.
Empower your daughters – teach them to ride
To all the fathers out there – teach your daughters to drive young. Transportation is going to be the wind beneath her wings. The freedom to move when and how she pleases is a deeply underrated subject, one that has shattered many a dream. Just the thought of being able to move without depending on anyone is emotionally liberating. In the enthusiasm to protect your daughters or other women members in the family, do not curb an essential need — of being able to move or travel as desired.
Why does everyone seem to remark that women make poor drivers? ‘Poor women drivers’ will automatically reduce when girls are taught to drive young. The younger they are taught – the more adept they will be. Driving in India’s road conditions is a precision skill that demands practice. It is certainly not a skill that is is gender specific.
I once knew a family friend’s daughter who drove her fathers brand-new sedan like nobody’s business! The expression on her father’s face — the deep pride in his eyes said it all. He firmly believed kudiya nu uddna chahida – girls need to fly. Needless to say, his daughter dented the car a couple of times but in the bigger scheme of things, it really didn’t matter, did it? She learnt driving and she learnt it well. She made mistakes just as we are all wont to make, but it must never stop one from going ahead and doing what is necessary.
Above all, it is time to rethink traditional gender roles and maybe, men will even enjoy their role in the kitchen. It might all just begin with an encouraging hand from their mothers who must also make sure their daughters learn to work the steering and brakes.