Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-06-30 21:26 The acrylic on canvas work is titled Crossing Genders The only times I ever stepped foot into the kitchen when I was a girl was when I wanted to eat. I would tiptoe into the vast expanse where I would find the pot bubbling away with fish curry, the pressure cooker observing its pitchy ritual, the oven announcing it is time for sugar cookies and tea and the mixer churning up chutneys of glorious hues – all at the same time. It was what I would now call organised chaos, but I would always find whatever I craved for in that space where I was a passive observer. My mother never taught me how to cook and I am not complaining. In fact, I am doing just the opposite of that because if she tried to force feed me the recipe for survival just because I ‘had’ to learn because I was a girl, I might have most likely ended up detesting the kitchen. Thankfully that is not the case and I love cooking. I think my mother understood the importance of letting life take its course when my relatives once told me that I had to learn to cook because I would have to cook for my husband one day. I was only eleven years old then and the last thing on my mind was cooking or a husband. “You have to learn to make rice, thoran, sambar, pickle, papadum and all the things your mother makes,” they educated me. “What about my brother? Doesn’t he have to learn?” was my response. Any more push, and I would have landed on planet rebellion. So my mother never let me stir the pot. Not even once. “Shoo, get out of my kitchen. Go play,” she would say. Thus, my trips to the kitchen were limited to the times my stomach shouted ‘fetch’, unlike my girlfriends who were told that the kitchen is a woman’s territory. None of my guy friends were taught how to cook. Thankfully, I am with a man who thinks otherwise. He can whip up a mean pasta or pizza when he is in a jolly good mood or an equally comforting kichadi when I am down with flu. Our kitchen is not just my territory. I believe that everyone should know how to cook. Boys should be taught at least to make Maggi, just like how girls should be taught how to change the fuse wire, because in matters of survival, there is no gender.