Men and women in India are still told that their careers should depend on their gender. No matter how successful she may be, household chores are considered a woman's responsibility and a man working in a kitchen is considered 'less manly.' The baselessness of such an argument requires no validation.
Recently, a story posted by Humans of Bombay further thwarted such obsolete gender binaries. Even though he grew up hearing that only women belong in the kitchen, this man refused to give up on his passion for cooking. In spite of no apparent support from his family, he spent all his time in the kitchen to learn the nuances of cooking from his mother. Pursuing his dreams, he opened his own shop and after 26 years, his patrons come to his shop for “chacha ke haath ka khaana.”
This is his story.
"I grew up with my grandfather telling me stories of how in order to be a man, I had to go out, work hard at my farm, make money and come back home to a home cooked meal from my 'loving' wife. Even though I tried listening to him, I was only interested in cooking...when my mother used to cook I used to learn things from her but whenever I entered the kitchen my family would get annoyed. They said that if I enter the kitchen then I will not be called a true man; that no girl will want to marry a man who is a house husband.
Growing up, I always I wondered how a man entering the kitchen affects the male ego and a woman who works out of the house isn't considered 'marriage material and 'homely'. As time went by, I realized that my passion for cooking would never die, so I left home set up my shop here. Initially, it was very difficult for me to find other men who would join the business because of this very stigma and for many years I was a one man army -- but as time went by and people saw that I was making a lot of money they joined my team.
Remember that saying of maa ke haath ka khaana? Funniest part is people who come to eat here often say they come here for chacha ke haath ka khaana -- and that's been the biggest compliment for me.
To all those people who live in the stone age and still think that 'roti banana sirf aurat ka kaam nahi (sic)' -- let me tell you, this is the 26th year that I can make the most perfect, round rotis and no, that doesn't make me any less of a man. In fact, some of my best cooking, is reserved for my wife...once she comes back home after a long day of work!"
His story is not only undeniably inspiring, but also reminds us that we can find champions of gender equality in the most unexpected corners.
H/T: Humans of Bombay