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January 17, 2020

How does the cooking practise of Indians hamper the national growth?

India is a country of spices. And Indians are the people of high obsession towards luscious foods. The list of options that we have for our meal is by far the biggest when compared to that of any other people in the world. While on one hand this is something that we, as Indians, are often proud of, it is a lesser known fact that it is also the main cause of setback of the nation across various realms.

Indians (especially women) spend a lot of time in cooking – one thing that most of the Indians could never compromise. Morning coffee, breakfast, lunch, refreshments in the evening and finally dinner. This is how the daily routine of most women and some men in India is scheduled out to be. The major part of the day is spent on cooking in preparing the perfect food that the family could enjoy each day. Thus we lose an insanely high number of valuable brains in the kitchen and in the serving tables without even realising it. This is a big hit and backlog to the country and it is quite surprising that it’s not talked about much.

It has been identified that women in India associate for just 5 percentage of the overall workforce of the country. Out of 323 total executive directorship positions on the Bombay Stock Exchange 100, just eight (2.5 percentage) are held by women. This huge lag is found to be due to several causes out of which ‘mentality’ is believed to be the primary – the common Indian mentality that women are meant for household chores and men are meant for outdoor duties.

Though this is undergoing a change in the recent years with women contributing for a workforce of about 30% in the IT sector (as of 2016), the phase of this change is not yet satisfactory. Sadly, even in 2018, a dominant crowd believes that the kitchen is where women belong to. This has to change at first place.

Let us break this down into a simple example to understand the problem better. Consider that we have a classroom of 50 men and 50 women out of which only 30 can participate in an intra-college cycling championship which is about to happen next week. Out of 50 men in the class, it is found that 13 are pretty good at cycling, 7 are novice and the remaining 30 do not have any prior experience or skill on cycling. Same is the case with women (13-7-30). So now, it could be concluded that the class has a decent set of talented people who can participate in the contest with 26 men and women who can cycle well and the missing numbers can be fine-tuned by training any 4 among the novice part of the mass. This gives a greater chance for the class to do well in the championship.

However, the college now imposes a new rule that only 5 women are allowed to participate in contest from each class and the rest has to be men, because women are considered to be ‘unfit’ for outdoor activities like cycling. This pushes the class to a situation where we now only have 18 (13+5) students who are good, 7 who are novice and the missing gap of 5 people should be repleted with men who literally know NOTHING about cycling. Now, it is very much likely that the class will not win a single trophy in the championship. 

This is exactly what is happening with India. With little or no consideration to willingness or inherent skill, men are always pushed outdoors to work for the family, while the women are almost every time pushed into the kitchen tagging it as ‘the best place’ for them. Both turn out to be two different problems. Both men and women now tend to do what they don’t like, upon compulsion. Men do the job that they hate, while the women follow the traditional routine and exhaust their veins out for cooking 4 meals.. every.. single.. day! And the end of the dawn, there is no ‘self’ time left for either of them to realise or work towards their inherent self, keeping them subtle and lame. Forever.

A possible argument could be this:

At the end of the day, aren’t we humans in need of food to survive? What’s wrong about spending time on cooking a satisfying meal?

True indeed! As humans, we need food to survive. But where we actually go wrong is that when we spend more time in cooking than any other people in the world because we are very much fond of ‘varieties’ in our food. For example, for a simple lunch in South India, the so-called housewives often cook rice, sambar, rasam, sabji, and fried papad which takes around 3 hours to make. The worst part is that this then becomes an every-day routine. Whereas, in most of the countries like Australia and USA, people don’t like to spend more time on cooking food. Rather, they prefer to intake fresh vegetables as like salads most of the time. This also keeps them fitter and healthier than we are. Or the other option would be to marinate, mix, bake and eat. They look at the time spent on cooking as a time spent on vain. This is a part of the cultural difference.

India thus loses a lot of good brains of women even without knowing it. Just because a woman is meant to do ‘it’. Hence, this becomes both unfair and unethical. It is high time that we should start thinking about spending lesser time at the kitchen (sharing the minimal work between the husband and wife without any shame) with some sacrifice over literal whole-day meals. By doing so, both get the ample time for self-improvisation both in the family and in the society.

The point is not to avoid cooking completely, but not to consider it as the only purpose of life like we usually do. We could often hear a part of our people saying “what else do we live for?” during discussions about food and don’t mind spending half a day just for a perfect Biriyani. That’s what is observed to be a unacceptable trait. Because, at the end of the story, life is something more than just about having good food on-time.

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