The Great Indian Kitchen

Somebody had the audacity to portray what exactly happens in most of the Indian Kitchens.  Not a movie on Culinary wonders, let me clarify that. If you want to know what happens in the kitchens of India, watch this movie. I wouldn’t say every household is like this, but still 90% of family is like this only. Slight changes will be there if the family consists just husband and wife or if the family is a bit more “progressive”. But otherwise it is ditto what happens in every Kerala household.
The movie The Great Indian Kitchen begins with an unnamed young woman passionately dancing. She marries an unnamed man soon enough and moves into her husbands house as the custom dictates. No character except the servant has a name in this movie. This is to show that the situation does not belong to a particular family but every single one.

If you are not familiar with the culture and tradition of India, I will give you a gist.
# Most of the time, the actions of the girl child is judged by the phrase  ‘behave yourself, you are to be married off to a good family’.
# After marriage the bride has to leave her family and move in to her husband’s house. ( a few cultural  groups are exempted)
# More often than not this house includes grandfather, grandmother, father, mother and husband. Sometimes husband and wife move out and live in separate house.
#Indian Culture basically preaches dependency. Like when we are younger they teach us that you are depended on your parents. Once the boy or girl becomes the age they are taught two different things. To a boy they say ; you have to earn a job and take care of your parents and wife and grandparents if they live with you. To a girl they say; start learning cooking, learn to drape a saree and complete the course with good marks. Because if your husband’s family agrees then you can get a job.
# Not even once in the life chart independence is written. If you are a kid, you are depended on your parents, if you are an adult with a job then your parents are depended on you, if you have kids they are depended in you. If you become older you are depended on your kids. There is not  a moment in your life where you live for yourself.

I am not against family values or relationships. I love my parents so much. But my problem is against the system which teaches you dependency. Which indirectly ask you to live for others only. I mean everyone  needs a break right?
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Back to the movie. This is the most realistic movie I have ever seen. The movie is 99.9% life and .1 % fantasy. I have read so many comments on the movie saying
1. The movie so lagging
2. Some scenes are repetitive that it’s boring.
Dude, that’s the whole point if the  movie. That’s how a housewife’s day goes. It’s repetitive. It’s boring. People make her do the same chores everyday. They tell her it’s her duty, her responsibility, her role as woman. They ask her to be proud of her life. They manipulate woman in thinking that they are doing the worthiest thing she can ever do. By failing to do the that she is failing herself and the whole womanhood. She is disappointing not just her family but the whole society.
I know this because I have faced many of the things said in the movie. My friend said that she had similar experience as well.
I have talked to a bunch of girls about this movie and they all said that  they are scared to get married after watching that movie. Not because the movie puts you in an uncertainty, but in a certainty. This is how your life is going to be after marriage. Proposals will be like ‘will you be the partner for life? Everything will be shared and we will be equally contributing to our life and family’. Now the hidden message here is
‘ equality is like you do one thing and I will do the other. You cook, I’ll eat. You wash, I’ll wear. You clean, I’ll enjoy, you work, I’ll work too. You do the chores after work, I’ll rest after work.’
I am not being negative, this is what happens in majority if the families.

The “progressive” families in kerala have the attitude that “We will let our daughter-in-law or Wife work even after marriage “. Now what happens is the woman have to get up early, do all the chores, prepare break fast and lunch and go to work. Return from work, do the chores, cook tea and snacks and dinner. That too with minimum or no help from her partner.  I have heard older people say men cooking and helping woman in the chores is so humiliating for himself. It’s not at all manly.
Cleaning,cooking and taking care of babies are the duties of woman only. Doing those makes a man weak and less manly. A generation of people thinks this and propagates the same. But fortunately present generation doesn’t think so. They think a little more clearly and logically. Men have realized that cooking is not a gender role but a life skill. That’s why majority of the men knows almost everything. They do it all the time when they live alone. They clean their own plates, clothes and room. They cook everything from common rice and curry to Biriyani. But once they get married, they forget everything. They cook occasionally, when they are free and feels like cooking, which happens once in a month or so. They cook only specials for special days. Only if they have the mood. But women doesn’t have that freedom. She can’t cook only if she have mood. She have to cook no matter what.

I once had a discussion with my friend about these topics and I asked him. Will you help your wife in chores.
He said ‘If I have job and I am tired then no’.

What if your wife have job and she is tired or sick?
‘If she is sick then she doesn’t have to do it either’.

Oh That’s good. So what about the chores?
‘We can order food, and she can wash the clothes tomorrow or day after tomorrow. I won’t force her to do anything anyway’.

Still you won’t do it huh. ‘Why is it necessary that I should do it. Why are you forcing me?’

Oops. Sorry. Nope.. Nothing.
So that’s how his mind worked.

Getting back to the movie. It’s basically a movie on a woman cooking and cleaning. Many people had positive response to it as well. There were some people who understood that the effect of this movie is for a week maximum. Many men said that they will change for a week or so, after that they will be the same old them. So make the best out if it and involve husbands in doing chores. It’s a relief to see there are men who see things clearly and acknowledges it. They give us the hope of a better tomorrow.
I know a lot of people who believes feminism means ‘Man-hating’.  People consider being a feminist as such a bad or worse thing. In a world of such people, the men who are educated and rational are clearly a blessing. Every single person is responsible for what happens in this world today. We cause it in one way or the other. Most of the time a woman can’t cut her own hair. She needs the permission of her father, mother, brother, grandparents, (after marriage) husband and in laws most of the time. She doesn’t have rights on her own hair. Also cutting a long hair short can get you in trouble and a lot of judging. May be that’s a topic for another time. Till then I would suggest you to watch The Great Indian Kitchen if you want to see the absolute reality. Ciao…

6 thoughts on “The Great Indian Kitchen

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