Women are supposed to cook -- or so some people think -- so, why on earth should they have cooks at home?
Recently, at a friend's house, we were discussing the growing trend of women, especially working women, going in for cooks. A case of a young family who appointed a cook is what started off the debate.
''When she can cook so wonderfully well, why should she keep a cook?'' asked one. ''Her work timings are convenient and she has enough time to prepare food for the small family."
Said another, "There are so many busy women with bigger families who manage without cooks...'' The arguments went on.
I found this reasoning horribly flawed. It missed the changed circumstances in which many women, and also men, work. Priorities have changed.
Earlier, many women worked primarily to supplement the hubby's income. Her priority was the kitchen. That's also the way she had been brought up.
Today it's not so, may not be in all families but in many families. Women supplement not the hubby's income but the family's income. There is a thin line of difference here that needs to be understood.
Today, even a middleclass girl grows up with dreams of a career and being independent. Many struggle with the stereotyped traditional idea that placed women in the kitchen.
Today the gender gap has narrowed. A working woman is no different from a working man. Eight to ten hours of work in the office leaves her -- just as her hubby -- with hardly any energy to do work at home. She is just like a man who would prefer to watch TV or just sleep rather than do any work at home.
It's not that women can't cook. She is employing a cook, only like a man appointing a driver or a cleaner for the car. It's not that the man can't find some time to wash the car himself.
There is also the issue of money. The family has to have enough wealth to afford a cook, or even a cleaner for that matter. If there is no money, there is neither a cook nor a cleaner. If there is money only for one; then it depends on the priorities, often determined by gender equation.
Unfortunately, this is not a point many guys, especially elders, easily understand or are ready to accept. I am an optimist. May be there is a change happening; too slow to notice perhaps.