Thursday, January 23, 2014

गृहशोभा गोभी मंचूरियन - Jourdain 5


Author's Note:- The urban Indian housewife is a recent invention. In good ol’ rustic times when tetanus and smallpox were problems bigger than dandruff and BO, the average household could rarely afford to keep its women idle. The women would keep themselves busy milking milch and de-husking husk while men ventured out to gather the milch to milk and husk to de-husk.
While one might argue that things haven’t changed much in modern times, with husbands still the ones bringing home packets of Amul toned milk and the wives still the ones cutting them open, the advent of the modern sabzi market and general stores has ensured that you needn’t grow and delouse what you need for dinner. Unfortunately, these giant leaps for mankind have left a chasm in the urban homemaker’s timetable, allowing boredom to creep in.
Enter the triple entente of Grihashobha, Manorama and (Meri) Saheli. These Good Housekeeping clones are an Indian feminist’s nightmare, propagating super regressive ideas so effectively that after reading just one issue, 'haath se nikli hui' working wives have been known to quit their jobs to bear and rear kids and husbands respectively. Here is a humble rhyme dedicated to the greatest of the three.

A paper sponge to soak my boredom
With veg cutlets and tales of passion
Cushion covers and saree falls
Narrow strips where I limit my fashion

Like a senile friend, with old tales to tell
Every year is the same routine
Jal-jeera in summer, knit patterns in winter
And advice on how to control your teen

For few pages you play aching friend
And for some my agony aunt
And the pages in between to show
Things I need to own, but can’t

Win over your hubby with yummy food
Make him pay with lukewarm tea
I don’t know, this sounds passive-aggressive
Not for now, not for me

What kind of friend, are you really?
Judging me from every glossy page
You think you’ll be a better wife than me
In flesh a siren, of mind a sage?

You know what, even your recipes suck
Page ten, the one with cottage cheese.
Fuck you; he didn't like it at all
Step out in flesh, you try to please!

I banish you to a dusty death
Under the rake to yellow and die
We are alike in many ways,
You have issues, so do I. 

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