Updated: Jun 16, 2021
Piyu and I planned to visit Mumbai so she phoned her mom and instructed "we’re coming, do not cook!" We booked two auto Rikshaws one for two of us and the other one for kitchen trolleys which were extras because our rented apartment already has pre-installed. Until now, the trolleys were kept outside the door where usually shoe racks are kept. It was accumulating dust, hair, and whatnot. Recently, we deep cleaned our house as we clean it every year before monsoon arrival — we also cleaned trolleys in the process and decided to ship it to Versova! 🤨
It was Sunday morning — humid and cloudy. We were waiting for Rikshaws near the gate. “There will be showers today”, I forecasted like a weatherman. “Nope!” she said with an equal conviction. I asked “because?”. She blurted “It won’t shower till it has enough attention “. True, just like you, I thought, and we got ourselves into auto after shoving trolleys inside the rickshaws.
The street looked less dense than usual — predominantly with men in their three-fourth shorts. Many were standing in a queue with their grocery bags outside meat shops (Thane is full of Sunday-only-mutton-eating-population) and few others riding sports bikes (bicycles). “Cycling on Sunday is very cool! Isn’t it?” I said enviously. “Yeah, while their wives cook mutton and slog in the kitchen” she snapped. There was an apparent reality in her words which I never thought of. It changed the way I looked at those bike-riding men. With a guilty expression on my face, I plugged in my earphones to listen to a podcast. I pretended to listen, but a few seconds into it, and 'the great Indian kitchen' film started playing in my head. The movie that shook me and probably the conscience of many. The details captured in the movie are outrageous and might make you feel uncomfortable depending on how oblivious you are when you are at home. The bike-riders reminded me of one particular scene from the movie where the male actor was practicing yoga while his wife toiled in the kitchen. Practicing yoga or riding a bicycle or listening to a podcast on Sunday seems perfectly fine, right? It does indeed, except if you're doing it on someone else’s energy, and that someone could be your wife or it could be your mother or sister.
We reached Piyu's parent's house by noon only to find her retired father reading the newspaper while her mom was preparing a noon meal in the kitchen. Looking at the trollies, he started pouring questions one after another. We sensed his excitement and the ideas he had. Strangely enough, he is obsessed with newspapers and loves to preserve heaps of old newspapers, weekly, and monthly magazines. He was looking for anything which would accommodate this treasure of his. Spoiling his ideas and without entertaining him much, we moved forward to install it in the kitchen where it belonged. Her mom on the other hand felt relieved after seeing there was less clutter in the kitchen, although she was a bit hesitant initially about the new space occupying furniture in her house. While arranging all that, the Great Indian Kitchen was still playing in my head, and pondered over why can't we see things?.
Piyu often asked me why can't men see things that are right in front of them while women can spot without even looking at them? To be honest, I didn't have the answer. I think We men have become so ignorant that even though we wish, we cannot see what's happening around us especially at home. However, we men are quite the observant kind at times when it's least required. Like the other day, I and a bunch of others were playing carrom at the elevator passage of our building when suddenly our attention was caught abruptly by a mob of beautiful women who came to visit their friend in the nearby flat. They were laughing and giggling on something of their own. The men in my company, however; kept staring at the women as if something was stolen from them. One of them couldn't help but remark "No one's under their 40!". I was shocked to listen to something like that. Why is it that someone visiting their friend becomes our business while we disown ours at home? Why we men never fail to either be misogynistic or enable misogyny?