She was getting late for her zoom meeting. The aroma of the tadka filled the kitchen, and she tasted it a second time. Last three times he complained about her daal. This time she was taking no chances. She followed through the recipe in detail, no shortcuts.

She logged in twelve mins late. With a tinge of embarrassment began her session with an apology to the client. This was the third meeting she had shown up to late that week. She knew she really needed to get things in order before word gets around.


He is not home.

She calls him, “Hey!

Hey, I’m stuck at work. I’ll be home late”.

Oh okay, dinner is ready.

No no, I ordered something already.

Ordered something? But I specially prepared it this morning.

So should I stay hungry?

No, but you know I specially prepared it for you this morning. I even got late for my meeting. Had I known dinner was just for me I wouldn’t have bothered to cook on a day of having such an important meeting…

Listen, I don’t understand why you need to make such a big deal about everything ! I never asked you to prioritise my dinner over your work! Now don’t turn this into an issue! In future don’t take any pains for my sake, let the maid handle it for me.

He hangs up.

She feels anger surge through her realising he was right. He never asked her to prioritise cooking for him over everything else.

Then, who asked her to ?

Who trained her mind into thinking it was an issue?

Who taught You that part of being a wife was to cook daal just the way your husband likes, every time?

In this chaos who is to be blamed?

Read The Next Story The Family Guest Here https://blog.swateemiittal.com/gender-biased-upbringing/

Women’s cultural roles still require them to inherently prioritise ‘making others happy’ over everything else, even if no one is explicitly asking them to do so. Their subconscious has absorbed this narrative silently over the years, by watching their own mothers do it. The society also silently expects this and thus begins a generational cycle of gender inequality in marriage.

As a result most woman find themselves setting up unrealistically high expectations from self. Only to feel disappointed later. They do not receive much support from their current environment as most families still expect the women to be the sole caretaker.

This gender inequality leads most women into leading a life of overwhelm and anxiety. They find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of invisibly executing thankless jobs, every single day, for the rest of their lives.

In their own inner world they have been silently re-analysing and de-prioritising their own dreams, goals and needs.

On the outside, no one really understands the cost she has been paying every single day to bring a freshly cooked meal to the table that satisfies everyone’s pallet, wins each ones approval, suits everyone’s health conditions preferences and allergies, while keeping it exciting and meeting the budget.

Because if she does not, she has evidently failed as a wife, mother, daughter or daughter-in-law. And that’s where it begins, the endless cycle of seeking validation.

The journey to self begins with the courage to be disliked.

You can be caring, committed and nurturing without having to compromise on your own mental health and butchering your own identity. But you need to be mindful, of the inner narrative that is running you. Is it coming from a deep place of care or from what you “must do” because of your gender ?

You have to re-write the narrative of gender inequality in marriage.

I do not support the idea of  pushing women to ‘do it all’. In fact in my opinion, there can be nothing more pathetic, inhuman and exploitative than to applaud a person for doing four (perfectly capable) people’s work alone in a family. There is no celebration in that,  nothing to boast about such culture, it is merely an exploitation.

For me, a culture to be proud of is when the family stands as a team of people who are empathetic and responsible. Who function as a unit with an internal understanding and agreement.

This unit understands that every member of the family has a right to live their dreams and no one is obligated to do their set of duties while they sit watching news or playing video games or reading newspaper on the couch.

Here, there is mutual respect for each other’s time, a culture free of societal gendered expectations. A family that does not depend on others to tell them whose role is what. Instead a family who comes together as a team and works out a win-win scenario for every member of the family.

A culture free from gender inequality in marriage !