It’s not about hot hot chappaties.

Somewhere in the blogosphere …

The topic of discussion : Some women make hot chappaties for their family and finally eat alone only when everybody else has eaten.

The comment: But, if a woman loves to give “garam garam roti” to her husband and kids without any compulsion, straight or oblique, then we should not snatch her joy by being judgmental in a superior sort of way. It is not what you do but why you do what you do that is important. / Did I say there is anything wrong in the whole family eating together? It is something to be cherished…but if someone follows a different way, without compulsion ..

Why this bothers me:

1. We all know how much real choice do Indian women have in most matters, so let’s not even talk of no compulsion, oblique or straight.
Is it really okay for a woman to have cold chappaties after the family has eaten ?
Why should one family member ignore their own comforts?
Does she feel this will make her more likable ?

2. It also means that the girl who does not stand in the kitchen making hot chapatties for her family and is perhaps a little less willing to suffer for them, is not as good …

3. But most of all it shows that the men and the children in that family feel no compunction in allowing this sacrifice. Why don’t the sons, the daughters, the husbands and the in laws put their foot down and refuse to let her eat alone?

Obviously she believes that they can enjoy a meal without her?
What in their attitude made her believe that they will not mind her eating alone, after they have all eaten?


The Comment:we should not be judgmental and disturb the harmony that exists.

The biggest myth is this harmony. There is no harmony here, or else we will not have anonymous blogs, emails and comments from wives, daughters in law and girls who hate this system and all that it stands for.

The Comment: At the same time, positive education is needed to ensure that discrimination based on gender, that which is in the mind, is eradicated.

Reminds me of our politicians “I condemn the dastardly acts of terrorists/violence against innocent citizens…We will /not tolerate /make sure this never happens again …
Why?
Read the next sentence!

Comment: Frankly, I feel that this thing about “equality” is being stretched too far in some cases.

How does equality NOT get stretched too far? By accepting a little equality and an occasional inequality?
As in we will allow a daughter in law to visit her parents but only twice a year…?

As in we will allow the first child to be a baby girl, but second daughters not allowed?
Or as in we will permit you to work but we will not help with house work?

The comment continues : Why should it mean only doing what men do?

How many women has this commenter seen trying to do what men do?
And what do only men do that women mustn’t?
Play football? Have careers? Be independent? Drive? Wear jeans?
Enjoy a late night outing? Be self reliant? Have fun with friends?
Refuse to live in a joint family? Love her own parents even after she is married?
Or just wish to sit and eat with the rest of the family😦

I know of real women, brought up with this sort of conditioning, who are actually annoyed that men do not have to undergo labour pains and go through nine months of pregnancy…why should the woman alone suffer, is the argument.

When I had nausea during the first trimester of my pregnancy we were at a party and this bachelor (from Haryana btw) said “All these problems happen only to city girls, in my village women go back to working in the fields soon after the baby is born.
I did not ask (always think of it later) what the Pregnancy related mortality rate in Haryanawas, but today we know why with this attitude, has Haryana got the worst girl:boy ratio in the country.

So please understand why women say such stuff. I am sure I would have loved it if this guy whose face and name I don’t remember, was given one day of my nausea.

I know you will find it silly, but try telling that to them and they will say that this discrimination exists because God is a male!

You mean, you know for sure that God has a gender!!?
Sita, Durga, Laxmi are male?
Who created a male God? Who decided that God is male?
You will never hear me say any such thing because my God is gender less🙂

Related Posts:

Stay Hungry. Stay Oppressed. – There and Their

Can a Veetodu Maapilai rightfully ask for the 4th coffee of the day or whatever he wants in his in-laws’ house? 

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave? 

117 thoughts on “It’s not about hot hot chappaties.

  1. Well this is the third time i tryin to post the same comment !!!!

    I love garma garam chapati’s. I get that chance to eat on sunday’s only !!!! as we rarely make chapati’s in the evening !!!

    My wife and mom ensure that even I sit to eat late on sundays some chapati’s are left to be served garma garam to me.

    As a turn of favour on sundays i sit with them when they sit to eat. and also serve them paan on sundays.

    But i am sure they hate me sitting with them for their meals, i always keep commenting on not to eat too much. If i sit my wife will never be allowed to eat too much and no sweets … so i am sure she doesnt want me around !!!! Lol..

    P.s : This male female indifference syndrome thankfully doesnt exist in my family !!!!

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  2. :-/

    I am not much surprised by that comment,bcoz thatz how the way people are seasoned to grow..

    You may think that i am lying or exxagerating,but trust me,i ahve gone through the attitude that it is men who work ‘so’ hard and make money and buy things for home and hence they deserve the best..If it is some special fish or like,mostly,after the first trip of dinner(men and kids) women are hardly left anything even to taste..If they are lucky,they will get some bones..I have always wondered why men in the house odn’t bother to ask “Is there fish left in the pan for you all to have’..See,IHmits not that i want a piece of that special fish,but the feeling that nobody cares if i don’t have a bit of the fish curry i prepared,it makes me feel mad and sad and frustrated..Mostly,its my MIL who says “They muct have stomach full’..See,i can understand if there is a shortage,but there is stuff inplenty but the thing in that nobody intends to keep something left for women in kitchen..

    Also, I feel frustrated when men sit on dining table for hours on end chatting,when women are waiting aside for them to move and let them have food..Only after these guys move on,we women can have food and clean plates and kitchen and make kids aleep and finally sleep for ourselves..

    Bloody male dominated world i have it around me.I am ‘blessed’ with a husband who asks me to shut up in front of others,and not to rant on my ‘modern’ secualr views on family life..

    Life is hell,just plain hell..I hate it i hate it..Just hanging on for no use..

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  3. *applause!* *standing ovation* Once again you touch upon another sensitive issue IHM!!

    ‘the women eat after everyone has eaten syndrome ‘exists in most households today…even if we were to forget what the woman wants for a moment…JUST HOW can that family not want a *family dinner* together?But then I suppose she is not considered a part of family is she?And that in itself says a lot…Or this wouldn’t happen….

    As for the ‘hamare gaon mein’/’hamaare zamaane mein'(usually by mother-in-laws )baccha hone par itna naatak nahi hota tha…”aajkal ki ladkiyon ke toh bade nakhre hain ”….

    WHAT??thinking of one’s own comfort and health becomes NAKHRA???Ensuring that one doesn’t die after such a life changing/body changing experience is selfishness?Would they rather let the mother die?After all the child’s already arrived…*I am so angry, I want to break something at this point*

    One can of course say to the thick headed/MCP ”try going through labour pains buddy!”..but what does one say to these women who HAVE been through this and still spout such crap..

    And yes ,going to the ‘Maayka’is like a luxury given only maybe once a year ,okay ,twice at the most….and that too if one has been *good*..WHAT??Is the woman a little kid who has to be rewarded and punished…?Who has to tread carefully lest the PERMISSION is taken away…??

    And personally, I do believe that God is not a woman because no woman could have made such a mess of a simple job…:D

    But on the other hand ,I loved it when a Hollywood actress said this in an interview(I think Susan Sarandon )
    Q:What will you say to God when you arrive at the Pearly Gates,when he asks you why you should enter?
    Ans:When SHE asks me…*a round of crazy applause from a pre-dominantly female audience*
    I don’t remember the answer she gave but this stuck…:D

    You go IHM!!keep rocking!Keep coming up with such topics…that force one to think..!

    PS Err…I might have submitted the same comment quite a few times…faulty mouse…:D

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  4. Reminds me of an incident where a dad changed child’s diaper in front of some women relatives and got so much appreciation. Also comments to the wife that she was lucky to get such a helpful husband who takes care of the baby.On the other hand a mom changing diaper or doing any other chores is all part of mommy duty.

    The child belongs to both but only one parent’s work is appreciated whereas for the other it is responsibility.

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  5. The problem is not just that men don’t realise all this IHM, the problem is that women accept all this! I know of women whose families want them to sit and have meals together but the women refuse to. The conditioning is so ingrained in them. I did a whole post on this if you remember about how women think feeding is a subsitute for womanly love when it’s not.

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    • my mom is one such women ..though as much as i love hot chappatis , we literally have to fight with her to make her sit… its aother story that she will not give any member of the family bigger / lesser share in anything …NO favourites at all ..and I being the eldest girl in family used to eat first (inspite of my granny , dad and bro) coz I was always first to reach when she started to cook ..my dad has served me many times in my room🙂

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    • True, very true, the problem persits only beccause the women are not taking pains to take corrective measures. We have to stand up for our rights at least for our daughterrs and daughters if not for our ownselves…How long can v keep cribbing and not take charge of our life.

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      • @ Manju Dhingra – Actually anybody who is in a position of privilege can help change this. My husband simply refused to eat until I sat with him and ate. In Nita’s comment above, her husband refused to let his mother wait until he had eaten – mothers (where ever they can, like in nuclear families) can make sure that sons are not served before the daughters and daughters in law.

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  6. Great post as always IHM. I agree with u 100%.

    And most times the onus lies on us to stand up & put our foot down.

    In our house all the chappatis get made in advance & if anyone wnats to ahve a luxury of eating hot chapatis , tnhey r to amke it themselves which never happens.

    But what r talking abt happens in many many families I know & the women there feel totally at peace with it.

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  7. Reminds me of the time my father and my brother insisted that Mom sit with them and eat. The chappatis did not have to be piping hot. She got so upset that there was a big fight. At my home, every one sits and eats together. The rotis can be microwaved and served.

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  8. I am trying to get off the floor, was rolling and laughing so hard at the comment🙂

    I would not have let that comment ruffle my feathers. Let the ignorant fool be.

    That said, it was how things were until only recently. My mom did it, we never thought to question it, my sisters still do it. I am the lucky one i guess. My husband refuses to eat before me. He won’t even serve himself before me, won’t eat a bite before I have taken my first bite.

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  9. IHM, thanks for raising the topic and making me think on it. I have always seen my siste-in-law do the same. SHe stays in ajoint family, serves food to everyone and eats alone. Wheneevr I am there I give her company and we eat together.
    I guess its the way we are conditioned, for I dont think she even gives it a thought that she is alone at the dinner table. Also, the MIL would always want things left for her sons but I wonder if she ever says that leave it for my DILs as well. My MIL doesnt even realise that she is being biased.
    I am married to an educate family, yet I see that my Bro-in-law teases his younger bro (my husband) when he asks me my opinion. My BIL always says that my hubby is a sissy who will not move without asking his wife. Ahem, they dont even know that there is something called “Mutual respect” for each other’s choices and decisions.
    Sorry to use so much of your comment space

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  10. @hitchwriter We are the same. Of late everybody is home at different times, so we do end up eating alone, but nobody stays hungry, have never done. I don’t think staying hungry benefits anybody either🙂

    For us, meal times, specially dinners are fun times, with everyone together, discussing the day, and we all lay and clear the table together …

    It also depends on the guy, you guys have the most power to end such discrimination🙂

    @Anonymous:-/ All this makes me so angry and so sad.

    … and this comment was made by a man.

    This friend told me her Mom in law used to give all the curd – something as simple as curd – to her husband and while she who loved curd, got none. She was like how could she even complain it will sound like she was being greedy or selfish!

    And sometimes the brothers in law will compete in who can eat more chappaties, so she will be cooking – hungry in the kitchen while they are having fun.
    Where will sensitivity come from then ….

    If you read the whole thing he also undermines the labour pains and the trouble women go through during pregnancy.

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  11. nice post ihm.

    men and women are different… different definitely does not mean either is superior over the other… and even if we have to get to that… if some men are more stronger… some are not… if some women are sensitive and caring… all are not…

    respecting men and women as they are without setting silly and conveniently biased boundaries for either gender is what makes more sense.

    so what if a man has to cry… and so what if a woman decides to fire a shell at the LOC!!! they still remain man n woman… our biased stereotype mentalities need a serious revamp!!!

    keep writing!

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  12. Oh! I just had to comment. You should witness the scene at my home every evening at dinner. My Mom makes all chapatis for everyone at one time and keeps them on the dining table in a box that keeps them warm. My brother and I get the veggies and curries ready in their bowls and place them on the table. My Dad serves food in everybody’s plates. That’s how the chores are divided ever since we remember. Now, Mom has this clean-kitchen fetish and can’t eat before she cleans all the counters and packs away everything. That’s when the verbal war begins. My Dad screams hoarse (helped by me and bro) at Mom to first eat. Mom says she’ll be just a minute. This goes on till my bro or I forcibly bring her out. We get scolded by Dad too, “Why didn’t you guys help? The kitchen would have been clean and all would have eaten.” But even if she eats last, she makes her rotis fresh and heats her portion of veggies/curries separately. No one has ever eaten cold rotis or anything in my home.

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  13. There is no indiscrimination !!!! really !!!! At times when we have dosa’s, now thats something we guys can roast…. and know how to make and It is a rule that the ladies eat the dosa’s first and we later….

    In the evenings every one sits together….

    I would have to ask my wife what she thinks about our house in relation to your blog !!! will let u know her opinion on monday when i log in again !!!!!

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  14. Anonymous: I’m so sorry to hear your story! I am so lucky I was born in a household where if there is little of something and not all four of us can get it, then either its just me and my bro who get it, or only my Dad goes without it. Its always been that way. My Dad never lets my Mom get into that “I am a woman so let me sacrifice” mode. He’s like, you want Surbhi to learn this attitude and keep it when she gets married, then people will trample all over her.

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  15. IHM, As I said in my comment in my blog earlier- you have answered those questions far better than I could ever have! Will comment in detail later – have to run! By the way, I should mention that my husband just cooked us breakfast – some people will probably say that ‘That is taking things too far – esp as I am a stay at home mum🙂’

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  16. Luved this post….. I hv seen, my ma, elder sister serving food to all family members but there is a difference. my ma, doesnt have to serve… we tell her to sit along but she usually does not have time to sit with us but we love to have her along….having food, gossiping etc etc. but in one of my sister’s place apparently there’s love, care, concern for her but i never saw her having meal together. I often indirectly indicated that to her..but she has a smile as repply..she serves the food with smiles which breaks my heart. I silently wish, somebody notice the soul behind the ‘smile’….BUT I feel, woman/man should DEMAND things (if necessary tactfully) if it does not come automatically.

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  17. You know, I completely disagree with the comment in RED. But then the arguments you’ve given seem to typecast all males in the same (we think we are king) category which is not the case.

    For instance,
    As in we will allow a daughter in law to visit her parents but only twice a year…?
    As in we will allow the first child to be a baby girl, but second daughters not allowed? Or as in we will permit you to work but we will not help with house work?

    NONE OF THIS HAPPENS WITH ME AND I THINK WITH MOST OF THE EDUCATED COUPLES THESE DAYS AND YES, THIS IS WRONG.

    I for one am a total believer of equality but I also appreciate the subtle differences between men and women… Like, I don’t object if my wife works and I don’t think twice before helping her on weekends. But If asked, I’d love it if my wife stays at home. Is having an opinion also Chauvinist?

    Now if you argue that because of these expectations, my wife would stay at home thinking it is her duty, then even because of my wife’s expectations, I don’t go with my bachelor friends on drinking nights.

    Following the same argument, she loves to make garam rotis for me and by the time I’m still eating, she comes and joins me half way through. When I wait for her to finish making the garam rotis, she doesn’t start unless I’m on the dinner table. She says she loves doing it. There is no expectation or an upbringing bias or anything here (She didn’t even know how to cook when we married) So what do I do? When she’s so sweet to me, even I make it up to her by getting her water when I’ve finished and she’s still eating.

    So I guess, the crime you commit here is generalising. As you said, all females are different, so are all males. But then it’s ok, I won’t go on saying, all women are like that🙂

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  18. Yet another post that makes people think hard about things they take for granted. I’m sure a lot of men don’t realise what they’re perpetuating. Sadly, conditioning ensures a lot of women don’t either.

    Long live TV Dinners!

    Cheers,

    Quirky Indian

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  19. “Some women make hot chappaties for their family and finally eat alone only when everybody else has eaten”

    This reminds me of family dinners where my grandmother would prepare all the food, serve the food, and only finally sit down and eat a (smaller portion!) herself, when everyone else had eaten. Even then she was always getting up to get people seconds…

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  20. Dear friend!😛 Well this post touched a raw nerve! It is such a universal problem isn’t it!Well, here at my home, the MIL in theory agrees that I must sit to eat with family, but,never bothers to check if i have enough or ate at all! A long standing issue,egos are at work and mind you she eats to her fill!
    Well, the hubby is seasonally aware abt my eating habits and I end up feeling sore,uncared for and downright insignificant,excdept again in theory! My blog is the place I come to to keep my sense of light heartedness and to escape the silent sadness that eats at my heart!

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    • exactly what happens to me….my mil hypocritically asks me to sit with my hubby for dinner but declares openly, this (name of dish) is for (her son)……aap bhi lo….. but again remarks loudly, made it for her son……

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      • You could talk to your husband about how unfair this is – that you are his life-partner, not his parent. Tell him your parents would always ensure that he does not feel like he was any less loved than you are. And that it is easy to respect people when we truly respect their values, these kind of family values where a new member is being ill treated (it is blatant abuse) does not build healthy relationships. If you think your in laws are matured, maybe you could talk to them too.

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      • When I was pregnant with my first child my mom in-law was visiting us and she made my favorite dosas for breakfast. I was scheduled for a blood test on empty stomach so I went into the kitchen to tell her that I would eat the dosas later. she simply told me that she made enough dosas only for the men ie my husband and father in law. She said I could eat the leftovers from last night.

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        • Let me ask , would your husband have those dosas without offering you / ensuring you also enjoy the same ?

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  21. IHM, I had posted a comment earlier – looks like it did not go through. As I mentioned in my comment in my blog – you have explained it better than I could ever have! Every point you have raised is valid and totally correct. Half of us Indians are so programmed, so culturally conditioned to these things, that we do not even realise how these seemingly ‘small things’ matter! And you are right when you say that ‘harmony’ that people speak of, is an illusion – thanks to the woman not having a voice!

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  22. I have to say (based on what I see in my own family and my now extended family) that it is mutual, unfortunately.

    My MIL runs (literally) from the kitchen to the living room just because she has to serve HOT dosas/rotis to her husband and son while they sit leg-on-leg watching TV. They take so long to finish their plate that the MIL would have finished hers by then alongside in the kitchen itself!The husband and son DONT CARE TO ASK if she even ate or not!

    In the beginning, I tried telling the son (my husband!) that he should get a little alert about such things around and take a little more interest around the house. But what I realised later is that the MIL doesnt like it! She doesnt like taking help and hence the FIL and son dont offer either! The MIL has made it a habit to make them eat hot stuff over the years and hence the FIL and son dont know otherwise!

    And trust me when I say old habits die hard! It is a mammoth of a task to get them to unlearn something. And we say kids dont learn! What about grownups?

    We (my sister and I) used to do that too in my parents’ house but my dad always insisted that my mom eat hot stuff too. Which is why he went that extra step and learned to pour dosas and some basic cooking! We were later made to learn cooking too and help mom. No wonder I feel the need to change the routine in my husband’s house!
    * stop me stop me I am rambling *

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  23. IHM I find it incredibly interesting that in all the responses to this post, where they discuss how no one eats cold food in their houses, everyone talks about the women of the house doing the main cooking. How does that chore get allocated to the women of the house? Is there some kind of gender based job allocation- cooking at home everyday is a woman thing, while the special cooking is a guy thing( also being a specialty chef). I guess it is the conditioning to thins that makes other people look at “eating after everyone has eaten” as usual and normal too.

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    • Couldn’t resist sharing a personal story.My husband was posted in a godforsaken place with no doctors or even medicines available.So when I got pregnant with my first child,it was decided that I should go to my parent’s place for the delivery .I took it upon myself to brush up my husband’s culinary skills since eating- out options were non-existent (he hitherto took great pride in the fact that he could not make a cup of tea to save his life).My brother once inquired in a letter to him whether he was making any progress.I don’t know whether my brother meant to tease him or was simply asking an innocuous question,but hubby took offense.His reply –“well not really..you see I have never had to do all this before,my mom being a very hard-working lady(implication,if a boy can cook,its usually because his mom is bone-lazy).Anyway,I think its a very boring job,and in general,fit only for the females”
      He knew I wouldn’t like his reply and so was reluctant to show me what he’d written.,so I had to read it surreptitiously (which meant I didn’t get to argue with him over what he’d written)But it sure as hell rankled for a long time!!
      When I spoke to my brother about it he laughed it off and said”to each his own!!”

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      • It’s convenient to have someone else take care of all the work that one does not want to do, and mothers (and even fathers) let little boys feel they have a right to be taken care of by the females in the family. But often, it’s also that men are as much victims of social conditioning as women are. They are raised to believe that cooking and all housework is meant only for women. As kids they are scolded and told, “Don’t be a girl” as if being a girl is an insult. Many never get over this.😦 I guess we can make sure we never allow this to continue where ever we have the power to do that.

        Did he manage to learn cook?

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      • Well IHM,he never did learn how to cook anything other than dal,chawal,scrambled egg,maggi and tea .And as of now,he is back to being proud of not being able to make a cup of tea to save his life!!

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        • But don’t allow this to embitter you Anonymous. You continue to learn newer skills and make new friends and read good books and live a full life. If you come up with ways to make him see that these rigid gender rules were created by Patriarchy, and they benefit nobody, fine, if you can’t then remember,

          “Grant me the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed;
          Courage to change that which can be changed,
          And wisdom to know the one from the other.”

          Hugs. – IHM

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  24. Can you hear a standing ovation?? Well, that comes from me, for this post. I know the resentment I used to feel back in the good old days of yore. But not now. In my own home we all sit together for meals/hot or cold.

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  25. you make your point so well! And its sad to c so many of your readers have to go thru this too.. what we tolerate within our houses!

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  26. First time posting a comment. I’ve been reading your blog for a while. I completely agree with you on this post. I am wondering what your opinion is on another related matter. This is at get-togethers/informal dinners. Most women will insist that the men should eat first (even if the men are busy drinking or chatting or whatever). If everyone is ready to eat, the men have to be served first. Why?

    Vinita

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  27. Touched on an often ignored issue, IHM. Good post. Our society has done a great job at categorizing women – if she puts herself first, BAD.. if she sacrifices perenially, VERY GOOD. Another 100 years and things may change🙂

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  28. Clap Clap, you have very aptly depicted and discussed a scene very common in Indian households. I am happy to have an H who has NEVER agreed to anyone’s pleads to have garam chapatis without me. It feels very sad to see the way our society prioritises such things in favor of men and to top it all, women dont even realise that there is something wrong with it. Also, such sacrifices are taken for granted! Forget giving a thankful gesture in return, people assume it is the underlying duty of a woman.
    It would take generations to get over this mentality, but I am glad it has started…

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  29. Brilliant observation IHM and so well-written.

    It’s all a cycle I guess, what we grow up seeing, accepting and ingraining within ourselves, never once questioning the ‘fairness’ of the situaion. And then, we take it ith us wherever we go…

    It’s only when someone takes a stand, questions it and breaks the cycle, can things be changed.

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  30. Vinita: It’s a mindset that’s difficult to change. They are so used to waiting for their husbands and eating leftovers that they can’t imagine piling on hot puris before their husbands. The least we can do is to ensure our daughters don’t grow up like that.

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  31. Even the left over food is eaten by women.Maybe women thinks if a man eats left over food, he will fall sick, what about the women who does everything and eats the left over food.When my m-law is not around i give the left over food to my hubby, he never complains,but if she is there she wont allow him to eat it.
    I remember my m-law used to give mango milk shake(which i love to have it) to my hubby in front of me and never offered to me.My hubby used to offer me when she is not around and i never tasted it nor i will.

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  32. I know… at our home, we eat together… unless, he is hungrier or i’m hungrier! then, one of us will eat 1 chapathi first and then make the rest and eat together!!
    I HATE standing in the kitchen alone and making chapathis all alone.
    For something like dosas – on a weekend – we take turns and eat so that both of us dont have to eat alone!!!
    on a weekday – I pack my breakfast in a box since I leave home early! So, invariably, my husband eats later and in front of the TV!!
    But, this is something that is so rare… I get a lot of eyebrows raised and comments and looks like – “I pity your husband”!

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  33. Varunavi, it pains me so much that your hsband doesn’t stand up for you in front of his mother. Why don’t you talk to him about how much it hurts? It’ll help you stand up to your MIL if our husband knows how much it means to you.
    Besta lukie, sweetie!

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  34. Indyeah I needed this response to confirm I wasn’t alone in my outrage, thanks!

    Solilo Many men don’t even do this much, so when we see one being a good dad, we just can’t help appreciating.

    D Yes I agree. The conditioning is really deep…😦

    Monika.Ansh In nuclear families it is easy to put our foot down. In joint families it’s almost almost impossible!

    Ritu We too microwave and heat if required, or else eat warm from the chappati box.

    Aneri_masi I hope we see a day when all women can laugh like this!

    SnScibbles (You prefer being called M?) … My next post is about JKGs like your husband and mine. Guys who treat their wives with respect have been called JKGs in India all the time.
    And brother in law will be the biggest JKG when he is married and sees the other point of view, sometimes they only understand when this happens to their own wives. You’ll see.

    Priya Thanks🙂 so what if a man has to cry… and so what if a woman decides to fire a shell at the LOC!!!

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  35. @Surbhi I agree with your dad. I have seen those who grovel get kicked, those who stand up for themselves, are the ones who find justice.

    @Hitchwriter Hey, I didn’t mean that there as any discrimination! From what you have described it sounds like she will tell you the same thing🙂

    @Smitha Proud of you for having started this discussion. How many of us go through such discrimination in the name of harmony! We need voices like yours, before we will even begin to acknowledge the wrongs. And that is just a first step, but I think it really matters as it becomes a place to rant for women to … at least they should know they need not feel guilty if they are resentful! Only thing is I seem to have hurt a commenter’s feelings …:(

    @Zakir Hats off to you for understanding and acknowledging!
    “I silently wish, somebody notice the soul behind the ‘smile’….BUT I feel, woman/man should DEMAND things (if necessary tactfully) if it does not come automatically.”
    I totally agree. Although I haven’t mentioned any names, my next post is about men like you🙂

    Like

  36. @Rakesh Read Varunavi’s comment, and the anonymous comment, you will be shocked to know what all goes on in the name of tradition/culture/family values here. You are right, all men are not like this – absolutely NO generalisations can be made, but we can’t forget that many, many men and women (not men alone, it has nothing to do with men, more to do with a biased system)…
    ‘Is having an opinion also Chauvinist? ‘ Not at all, here I am sure (from your comment and blog) that you will welcome any exchange of opinions. Unfortunately everybody is not like this.
    I was answering a comment that was attempting to justify something that is definitely very clearly wrong. If you read the comments you will see how much unhappiness this attitude causes to women.
    And my next post is an attempt to explain that there is no generalizing here … I hope you will agree with it🙂

    Like

  37. @Quirky Indian Only you can say something so meaningful so lightly🙂

    @Jess Thanks for commenting. There are thousands, no millions of women still doing the same all over India. The effect trickles down to all the girls in such families too…

    @Indyana Yes, it is a huge but not much discussed problem, because if a girl objects she is likely to be asked,”What?!! you grudge the poor hard working man some hot chapaties!”… That is why joint family system is wrong, the mothers continue to pamper their Sons – daughters are stranded amongst strangers, mostly uncaring – It makes me so angry that many of us are not even acknowledging that it is wrong!

    Like

  38. Well, I firmly believe in feeding hot chapatties to everyone in the family.
    And I am glad, that the days I get to serve them chapatties straight from the tava, my mom in law makes some fresh chapatties for me after she has finished, and my husband sits with me.
    Though i believe that it varies from family to family and from person to person. But I agree that the questions you have raised about the general family dynamics are definitely very relevant and raw.

    Like

  39. @Smitha …‘we do not even realise how these seemingly ‘small things’ matter!’ And on top of that we say ‘all these women want to do is talk about their in laws!’!!!

    @Snippetsnscribbles Please ramble, you strike a chord … these issues must be discussed. And please don’t stop trying, we can bring up a generation of unbiased kids, we mothers we have so much in our power we can literally rock the world!!

    @Unmana I have let your comment stay twice – just because it felt so good to read it twice … hope you don’t mind🙂

    @@lankrita Even when the wives are working there is no talk of men doing their share of housework, if they do it is as a favour, it is called ‘helping’ …😦

    @Shail Don’t forget that resentment Shail, if we remember our own resentment we will remember to support someone else we see in that situation … and we can.

    @How do we know – Yes and it is happening in so many houses!!

    @Vinita In the Defence Services, in all functions, formal, informal, women always eat before men, ‘ladies first’… but maybe some men who don’t drink might resent this! Why not everybody eats at the same time, together, and let those who drink, men or women, take their own time? In fact any gender based segregation is not required at all .. which is another thing you see in some gathering, men together, women in a different group! Makes no sense.
    I have heard such gathering being called ‘Hindustan-Pakistan’ gatherings🙂

    Like

  40. @Sindhu Yes either be a devi or be declared a witch!

    @Khushi ‘Forget giving a thankful gesture in return, people assume it is the underlying duty of a woman.’ And just think, Khushi, even with thankful gestures it would be totally unacceptable! Make sure if you get a chance to help someone you do help them.

    @Mamma Mia Me A Mamma It’s only when someone takes a stand, questions it and breaks the cycle, can things be changed. I completely agree and I believe we all do something, Mamma mia, let’s start questioning and whenever possible take a stand …

    @Amrutha Absolutely!!!!! That is the easiest and also very much possible thing to do, to make sure our daughters, and also our sons don’t accept such discrimination.

    @Varunavi My daughter loves mango shake, and the thought of her watching someone else have it and she not being offered …(I have no words).
    And would YOUR mother ever even think of treating your mom in law’s child like this? They want the JOINT FAMILY SYSTEM to treat loved and pampered daughters of other people like this!? What hurt me most is your ‘and i never tasted it nor i will.’ I can understand what made you say this, but don’t give up like this. Show your husband your unhappiness over this discrimination. What kind of mothers behave like this!!I know this is conditioning but … this is so outrageously inconsiderate and selfish.

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  41. @Pixie They think he is a JKG🙂 We need these kind of guys for this system to change. Hats off to the two of you🙂

    @Shail Army guys are not called gentlemen for nothing, I think they are amongst the least chauvinistic too.
    I don’t see why can’t everybody eat together? Those who are drinking can follow …

    @mampi I agree ‘it varies from family to family and from person to person’ but ‘the questions you have raised about the general family dynamics are definitely very relevant and raw.’ Actually, I didn’t really raise these question, I am merely expressing my disappointment at the way this commenter was trying to defend something which is definitely discriminatory …

    Like

  42. Huh. Even here, after being almost 30 years in Australia my mum still makes garam rotis for the family and then eats once everyone has basically finished.

    I always thought it was a bit unfair, and everytime we have people over it’s the same thing – the guys eat first while the women serve. It’s the same mentality that will have my Dad offering wine to Evs and the rest of the men without thinking that other people (primarily me!! :P) might want some (you know good indian girls don’t drink :P).

    Thankfully, Evs won’t eat without me and only does it reluctantly when insisted upon. Under the guise of being a slow eater I give my mum company when she eats.

    At home now – Evs and I share the cooking and only once everything is made is when we both eat together.

    Like

  43. IHM this incident happened 5 years back when she came to stay with us.Even my hubby is aware that i dont drink mango milk shake because i was not offered.He said sorry on behalf of his mom.Anyways she is back home in india. Mothers thinking of not giving anything to son-inlaw oh my god, they wont dream also.

    Like

  44. First God is at all is there, shouldn’t it be a genderless being, I mean come on.

    Mom used to do that. Now unfortunately it is like her habit, though I always wait till she’s done with her meal. This is not repeated with my life partner as we both don’t know how to cook properly and in a restaurant we enjoy hot chapatis together , hoe this solves the problem.

    Like

  45. Agree with you entirely. It is society’s pressure which makes women do this and sure they are happy, because they get approval for sacrificing themselves. I know even pregnant women do this. Little girls in rural India happily eat less than their brothers, if one girl protests then she is the bad one. To take an extreme example, that women actually do things happily is also the argument given for Satis. Stupid hollow argument.

    Like

  46. ohh this is so common…and i agree with u 100% and i knew a family where in their own house they ask all the men 10 times while serving chapathis whether they want more… it starts as

    ek aur…
    nahin
    choti se hi tou hai…
    nahin bas
    acha aadhi aur…
    nahin
    aadhi tou kha lejye..
    nahin nas pet bhar gaya
    acha theek hai 1/4 le lo…

    and imagine this in their own house everytime chapathi’s are served which in north means everytime u eat food…

    Like

  47. oh well! at my parents place that was never the scene! garam was a thing done ONLY for special stuff like puran poli or puris being fried.

    even in that my mom would be beloing them and dad sekoin or frying em! while both us kids ate!😀

    at our place, the question doesnt arise. we eat together! period! once in a blue moon parathas are made, served garam and M offers to do the last one so that i get garam too!🙂

    i think there exist things like hotpots and microwaves! make em, store em, heat em! how difficult can that be??! :p

    cheers!

    abha

    Like

  48. Grew up with mom always serving hot rotis and married a man who refuses to eat unless I’m sitting at the table too. My ridiculous problem is that he can’t sit for a minute after he’s finished eating, and as I am a slower eater, I end up alone at the table:(
    But I do get your point- this damn conditioning is most insidious.

    Like

  49. My husband absolutely refuses to eat without me..whether it is for chapathis or dosas! And when my FIL was visiting and I made hot dosas for him, he volunteered and made dosas for me so that I can also have them straight off the stove!

    But the thing is, I still cannot tell a few relatives that my husband is the one who does dishes in the house, because then they just start making snarky comments!

    Like

  50. I firmly believe that India’s future lies in the hands of women only.

    For all the women complaining that they have to wait until the family is served to sit down themselves – why do you do it?

    Just serve yourself along with everyone else and sit down and eat with them.

    Yeah, it might start a family feud – so what?

    Just do want you want, when you want.

    The family will be upset but after a few weeks or a few months they will adjust.

    The training of India’s children, it’s future adult men and women, lies in the hands of Indian women today.

    Instead of cursing the system – CHANGE IT.

    First starting with your own family.

    Revolution begins at home.

    From,
    A woman who has changed her family, by force.

    Like

  51. @Roopscoop :)) I wonder ?!😉

    @Dipali Yeah and we are conditioned to accept a lot of other stuff too …

    @Chaos It’s not that the relatives even mean to be mean they are also conditioned or used to certain rules .. thank fully they are changing!!!

    Like

  52. @Monika – Not required at our own homes!!! It can make it like if you are not asked so many imes maybe then you should not take some more …

    @Pinku🙂

    @Abha That is what you know if we grow up seeing such harmony we will grow up to maintain those standards…

    Like

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  54. Chapatis I don’t make often but I make hot dosas for him while he eats then he makes me hot dosas for me after he finishes his meal. But he also asks me to make a couple of dosas for myself and start eating (he buys time to get it right in the kitchen) coz we both know he’s not that good at it🙂

    I do perspire more, but don’t feel like taken adavantage of!

    PS: Dishes – his department

    Hi Divz🙂 Love the last line!🙂

    Like

  55. What a post!! you know IHM your posts are kinda rekindling that rebellious fire in me. maybe if I keep reading all ur posts who knows i might really stop writing nonsense and write abt all that happened in my very own family and the discrimination and abuses towards weaker people in the name of money and influence.

    I think I was plain lucky to get introduced to reading quite at a young age accidentaly. That’s the one and only reason that I was able to develop and nurture my own views and opinions for everything around me or else who knows I might be leading a miserable unhappy life somewhere in the four walls of a cage that is called a safe home for women there.

    I have seen all my aunts religiously serving hot food to the men folk standing and waiting on them. I remember very well putting my foot down when my aunt suggested once I was 14 or so that now I must stop eating along with the men in my family. Here I must stress that my Uncles where the ones who told “it’s ok she is our little gal, let her eat with us”. I think the men in my family never bothered abt asking their wives to sit and eat with them bcoz like many said they too were conditioned to the same boring scene of a serial where women ate after them. When the time came about deciding whether I should be sitting with them, none had any objection and I must say the age of these men ranged from 15 to 80 around the table. I am not saying here that the men in my family where great. I know most of the older ones were really fierce when it came to customs and rituals. The only thing that made them accept me on the dining table was that I was the youngest in the family and loved by all of them. Like my fave uncle used to say “If she is not around eating becomes a chore”🙂

    I am hooked to ur blog now!!!

    Sakshi you are amazing!! (I have to read the post I had requested for … I got so busy with the results!!!😦 ) And reading must have helped you but I think some of us are just able to think for ourselves…

    Like

  56. Ohh totally forgot abt the hot roti thingy..

    In my house all the three of us eat at the same time. We have dinner usually by 6 and if my husband comes in early and is really hungry we have a very funny ritual. I will be making the roti and he will hold a plate with subzi and stand beside me. I put the hot rotis on to his plate and he feeds all of us one by one till I am done making all the rotis and we make it to the dining table.

    Aww these JKGs!! They are just too adorable 🙂

    Like

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  61. Oh it’s such things which look small or silly that I luv most abt my husband than anything else.
    For I remember my MIL ws making rotis one day when I ws hurrying to work in the morning. Also, I hd told them that I wud nt be hvng breakfast @ home as I had to get to work very early.
    But, the husband told my MIL to make two rotis soon and got rotis and subji in a plate and started feeding me saying that I should not go to work on hungry-stomach🙂
    What touches me most is that he is not different in front of his parents. He is same always.
    I came to this via ur link on someone’s old post linked on some other blog etc etc etc😛 Dnt even remember nw😉 But, well said IHM🙂

    Like

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  63. Very interesting. Though I consider myself a big advocate of equal opportunity and equal rights – irrespective of gender, this post and some of the conversations (as many as I could read before my mind got all muddled up) triggered a mixed reaction in my mind.

    IHM, what is your take on women who fast on Karwachauth? Should they be left with the choice to decide whether they want to fast or not? Or should their family (or lets just say their husbands), strongly insist that it is regressive, unfair and sexist and therefore forbid them from making that choice? And if the wife is an obstinate one, should the husband feel obligated to fast alongside? (Which may perhaps be not very different from an unwilling daughter-in-law in a traditional house being “emotionally forced” to fast.)

    I fast on Karwachauth every year. Every year, invariably, my husband requests that I do not starve myself, though if I so love the other mushy aspects of the festival (and he calls it the after effects of a bunch of Karan Johars ridiculously glamourizing the festival), I do whatever else my heart desires – like shopping, eating sargi, applying mehandi, dressing up, looking pretty and simply interacting with other women. (He knows I hardly have a network of women I interact with otherwise and that I do love girl-company.)
    (The gender ratio at my workplace is extremely poor and that can probably fill a 500 page book if I start to express my feelings around it. But thats another story I plan to write one day…🙂 )

    (By the way, the women I end up interacting with are smart, intelligent, emotionally secure, “modern” women.)

    Yes. Though I can easily do all these things on any other day of the year, this day just happens to bring all of it in a single burst along with a good amount of festivity. (If you’ve ever lived in Delhi you’d know the “raunak” and festive cheer I am talking about🙂 ) A feeling that Diwali, Eid or Christmas might bring to many of us – irrespective of gender or age… a reminder that life can be a celebration too – not just chasing next-to-impossible deadlines one after another.

    I find nothing regressive about admitting that I enjoy traditions and festivals and try to accomodate them in my hectic schedule as far as possible (and I definitely do not punish myself if I am unable to follow a ritual to the tee.🙂 )

    IHM: That you (or anybody else) do not punish yourself if you don’t follow a ritual probably makes it simply a choice you make. I think it’s only fair that you choose what you celebrate and how.

    I like the flexibility that I have to decide how far I want to go with the “karwachauth fast” or for that matter any festival.

    IHM: This flexibility that you are able to grant yourself is what feminism is all about. Feminism is basically about human rights for all and about No Gender Bias against anybody.
    If I start to weigh every move I make in life on the scale of gender-equality, I probably would not be able to enjoy life or express my individuality/femininity. (And individuality may mean different things for different people – forget man or woman.) It may become a case of “paralysis-due-to-analysis”.

    IHM: The scale should be fair play and justice. No Gender Bias instead of only no gender-equality. Also ‘equal’ does not mean ‘same’ – all humans, all races, religions, irrespective of economic and education level are EQUAL, but they are NOT SAME.

    And honestly, if my husband ever tried to refrain me from fasting on Karwachauth, I think I’d feel deprived of my right to choose.

    IHM: I think so long as he is not made to feel guilty or grateful, or he can choose to buy or not buy you gifts or to stay hungry with you, it would be unfair of him to refrain you from doing anything. You are an adult and you can decide what you eat and when.

    Am I so soaked up in this regressive “women-should-be-accomodating-selfsacrificing-giving” culture, that I am unable to see how deep-rooted the damage is to my femle psych?🙂

    IHM: I think we generally know when we are being people pleasers (etc.) Do you feel you tend to ‘punish yourself’ by giving up something you love to ‘teach’ somebody else a lesson? Do you feel you are taken for granted? Do you find yourself resenting having to do something you don’t want to?

    By the way, I love serving hot rotis to my husband whenever I make them. (Thanks to my limited culinary abilities, I would hate to eat them myself once they have gone cold. :p) And since he makes the chapattis three-four times a week – a choice he ends up making between making chapattis or feeding the little fussy eater we have in our house (Because I happen to have more patience with her🙂 ) I love to gorge on the hot rotis as he lovingly smears them with ghee and drops them in my plate. We manage to fit in more love in these moments than we would if we were eating together. Would I trade it for anything else? No.

    IHM: This does expose him to the risk of being labelled a JKG. Read more about JKGs here,
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/men-will-be-men/

    And take a look at some JKG Badges here,
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/jkg-badges/

    I am not anti-feminism. Infact I feel there is a strong need for a few more feminist movements in the Indian society.

    IHM: I feel progressive social movements are also feminists movements. Human rights, child rights, rights of the girl child are all connected to Feminism, because feminism touches a family and concerns everybody in the society. When we stopped widow burning or when we encourage women to be self reliant or when we educate a girl child – the entire society benefits.

    And hats off to you IHM, for bringing many gruesome tales of injustice to the forefront. But lets not go too far with it. I do not want to look at everything that happens around me with the lens of gender equality. I do not want to walk around with my fangs out at all times, lest someone should attack me with a grenade of gender based discrimination.

    IHM: Gruesome tales of injustice involve exposure to violence, abuse and prejudice in childhood, poverty and social conditioning etc so an unbiased, unprejudiced look (no lenses) would be fair.

    I think when we are treated unfairly we know, so keeping one’s fangs out is avoidable. Injustice to self is not easy to ignore, though it is possible for many of us to be conditioned to accept injustice as the right way to live. I feel if we are unhappy we can take a second look at our lives.

    I want to live somewhere in between the two extremes – one of living in a foolish denial of the injustice many women are being subjected to – the other of living under a constant threat of being taken advantage of becuase of my gender.

    IHM: That sounds sensible.

    In fact injustice of any kind, not just Gender bias, needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.

    For me, neither of the two states is sufficiently liberating. And I am pro-liberation – not just women’s liberation.

    IHM: Including women’s liberation in ‘liberation’ makes it fair to everybody – even the women’s children and parents and spouses and friends etc.

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      • Dear IHM,

        This has been a very interesting and insightful discussion. I am glad to hear your response and I think I’m going to hang around much longer on your blog from now on.🙂

        Thanks for the reply. When I reread my post (after submitting it last week), I found it a little too brusque and almost regretted the unintended haughty ring that had accidently got attached to it. I am glad we had this conversation and needless to say I agree with a lot of what you say. And I am sure there are things I don’t agree with. And it will be fun to discover them on the way.🙂

        Take Care.

        Love,
        Smita.

        Like

        • Dear Smita, It was a pleasure responding to your comment. I am sure we will disagree on many issues but that is what blogging is about – discussions and coming across opinions we sometimes agree to disagree with🙂
          Love,
          -IHM

          Like

  64. I have a lot to say in this matter, but many has point out those facts for me😀 And i don’t understand why are there differences in treatment from my MIL to me and from my mother towards my husband? Sigh.

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    • Kiran this is one of the few places in India, where daughters get preferential treatment. A daughter is encouraged to work on her marriage,her spouse is pampered in her house (though only as a guest) but an Indian son dare not show too much affection and respect to his spouse. Whether or not he chose his spouse, he is expected to make sure she ‘knows her place’ and is a dutiful, respectful, obedient daughter in law. If he seems to be making any effort to make his marriage successful ( and happy) – he is labeled a JKG.
      You don’t know what a JKG stands for? (* Horror*) Check here,

      https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/men-will-be-men/

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  65. Hmmm. Intresting view point. One mould does not fit all.
    For me… Hot Chappati’s is just hot chappati’s. Every once in a while, i will ask my husband and kiddo to sit and I will serve as they eat and then I make my own chapatti’s. Needless to say, the two of them wait at dinner table until i am done with my meals before we all get up. I despise eating alone for sure!
    So for me, hot chappati’s is just hot chappati’s and nothing more.
    And yes, in my case it definitely a choice I make once in a while to pamper them. Hubby cant make chappati’s from scratch but he does not wince in putting the frozen paratha’s on tava and get them out for me while I enjoy good ol’ TV viewing.
    And yes, there are lots of other families in which the lady has taken this task as a way of life. People will perceive her as – she does it because she likes it, no one is forcing her! And over time, the girl is just conditioned to like it. What choice does she have- Like it or complain doing it! She still has to do it.

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  66. IHM, guess am late really late in commenting on this..but still..this happened to me today morning…my in laws are here, and if you read my blog, you will realise that I LOVE them..to the core..inspite of all the differences etc etc, I get pampered by them, and they are the sweetest people on earth..but still..there are tons of things I dont agree to my MIL…I just adjust because they are very nice to me…today morning, she asked me to give a toothbrush to hubby…

    R’s mom: Ma. let him take it na, he knows where it is and anyways if he wants to change his brush, he will do it
    MIL: no you should do it for him
    RM: ma he is 32 years, he is not R that I have to spoon feed him, and let him take the one he wants otherwise we will have an arguement on the colour and I really dont want that early in the morning
    MIL: I always did it for my kids and hubby
    RM: Ma, thats why I say you are great, I cant do it seriously, and I dont want to get into an arguement in the morning
    MIL: There is nothing wrong in a bit of ‘scolding’ from hubby if its for a good cause
    RM: Ma, lets leave it, I dont think I am comfy doing it and I am not as patient as you to take a ‘scolding’ from him, I will ‘scold’ back and there will be a fight

    Thankfully hubby walked in from the bed then and we ended the discussion
    To be honest, I am not someone who answers back to anyone unless really provoked..and I have my fair share of fights with hubby with us making up pretty fast..but this really annoyed me..then the other part of me said, ‘God only for a toothbrush, why the hell did I have to argue, I should have just given it na’
    Tell me, did I do wrong??😦

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    • I think you were right to convey how you felt and I hope you were able to smile politely (but firmly) through the discussion. I hope this puts an end to the issue. What if it doesn’t? Maybe you could just smile and ignore and not let it become an ‘ego issue’ for her – but I am not sure, there is a chance that might be seen as carelessness (and not as what it is – as treating your husband like an adult). Maybe you could initiate a discussion about how you think times have changed, how much more women (and their families) achieve because they are treated with respect and they respect themselves, how much times have changed and how strong family bonds are created because the couple cares for each other – not wife serves the husband, and because there are ‘discussions’ and not one ‘scolds’ the other.

      Of course there is every chance that she might think expecting to treated with respect as a human is not a good thing for wives (mothers (mainly son’s mothers) and most elders can expect respect in our culture) … then please remind yourself that you were right in expecting your husband to be able to decide for himself when he needs a toothbrush and to take it himself when he needs to. And you were right in not wanting to be ‘scolded’ by him. Once you know you were right – it becomes easier to understand why you are not able to welcome advice about how you as a couple treat each other as partners (not as a Guardian and a Ward). Don’t blame yourself but do be tactful, because it is difficult for a lot of Indian women (and men) to understand that any young woman could expect to be treated like an adult – they really believe wives and daughters in law should obey… our TV serials don’t help here.

      How does your husband react to such controls? How would they react if he conveyed that you both like to deal with personal (couple’s) matters on your own?
      Here’s a link you could take a look at,
      http://www.unmana.com/2009/08/in-law-advice-what-husbands-should-do.html
      And another one,
      http://www.unmana.com/2009/09/in-law-advice-what-wives-should-do.html

      Like

      • Thanks IHM, you are right..at the end of the day, we need to function as a couple, ma being there or not..and honestly hubby would support me blindly..had I taken out the toothbrush and given it to him, he would have realised that its not something I would do on my own, and would have jumped on Ma to let her know that he is grown up enough..guess this wont be an ego issue since she is pretty nice..but just that I did get annoyed at the entire conversation..and yaa, I did smile politely and hopefully put my point across..it feels so much better to share this whole thing with someone, though you may think its really silly!

        Like

        • No, I don’t think it is silly at all. All these small looking things can become very stressful and I am really glad it didn’t happen like that!! I think staying polite really helps. Hugs.
          Your husband is at risk of being labeled a JKG though!

          Like

  67. This is my first time here, and I know I’ll visit you more often🙂
    Interesting topic. Just reminded me of my MIL when she visited us. Quite a few times, not only that she wanted to eat last, but tried to ‘volunteer’ me too – ‘We’ll eat later’ she says. And as a reflex I say ‘No, I am going to sit with everyone.’ My husband and FIL objects to MIL’s women-eat-last syndrome. But in this case I don’t even want to wait for my husband to comment before I respond, lest she think I ate with his ‘permission’😛 I just wanted to show that I’ll eat when I choose to.
    In any case, it was difficult to get her to sit with everyone at the dining table. She won’t let anyone else cook, and even if everyone waits, she would eat in the kitchen and walk around ‘serving’ stuff even when everyone is capable of self-serving. I guess that is deep-rooted!

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    • It is deep rooted, but it can be changed. There is pressure on most female members to make sure they ignore their comfort, health, nutrition and pleasure – and it all begins with little things like a willingness to eat after others have eaten. Thankfully this is changing because I don’t think any family can be truly happy unless it is fair to all it’s members.

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    • my in laws do the same to me! they will volunteer for me also – we all will eat last night’s food….let (son) eat the fresh rotis and curry!

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  68. Wow .. Loved this post. Read most of the comments as well. It showcases that though most of us have become modern in certain ways, there still are deep-rooted biases against the female gender. Actually I never thought about this issue before I read this post. But the number of comments means that there are women who face this bias every day of their lives. Thank god my H has never made me feel that way.

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    • Me – I once met a woman who was shocked to see me start eating when my order came before my husband’s and children’s, she said she could never be so insensitive. I asked her how was my eating cold lunch going to help my family… later I wondered if she was made to feel it was selfish or greedy to eat before her family. The same woman also said, she never bought anything for herself, she only bought clothes and toys for her kids…

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  69. My mother still is the last one to eat food in the house (not when she is with me ofcourse, for we all eat together). And often it would get down to left-overs. Thankfully at some point she realized that things may not be left for her and so she started making food atleast in bountiful to last till her turn!

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  73. I see a lot of this in my house, specially as regards to my mom. Thankfully, when she comes to Hyderabad I don’t let her philanthropy continue, but way back it was and is always like this. She (and the DIL) are the last ones to eat. Also, here when we eat together, she will always pretend that she doesn’t need that last piece of something special cooked that day or pretend she is not hungry when she senses that the food was little short. Or if there are say left-over chapatis or previous night or little left over curries, she will insist to eat herself.. Pretty annoying but it is so much built into her system that often I notice that it is can’t be helped. Thankfully, atleast she has learnt that she needs to cook adequate quantity (often therefore, she is does it a way too much) so that something is left for her.

    But, with my wife I would make sure we take turns or I would say, lets first make all the dosas and then we will eat together. I would really get uneasy if I were told that Ok, you have it, I will make. Infact, the moment I’m offered, I would retort. Ok, let’s to it the other way !🙂 . And the idea would get dropped or we will take turns!

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