Being Women

Why Does A Woman Compromise With Her Choice Of Food After Marriage? Is It All About Adjustment And Adaptation?

Through a fictional piece, Anuja asks some pertinent questions. Why is it that a woman has to give up her taste and likings once she gets married? Why does her choice take a backseat?

Marriages are all about adjustment and adaptation!

All the women in Navika’s family made sure she was well aware of this fact and ready to accept it. It was an inter-community marriage and Navika and her fiance Garvit were excited to start their conjugal life. The eight years of courtship had made them a compatible couple.

But Navika’s mom was a little worried, and she shared her concern with her daughter.

“Navika, you should learn some cooking…I mean cooking as per their style. Though Assamese and Bengali eating habits are similar, cooking styles and methods are very different. The same ingredients are treated very differently in both cuisines.”

“Don’t worry, Maa! Garvit’s mom is very sweet. I’ll learn from her if needed. Your daughter is a quick learner, you see!’ Navika comforted her mother and gave her a tight hug.

A year later…

Soon it was their first anniversary. The couple kept it as a simple celebration with their family members from either side. Navika happily cooked an elaborate spread of Bong delicacies and some Chinese dishes as well for Garvit loved both the cuisines. The guests were in awe of Navika’s culinary skills. From the banana flower cutlets to the peas kachori, from the roasted moong daal to the brinjal fritters, from the Ilish bhapa to mutton kosha, it was a finger-licking experience for all.

Navika’s mom caressed her daughter’s hair and sweetly told her, “You have become an excellent cook, dear. But why didn’t you cook your favourite small prawn fry and the doodhi-tomato fish curry.?”

“Maa, you can cook them for me when I visit you,” Navika replied softly.

Fast forward…

Time flies fast. Navika has become a mom of two school-going kids and she has started an artisanal boutique of home decorations on the ground floor of their beautiful home. She manages everything smoothly. She has two helpers at home, but the cooking department is solely in her hands since the ageing in-laws and the growing kids need proper nutrition. Only she can whip up lovely dishes as per their taste and liking. Breakfast, tiffin, lunch, snacks, dinner, and desserts make her super busy, and Navika has successfully managed.

It was their tenth wedding anniversary. This time they decided to host a small get-together. A gathering of forty guests brightened up their celebration. Their beautifully decorated garden was the perfect venue. Food was catered from a well-known restaurant, and Navika looked radiant in her ‘rani pink’ Assam silk saree. The party went on till midnight, and everyone was happy.

The next morning, Navika’s mom volunteered to make the breakfast, and in no time she cooked up some amazing parathas, and prepared juices and milkshakes.

“What is that, Nani?’ Navika’s daughter pointed to a small handi

“It’s your mom’s favourite breakfast – small chana and aloo dry sabji, which she loves to have with two little hardened chapattis.”

“What! She has never made them! Oh, we don’t like Chana, and Dadu-dadi cannot chew them!” Her granddaughter casually mentioned in front of everyone.

 ‘Maybe that’s why she never makes them dear.” Navika’s mother replied.

Silence reigned.

“What other dishes you like to eat?” Navika’s mother-in-law asked.

 “I like everything, Mom.” She replied.

 “I meant before marriage? In all these years, you have gained expertise in whatever cuisine we like to have. And now I realise we never asked you about your likings.” She rued.

“Yes, Navi. Even I realise that now. Why didn’t you ever cook the dishes you loved to eat?” This time it was Garvit who appeared concerned.

 “Mom, I hardly cooked before marriage.” She informed her mother-in-law.

Turning towards her husband she said,” I relished my mom’s cooking, just like the way you gorge on whenever your mother cooks for you, Garvit.”

Addressing everyone she said, “In the early days post-marriage, I was quite hesitant to cook any dish specifically for myself, as I knew no one would like them. Then the kids came along. I was so busy with them that the urge to cook something for me faded away. I miss those curry leaves jhol, the jackfruit fritters, the masoor daal chutney, the soft rice snacks, and so many other things. But I felt lethargic to make them only for myself.’

“But you always cooked 4-5 dishes at a time and never made anything as per your liking for ten long years!” Garvit appeared disturbed.

 “It was our fault, Garvit, that we never thought about it. In the process of making her learn our cuisine, we forgot to learn hers! She had her own food habit for 25 years, and then marriage changed it all!” Garvit’s mom looked down at her plate. There was a sad ring to her voice.

 “It has always been like that, Didi.” Navika’s mother took charge. “When you and I started our married lives, we picked up culinary skills from our moms-in-law and forgot our own liking.” She rued.

“But it’s not right. Adjustment and adaptability should always be mutual. The ‘chana aloo sabji’ has woken me up. Navika, we all would like to taste an Assamese thali for our lunch today. Don’t forget to add your all-time favourite Assamese delicacies there. Garvit, you are helping her too.’ Mother-in-law smiled at Navika.

“With all my heart, Mom!” Garvit blinked at his wife.

Finally, after ten years of marriage, Navika got into the task of preparing her favourite daal, ‘tangy masoor daal with jackfruit seeds’.

Her heart was full and her mind a little regretful!

Why hadn’t she tried it earlier? She had an understanding family, but for those who don’t, can they start preparing their favourite dishes too?


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