But why to cook?

But why to cook?

As old age creeps in steadily (rather unsteadily), walking, climbing steep stairs, crossing the roads torment the ladies. So does cooking. When young, the lady, if part of a well-peopled joint family, may not or need not decide what to cook.

The domineering matriarch, holding the culinary portfolio will fix the menu and assign auxiliary chores like cleaning and cutting the vegetables, mixing and kneading the dough for rotis, puris and such to the juniors. Sooner or later, the daughter-in-law going up in the hierarchy will be allowed to perform solo. But there may be certain traps if the family is pronouncedly orthodox, and her injudicious usage of onion or garlic on a New Moon or other taboo days would be cataclysmal. Independence may mean freedom. But it comes with strings of responsibility attached.

Furthermore, in addition to what to cook and when to cook, a stage is reached when the lady asks herself but why to cook? Have I not slogged enough, as the contemptuous phrase goes, as the ‘creature of the kitchen’?

He (the husband) has retired long back and is enjoying his sunset years sitting immobile before the TV, munching salted, crispy potato chips, watching news TV debates on trending topics, which is nothing but verbal rugby. Or the umpteenth rerun of a classic one-day battle royale between India and (who else but) Pakistan.

Not to be outdone, the lady may wish to settle down to watch daily soaps showcasing vengeance, wily ploys and abuses, upsetting the peace of mind, like a half brick thrown into a lily pond.

And then the food channels. The most welcome personality will be the channel chef, a well-fed personality, standing authoritatively in a gleaming kitchen. His recipe will be sacrosanct, spelt out in slow speed so the retiree from the kitchen can record verbatim in a fat notebook, invariably a last year’s unused diary. The dish displayed will only be an ‘eye-candy’ as most of the ladies may not really come around to trying the dish after so many years of slogging in the kitchen. Cooking will be deemed as a spectator pastime and not participatory.

So what then to eat to keep the body and soul together? With the next generation having moved away to greener pastures, cooking for those left behind in the empty nest would be for only two, both grudgingly on a diet. The solution is simple. The food will be ordered online. It will arrive, hermetically sealed in plastic containers, faster than the fire engine or ambulance, as that wisecrack goes! So why bother to cook?