Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Indian(s) Cooking

A cultural predicament. The men that cooked our dinner last weekend are Indian citizens. Two of the three guys LOVE to cook. They arrived with all of the supplies to cook a meal for the eleven of us. The meal was great but there was an interesting nugget that we learned that is truly a cultural difference. Ajit is the hard core programmer and tech geek who is not married and has no real interest in cooking. Ajit will eventually get married the traditional way, with an arranged marriage: "you adapt, you make it work, it can be very nice" and of course there is the exchange of dowries and such.

Raahi is the programmer with terrific communication and customer skills. He is married and has a little 3 month old child. He doesn't get to see his family very often because he works in the States, Japan, Malaysia, and anyplace else that he is needed. His wife has a career in India and won't be moving.
Raahi keeps his cooking skills a secret. There are traditional roles at stake here, and men don't cook.

Tamal is the curious one. Philosophy, politics, culture, conversation, technical, history, religion, and COOKING. Tamal seems to enjoy everything.
Tamal has a dilemma. He loves cooking. He wants a wife. He is going to have to make some decisions. If he marries a 'traditional' woman the cooking will become a secret, an experimental phase of his 'younger days' that isn't talked about anymore. He will miss cooking. He will have a wife. If he marries a woman who has been 'westernized' he can continue to cook, but of course there are those other 'westernization' side effects that come along for the ride. Just because he likes to cook does not necessarily mean that he wants to do all of the cleaning and other chores that 'westernized' men get suckered into.

Beth has always said that ladies should always marry a man 'who likes to cook'. (Her mother always said that it is just as easy to marry a 'rich man' than a 'poor man') Hmmm a rich guy that loves to cook... this awful image of Richard Simmons doing jumping jacks keeps popping up... (I don't cook and I don't do jumping jacks in silly clothes either)

So the dilema is: Should Tamal hide his love for cooking or does he narrow his prospects significantly by only considering women that are 'comfortable' with a man in the kitchen. After some chatting we learned that Tamal has recently decided to go with Raahi's technique and leave the cooking behind. The world will have one less man in the kitchen.

The names have been changed to allow our Indian friends to keep their secret hobbies truly secret. I will try to cook more.


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