My mornings are pathetic. Like all the ladies out there, juggling work and family; with crying toddlers or school going kids, with angry teenagers, or nerdy university-going grown-ups, and not to forget a difficult child-like adult heading for work — our mornings are worse than any migraine headache.
Working or stay-at-home mums and wives are simply cursed, minus a few exceptions here and there. And I have my reasons for this generalised, fleeting comment.
The person I live with, meaning my better half, as they say, suffers from a severe case of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). He is not the neat freak, but the one-track, fixated, neurotic kind. An overgrown child with loads of demands.
My son, the exact replica!
Before I go further and pose to be the insensitive one, I must clarify that he and his son are sort of intellectually above the genius category. At least, so they claim, and I reluctantly accept, and try to find some sense of reasonability and semblance of truth in their whimsical, wacky ways of life.
I would, however, go on the record saying that hubby dearest is a talented cartoonist, writer, music composer, and an okay journalist. And the son — a budding wannabe.
It is taken, and like all social norms that were fed to me at an early age and I accepted, all gifted people are, to some extent, batty. So, I agreed to pamper their zaniness, and made the mistake of all mistakes.
The husband is the ‘know-it-all’ of ‘all know-it-alls.’ There is no topic, in fact any at all, that he is not an expert of, starting from gardening to health issues, to fitness regimens, to the country’s energy resources — he is ‘the’ expert. The tragedy, I feel, is that I get these free expert opinions all the time and they are beginning to give me vertigo after almost 25 years with him.
His morning starts with a cup of strong black tea, ginger, and a hint of green bay leaves to add the flavours (I must meekly admit that a cup does come to my bedside table too). But nothing is free in this world, the romantic gesture is heavily laced with lectures on exercises, or the lack of it.
Anyway, I find the tea sweet in every sense of the word, and as I sip and put on a lazy smile, his sermons fall on my deaf ears. I am the happy old lady going upstream!
The talk on antioxidant properties of fruits and fibres of leafy vegetables are for breakfast, added to that is how ghee and butter is a must-have item on the menu for his keto-mornings, but a big no-no on his cheat-days. However, before keto, the fixation, it was on how the breakfast should be indeed like a king with rotis, parathas, luchis, halwas, bhaji, niramish, dums, omelettes and assortments of cheese.
Going into an attacking tangent, the lectures then fall on how my carb intake will kill me soon, (just to add that his ketosis is only four months old), how lying in the bed playing candy crush will be the end of our world, or how a cheese-less breakfast is the beginning of the end of my failure at home management.
Then comes the maid — frantically asking for instructions on what would be ideal for “sir’s packed lunch,” because potato croquets the other day was sacrilegious, the vegetables with pointed gourd and eggplants were unsavoury, the steamed fish smelled, and frittatas are done to death.
Somehow, after the household manages to feed this one person and bid him a good day, I sit down with my ghee toasted biscuit and tea, happy in the thought that dinner is far, far away and that it’s not the weekend today, and that my poor baby is ordering in Chinese food at some distant far-away land, however, not without a streak of guilt.
It beats me why feeding the family in a Bengali household is such a hassle? And why am I doing it for years at a stretch, and strangely finding it funny in some twisted kind of order?
We, the Bengali mums and wives, are the martyred kind. We must slog and slave away at the kitchen, simply because we were conditioned from a young age that to gain a place in our man’s, and now add children’s to that old adage, heart, is through their big stomach. Elaborate lunches, snacks, weekend brunches, seasonal goodies and festival food, and even midnight munchies, our kitchens are the one place that never sleep.
Seriously, women! Wake up, or go back to sleep in this case. Teaching your daughter, or son, and husband, to make pasta or a sandwich, or ‘beef bhuna’ and khichuri would not make you a wicked person, the insensitive mother, or a vile wife.
And that if there are no raisins and nuts, or cheese and yoghurt for snacking, let the message be clear: “you go get it!”
Don’t wait for us. We are at the salon doing our nails after a long day’s work. And oh! I almost forgot, we are hungry too.
Ending on that liberating note, I say please read Star Lifestyle’s special poems on goddess Durga and the vigour of her third eye and how our stories evolved through time, beginning with the goddess of all genres and how we must keep progressing and adapting through all moments in time.