Families that eat together stay together… or some such…! At least that’s what I learnt in Standard II of school.
Now I am not quite sure what the staying together means, but presumably it implies that such families are able to cultivate better bonds with each other. Seems straightforward… But recent events made me think… Do Indian families eat together?
This seems really minor at first, but if you think about a little , the underlying misogyny becomes apparent. The young wife or mother is usually the one who slaves in the kitchen to make the food , but she doesnt get to sit with the rest of the family to enjoy the meal. If the meal has chapatis (Indian bread) then she has to make these and serve them as everyone eats , fresh and hot from the stove. The wife eats last and sometimes there isn’t even much left for her, and whatever is there is all cold. There is no one who makes fresh and hot chapatis for her.
As a young girl, I remember watching my mom eat last several times , sometimes standing by herself in the kitchen , sometimes she would eat the leftovers of the previous meal even because though my father didn’t like stale food himself, he was also very particular that no food should be wasted!!! I have always adored my father ,and he could do no wrong but it is only now many years later now that the unfairness of this expectation sinks into me.
Go on search Google Images for ‘Indian Family Dinner’ , you will notice that most of them show an Indian family seated around a table, with at least one woman serving the others.
So how did we end up like this?