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The Biryani questioning

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

No, I am not a bad cook, and I can make tasty Biryani with the help of “Priya” Biryani masala very well. They even give stepwise directions on the back of the boxes and anyone who has seen my kitchen cabinets can now really understand on why I keep the “masala” packets in their original boxes tied with rubber bands and never transfer them to beautiful symmetric Tupperware or glass bottles.

Who needs graduation in Engineering followed with post-graduation in Marketing and working hard at a job in a similar role as your spouse when the first question aimed at you would be – “Did you learn to make Biryani?” and in the next second, my husband is asked – “How is the job going?”.

I tell you ! All the viva exams that I dealt with during engineering could not have prepared me for this question. I was so stumped because the question was coming from a girl my age who herself was an engineer! Of course, her engineering seat was wasted, but we have so many colleges now, so it was really a matter of supply and demand. What also struck me was that the girl actually has good intentions and now knows better, but the question was asked with ease and no qualms.

It is definitely not limited to one person, if I could keep a mental scoreboard, I would be buried in the layers of Biryani with the number of cooking-related questions thrown at me over other topics. Do not get me wrong here, I do cook well enough, and my family is alive as evidence, although on a side note, we did have some amazing cooks for many years who would probably be the main contributor to my family’s good health.

I was asked the same questions on telecommunications, microprocessors, etc, took the same “back” papers (for a non-engineer, this is a repeat of a paper that one fails the first time, but it is glorified enough in engineering campuses by a saying –*“Back nahi liya tho engineering kya kiya), the same questions of sales commits, targets in my work-life as my husband and male friends from college and work, but post-marriage, there were 2 different sets of question papers created – one for men and one for women. This has been like an out-of-syllabus paper for me so far.

There are very few outside my core family who really understood the curriculum and always asked the same questions without gender bias. Not unlike majority of engineers today who are asked to code despite having studied mechanical or civil streams, a lot of people including families and friends around us today still expect age-old behavior norms though we would be doing the same work as men. It wouldn’t hurt them to add one of the career questions to the existing list of cooking questions to help us at least pass out. This out-of-syllabus affliction is not limited to older generation, it affects young people too of all genders and my tip to the Indian ladies like me out there would be to keep answering them from your heart, fail and accumulate more “backs”, because **“Cooking nahi kiya tho atleast back liya “.

*Hindi translation to English: Taking a “back” is part of getting engineering degree

** Hindi translation to English: Couldn’t cook, but at least you could take a “back”

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Jul 05, 2023

According to me cookiing comes automatically to you when you want to eat good food need not be attached so much weightage when you have lot of other acedemic and career oriented tasks cooking is like an open university where you can enrole yourself when the need araises

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