The first time somebody mentioned about the boy girl difference to me, I was around 8 and I never really understood. It did not come from my parents. It was an elderly waiter at a drive inn called Shyam Prakash(which no longer exists). I wanted to buy a flute and I kept at it relentlessly... The waiter overheard me & told me You cant buy a flute. That's for boys. Buy a kitchen set. I really did not understand. I already had a kitchen set, and my cousins including the boys were equally enthusiastic about a kitchen set. I saw no reason why I couldn't own a piece of wood with holes in it just because.... Just because.
Fortunately, I was spared at home from all the boy girl riff raff. My parents brought us up as individuals and for most part of our childhood we did not hear more from that sort of think tank. Dad pushed us to study harder, marriage was always considered secondary . In fact, both of us got married at our own insistence and to the men we chose.
Mom played her role by never ever mentioning to us that girls need to know household chores. We have also been spared of the dramatic "People will say 'is this what your mother taught you?'"
We never heard of money or gold put away or saved for our 'marriage'. It was always for education & college fees.
Mom never taught 'cooking'. I barely strolled into the kitchen just to give my mum a hug and she'd shoo me away.
Sometimes I even thought something was odd about my parents. Why were they so different from the conventional? Only now do I finally understand.
All those tiny things like cooking, household chores do not need intensive training. I picked them up soon enough when the need arose. I do not spend hours in the kitchen toiling just to feed my famished husband. I manage to make a decent, healthy meal for two in 45 mins. When the maid doesn't show up, I manage to keep my house clean enough.
I can pick up home science without years of training, but I cant pick up my postdoctoral degree without those 8 years of slogging in college.
Education is not just about the money you make. Education shapes the kind of person you are. It keeps you open to learning and it empowers you.
It doesnt matter if you completed engineering & now you are working in a place where what you studied isnt really being put to use. That's what 'they' think. Your degree might not be important, but your education is priceless.
Dad & Mum have still not given up their unconventional ways. Dad still says I'm not done yet.
He says I need to push my limits further.
Mom still doesnt let me enter the kitchen.
Even after the emergence of part time Chef & homemaker Mansi, I'm still doubted for my homely abilities. I don't give two hoots for that.
Being unconventional is something I've picked from my parents & I'm bloody well proud of it.