A girl who cannot cook

“Oh! My god, you don’t know how to cook?”

“It’s high time you should learn cooking…”

“You are a girl, cooking is part of your job”

“If not for others, you should learn to cook for yourself at least”

“Who will marry you if you don’t know how to cook?”

“How will you face in-laws?”

This kind of comments I have been listening from a year now. I passed college a year ago, and have been selected in an MNC — Paramount Informatics as senior content writer. My salary is 20KPM and my office timings are from 11 am to 4 pm. I have been living with my family in Chennai since childhood. I like writing and aspire to be a writer whose articles will be published and whose book will be the bestseller.

I am Sara Anand but for most people A GIRL WHO CANNOT COOK.

Cooking is something I have always hated. And the reason behind it is my granny and my mother has taught me from childhood it is necessary for a girl to learn cook because they are meant for that. It’s not that I don’t know cooking but I never liked it. From the childhood, I decided that I will find a man who likes to cook. Someone who will not consider women as kitchen tool. Someone who will understand my dreams, my goals for life and my hatred for cooking. I am a modern girl who likes to think differently. I have never been typical girl and believe changes start with her.

I do have somebody who says he is ready to cook for me all my life — My boyfriend Nalin. We have been in relationship since a year. Our story has been very interesting.

He is my immediate junior in the office and he used to cook me amazing dishes, plus he talks to me the way nobody ever did. He never had male ego of a girl younger than him being his senior. He shares his knowledge with me and I did the same. Within a month, I fell in love with him and so, I proposed him. He took two months to finally accept my proposal. It’s been 9 months since we are in relationship and we understand each other so well.

My parents are well-aware about me being in relationship with a Nalin. His family doesn’t know and I never forced him to inform. He has been perfect for me as he understands my work, he agrees with my thinking and he has been through heartbreak like me.

Yes, this is not my first relationship nor am I virgin. I had been in relationship before with a boy named Vihar. We dated each other in school for 3 years but broke up eventually because he said, “Sara, I will not marry a girl, who cannot cook, I am sorry.” I never regretted any decision of my life nor do I feel bad about my mistakes because mistakes are the things that gave me life-long experiences. We are friends now and we understand each other very nicely. He is in relationship with one of our old classmate and I am with Nalin.

I have always been serious in relationship kind of girl who does not believe in pass-time. And for that, I have told Nalin to at least inform about our relationship to his friends, if not relationship. I have always been pressured from my home to leave him because they think he is not serious about me. But from the time I have spent with him, I found him quite serious. Yes, he has his flaws that he cannot express himself clearly. Also, someone from outside may think, he is not interested in this relationship at the first glance, but that is not the situation. He loves me and his ways and methods of expressing are a bit different.

He never makes plans but never refuses to execute mine. He never calls me just to talk but he stays awake with me when needed. He never takes me out on dates but is always ready to go with me. This love is enough for me in the generation of cheaters.

One fine day at home, mom again said, “Nalin talked at his home about you guys?

No mom not yet…I remind him every day

See beta we are not telling you guys should get but if he will talk to his parents we could make your relationship official and you could adjust to their thinking”

“What you mean by adjust, mamma, why would I adjust in any way?”

“Because girls have to adjust always. Like me and granny you only have to adjust. This has been rule — a universal rule”

“Okay, mom we are not talking about this anymore. I am done I am going to office”

I left for the office. I reached there at 11 and he was there with green and blue plaid shirt and blue formal pants. He looked very handsome. As I sat beside him, I sent him message through Skype

I NEED TO TALK TO YOU. SEE YOU IN 5 AT TERRACE. DON’T BE LATE.

We had freedom to go anywhere as far as we completed our daily task and today I had less work, so did he and I decided to talk to him about everything. As he came, firstly I hugged him tightly.

Hie Nalin

Hey Sara…What happened

“I just wanted to talk to you something important”

“Yeah tell me”

“Mom is again pressuring me. Please tell your parents about us. She is telling me she will start showing me boys and I don’t want that”

I didn’t realize I was crying and he said, “Ssshhhh please don’t cry”

“No Nalin please it’s a request this time, please don’t delay please”

“Okay okay I will talk to them today only”

“Thank you, thank you so much”

We resumed back to our work. That day passed quickly. I went home and rested for a bit. Then we all sat for dinner. I told everybody, “Today Nalin will talk to his parents and maybe we will be meeting his family in a day or two

Mom said, “Good, then let us know when we have to meet his family

Yes mom

Later that night, Nalin called…

Hie Sara

Hello, Nalin…What happened? Did you talk to your parents? Why are you sounding sad? What did they….

“Shhh Shhh Shhh my chatterbox… I thought I will harass you for a bit but my god you don’t stop. Yes my love I talked to my parents about us. They would love to meet you and your family”

“Yippee”

“But what I am thinking is first you meet them and I will meet your parents, then we will meet with families…what you think?”

“Okay, no problem my dear and thank you…it means a lot to me”

You’re most welcome my princess…Love you

“I love you too and one more thing, what should I wear?”

“We’ll discuss everything tomorrow…now you sleep”

“Okay good night bye”

I rushed to mom’s room and shouted, “Mom dad I am meeting Nalin’s parents’ tomorrow evening and he will come to meet you guys’ day after tomorrow”

Mom seemed happy as she came and hugged me and dad smiled but did not say anything. I went to my room and thought to myself, “Is this all correct? What will happen tomorrow? How will be our first meet?” I have always been a confident girl but this time not. I am very nervous and actually scared. I wrote all this in my diary.

Next day morning I woke up early and went to office. There Nalin was sitting with a bit sadness on his face. As I went to my desk he said, “Hie Sara

What happen Nalin?Why you upset? Are you worried about something?

“No I am fine, in fact, excited to make you meet my parents…But you have to take care of few things…You cannot wear jeans and if they ask you, do you know cooking? You have to say Yes. They are a bit conservative”

“What? You have not told them about me?”

“Yes, I have but they are conservative not me and we will stay away after marriage”

“Listen I don’t want you to separate from your parents, we all will stay together”

“Yes, sweetheart I know that but we can stay in separate house at equal distance from your house and mine”

“Okay, so what should I wear?”

“I have brought something for you, after office, you go home and be ready @7, I’ll pick you up”

“Okay”

The day passed in blur and I went home. I opened a box and it had a conservative salwar suit. I wore it and was ready. Nalin came to pick me up and we reached his home by 7.30. His parents welcomed us. His house was historic type like royal palace but a bit small.

Come dear, Nalin talked a lot about you, we were very excited to meet you…How are you?” His mom said

“I am fine aunty…how are you?” I said to her.

Nalin poked me from back and when I looked at her, he gave me signal by moving his eyes at his mother’s feet. I understood and touched her feet and his father’s feet. I was about to hug both of them, his mom said, “Sorry beta, we don’t hug each other in this house

I looked at Nalin and he was unable to meet my eyes.

Then Nalin took me to show his room. As we entered the room, he held me from the back. I said, “Nalin…you…”

“Ssshhhh…please don’t speak anything, just let me hold you. I haven’t held you since morning”

“Nalin…your parents…”

Before I could finish my sentence, he turned me around and pushed me towards wall, kept his hands on my waist and caged me.

Don’t worry they won’t come…”, he whispered near my lips

I was about to say something when he sealed my lips with him. He moved his hands from waist to back and his lips went from my lips to neck. I was just enjoying this feeling when I realized we were in his room with open door. I said, “Nalin, we are getting late, we have to go…aunty is shouting for dinner, now someone will come”

“Do we really have to go? I am not hungry…”

I rolled my eyes and pushed him forward towards into dining room. Then we all sat for the dinner and they prepared some veg items as well as non-veg. I said aunty, “Sorry aunty but I am pure vegetarian so if you guys don’t mind can you please eat this after I leave? I feel like puking because of its smell…

“But beta I think now you should be habitual to bear the smell, you will come to our house so soon”, said uncle.

“Sorry uncle”

“Yes, beta you both want to get married, right?”

“Yeah but after 2 years…right now just want to make official”

“Oh, we thought you both want to get married” and they looked towards Nalin.

Nalin again was uncomfortable.

After dinner, I told aunty that let Nalin meet my parents first and then we will make both the families meet. They agreed and I and Nalin left. While driving back home I said, “You did not tell your parents I am vegetarian? See I don’t mind you being non-veg but I really cannot tolerate the smell, sorry”

“Don’t worry I will explain them, sweetheart”

“Okay I trust you and one more question — Will they allow me to work?”

“Yes, I will talk to them about everything; I will take care of everything for you”

After reaching home, I talked to mom and dad about the dinner, skipping some details of course. That night again I went into thinking mode. Next morning I woke up with nervousness and excitement. I got ready and went to office. I was sending some emails when Nalin came.

He sat beside me and said, “Good morning beautiful. I have good news for you”

“What?”

“They loved you and they want us to get married so soon”

“Oh okay, we will discuss this later on, right now all I want to say is that you are coming to meet my parents tonight”

“Yes, honey I remember and all set”

That day passed quickly and we both reach my home. My parents welcomed us. They talked necessary talks, same as yesterday. Then he left.

The third day was the biggest for me. Today both the families are meeting. I couldn’t sleep tonight. I was thinking and over thinking. The day passed in blur and evening arrived. Nalin and his family came and we all sat for dinner. Nalin’s mother asked, “Sara did you prepare dinner?”

“No aunty I cannot cook”

“Beta you have to learn”, Nalin’s father said

My father looked at me and then I told him, “Yes sure”

Mom said, “Yes I will teach her soon”

“And beta girls of our house don’t work, so you have to leave the job”, Nalin’s mother said

“Okay, aunty…No problem”

“So, we have brought engagement ring, shall we start the ritual?”, Nalin’s father said after dinner

I agreed to all the things because Nalin already assured me for everything.

We got engaged. Months passed and as I started going to Nalin’s home more and more restrictions came regarding clothes and talks and hairs. I learned cooking but Nalin started making me feel inferior and once when we were talking about my career…

“Sara, you cannot work after marriage”

“But it is everything to me Nalin, I cannot leave that”

He slapped me and said, “No you cannot…”

That day I decided I am leaving him and I finally took that big step.

After few days, I received one Sunday, an offer letter from Ney York Times stating I got the job of columnist and I have to leave in 15 days. I informed this to my parents. Mom wasn’t happy but for the first time, I didn’t care. That day evening I went home to meet them.

Mom said, “Beta please don’t give up on Nalin. These things happen. You sort it out with him. Once you get married and you start your family, these problems will vanish.”

“Mom firstly I will not get married to a man who will physically or verbally abuse me and secondly I will not compromise my career for someone who never appreciated me for anything and mom I learned cooking but not for a boy, for myself, so that I can survive and be independent. I may seem selfish but I tried to change. I realized that I don’t want to make somebody happy just because he thinks I am made for kitchen and can control me. I learned cooking for me. I undoubtedly love Nalin and you guys but I love myself more…”

Sorry dad, I gave up. I am so sorry…

Dad said, “It’s okay to fight for what you love and for your justice. I am with you if nobody else…I am proud of you

“Thank you, dad. I will leave and meet Nalin. Will you come with me?”

“Good luck with your life Nalin, I am sorry I have to leave, I love you but I have learned to love myself more. And one more thing…I have made lunch for you on the table…do eat it…” I said with a smile and left for my new life…