The Joys of Being a Domestic Goddess

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When Nigella Lawson, a British writer wrote a book named “How to be a Domestic Goddess”, I was intrigued. I thought if she was trying to sell the book on the basis of this name that sounds so promising and assuring. All those females who dream to win their husband’s heart and kids appreaciation with those sinfully delicious cakes, puddings and roasted lambs and barbeque chicken. Not just that, some of them even wanted to copy the seductive style of writer which made her cooking show so famous. The ahh’s and hmmm’s she made while listening to the crackling sound of mustard seeds, the wild way in which she sprinkled lemon on a roasted turkey and her sumptuous body that speaks a lot about her food habits made every British woman go gaga over domestic cooking. But frankly speaking, I didnt like the name as it was very stereotypical and any how whats so good in being a domestic Goddess.

Years later, my opinion about the title, about the author and about cooking has changed. When you google the world “Domestic Goddess”, you find this definition “A female who excels in baking, cooking and cleaning-housework of all sorts. She loves to please and hear compliments about her awesomeness around the house/kitchen. She  does not have to have children to be considered as a domestic goddess”. And these days I am truely enjoying every bit of being a domestic goddess though I am not good at baking. Here is why:

I am cooking malai keema. I have set all the ingredients right on the shelf. I turn on the heat and generously coat the pan with butter. Just when it starts splattering, I splash it with diced green chillies. Seconds later I see the chillies turning golden and its time to add Cinnamon sticks and cumin seeds. Suddenly the aromatics starts infusing in the air. Now goes the keema and cream.I can smell every single ingredient that has gone into the dish and that’s the beauty of cooking. Malai keema is ready and just as Nigella Lawson will do, I garnish the dish by coarsely sprinkling some olive oil and coriander straight out from my kitchen garden.The dish has turned out good. I am happy.

The kitchen looks dirty. I hate dirty sinks and unkept kitchen. I put on the apron and starts humming Rafi’s songs. In 20 minutes I wind up and my kitchen is as clean as if it has never been used before. I am happy.

After the cooking is done, I relax myself on the couch nd watch my favourite serials. And if nothing interesting is coming on television, I have great books to read  with a cup of coffee I specially bought for my kitchen with 3 sinfully big spoons of sugar. I am happy.

When you don’t have to juggle between office and home, when you don’t have to deal with demanding bosses, when your life isn’t stuck in traffic jams,  when you enjoy the luxury of watching daily soaps instead of making boring presentations, when you can indulge in sweets knowing that you will have the time to hit the gym next day, I guess, you all will be happy.

I have always loved cooking. But I hate it when I have to do it in hurry. I love eating but hate it when I have to starve myself simply because I have meetings. So when I switched from being working to being a homemaker, I discovered new joys; the joys of being a domestic Goddess. Offcourse I miss my work. But as of now I am on a sabbatical and I cannot deny that life is bit simpler when you are a homemaker.

Having being on both sides of the fence, I know why the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. A working woman envies a homemaker and the latter envies the former. When I was working, my life was chaotic. I was losing a lot in life. I was losing on things I wanted to do for my home. I made boring food for I lacked both energy and interest after hours of teaching students in university. I skipped cleaning because morning evening there was no time and no maids as well.  My refrigerator smelt like a dead fish as I didn’t have the time to clean up the leftovers from the fridge. My body too was on the losing end as I lost lot of weight and started looking weak.

But when I left my work I started discovering the simple joys in daily chores. Washing clothes which sounded like a dull activity became enjoyable when I started doing it with interest. After every wash I enjoyed seeing the clothes clean smelling of lavender, the fabric conditioner I discovered while having a recky of a supermarket. I have even started enjoying my weekly trips to super market. I would have my list of things that I need to buy, my budget in my mind and buying like a wise old woman. After I finished with my list, I would spend some time having a survey and every time I discovered something new; like new choco chip ice cream which was in my budget or a paper towels to soak the extra oil from fried dishes. But this was only when I had leisure time for such discoveries. Earlier, when I was working, a trip to supermarket meant only 15 minutes to collect all that is there in my list. No exploration, no discoveries (I was always ina rush)

Doing dishes has always been a maid’s job in India. But when you are living abroad you better learn to do it by yourself. But here also, I found fun. I would wear a beautiful apron,washed and pressed daily put on some music and before I know, the kitchen is clean and warm. I used clean sponge and antiseptic in dishwashing liquid and ensured the dishes were clean, dry. and well in place Which maid will take this much pain?

I love every bit of running around in the morning. Cooking innovations are no less than adventure and cleaning the house always gave me the liberaty to enjoy sugary stuff without guilt.  So whenever someone comes to visit our house and remarks “such a clean house”, the domestic goddess in me feels gratified. Few months back I had a Chinese friend stay over my place for a week and see was shocked to see that the toilets never went dirty. (Remember there is no maid in the house). When my friends come over for dinner and eat the homemade seekh kebabs, naans and curries with sheer delight and amazement, I pretend as if it’s nothing for me.

What else? I can write a blog, do painting, experiment with clothes, go shopping or do whatever I like in my free time. I now have more time to read books and join book clubs, I have less worroes.. and less wrinkles..

 Being a housewife is an act of selflessness against the call of ambition.Sometimes it is a choice you make while at times it can be a compulsion. It is like patriotism for family. It is like making your home your ultimate purpose of life. A homemaker’s position is beyond any big position in a prestigious company. She is one on whom the whole family depends for basic necessities else we all would have been suffering from diarrhea and stomach disorders due to excessive dependence on fast food, frozen food or due to dirty toilets.

So even if no one appreciates a home makers for they are not contributing financially, they should be applauded and respected for their domestic skills.

So cheers to all the homemakers

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The Futility of being socially connected

My neighbourhood friend has been after me for one reason. She wants me to buy an I-phone or any one of those with whatapp kind of applications. She has been telling me that high end phones lets you be in touch with the world (especially friends) twenty four hours. I dont have a problem buying the latest Samsung Galaxy.. the one I have been eying on.. But I somehow can not figure out its utility.  I may buy its for its looks, its style, class, for showoff, or its picture quality but for getting socially connected with the friends would be the last reason I will shed my pocket for.

I usually manage to get online daily, in the morning, in the afternoon and sometimes even late night.. During this time, rarely do I find any of my friend  messaging me and asking about going on in my life. When I posted my wedding pictures.. I got lot of comments.. like on my appearance and offcourse some sweet comments on my hubby and how we looked as a couple. Well, that was quite nice to read all good things..BUT… I kept wondering… why none of them .. those who liked and commented (offcourse all were my friends, known ones and well wishers)… even for once asked me how was my married life going… why they never cared to pop on chat saying “hey Neha, hope you are not feeling lonely in a new country with a new person in new circumstances..”..

Quite often I write status as per my state of mind.. I wrote status like “I am missing my parents”.. I even wrote ” Its hard to be a good wife..”.. I wrote ” The idleness of being a houseiwfe..”.. Despite very clear expression of feelings.. none of my friends ever thought of a private chat discussion that could have been a moodboaster then.. I managed everything of my own.. Slowly I stopped posting my pictures on social networking sites thinking that those pictures only hold importance for me and no one else.  So whats the point in sharing..

…. My best friend is on social networking site. She often blame me for not having whatsapp on my mobile.. probably becuase she feels she cannot talk to me any time of the day. But whats does she have to talk… nothing other than useless “ghar ke kisse.. saas ki burai..”.. sorry talk to you later hubby is back from work”.. kind of stuff.. when it comes to serious talks.. meaningful discussions.. genuine sharing of feelings.. and sharing of some genuine good news../ she is least connected to me.. So whats the point in being connected..

My father is not on social networking sites.. We talk once or twice a week on phone irrespective or international or STD calls rates… But when we talk.. we share genuine feelings.. we are aware of eachothers life despite being miles apart.. If I am not able to express myself on phone, I usually write a small poem and mail it to him and he immediately reads my mind through that poem.. He never gets to see my latest photos as my friends on facebook can, yet he knows I have lost weight.. He does not know that i am missing him yet he calls me right at the moment when I feel lonely.. He says its telepathy.. and he never asked me to buy an expensive phone for whatsapp,, nor did I ever ask him to join social networking sites..

Infact I am really put off with this idea of being connected.. I have a life.. You have a life.. I go and teach in one of the best international universities in the world and post my pictures.. What for ” To make my friends who are housewives or who could dream a life abroad feel jealous”..

You get married, you got a honeymoon and post your pictures in ultra short minis posing intimately with your new found love your husband with a picturesque background with a glass of wine.. what for.. ” to tell the world that you are bold beyond anyone’s expectations.. that You have had the privilege to spend your honeymoon in Europe while many of your friends had to spend the most beautiful time of their life in polluted shimla or distant hills of Manali.. “..

There are few friends of mine whom I really admire.. a colleague of mine.. with a one year old kid who has never taken a sabbatical from working other than a month after her delivery.. who cooks food In the morning.. believes in simplicity and high moral values.. she rarely post anything on facebook.. I have another friend, who lives in Gurgaon.. works as a bio technologist, grounded and humane and never fail to say “Hey, How are you Neha”.. even though the last time we met was some six years..

People who are genuinely concerned about you will find a way to stay connected.. while others despite being connected twently hours will be uncertain about your life.. and your will know the biggets news of their life.. like the news about their pregnancy or marriage only after they post a picture either with their baby or with their hubby..

If you see, a phone call is a much better way of being connected. Even a 5 minutes call, shows the effort that the person has put in to find out about you.. or a good news that is given through a phone call in joyous manner.. or a call from your friend that she is expecting.. or a call from your favourite teacher to congratulate you for your achieveme.. or friend calling from the airport to tell you about her exciting honeymoon.. that won’t sound like vampire trying to make your life misrable.. but maybe her excitement will make your day..

So, I dont want to dishearten my neighbour .. but the truth is I will never buy a smar phone this reason.. Becasue I am not interested in getting connected with with a virtual world of fake well wishes who only seem to be their for a time pass. Though I may buy one for google maps and downloading e books and free viber calls to save money..

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