Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Motherhood has made me into a lazy Indian wife

(I USED to be the most perfect Indian wife on Earth...!!)

It's a fact...toddlerhood is totally kicking my ass. Oh yes, now my daughter is running. Outrunning me!
My wifely duties have really suffered. I haven't cooked a single thing in 2 months. All I eat for lunch is salad. And as soon as my husband comes in the door from work at 5pm, I immediately say, "Oh thank God you're home so I can put my feet up! What are you cooking me? I'm STARVING!" The only thing I have cooked him is his lousy cup of chai in the morning. Oh, my poor husband-ji. I know my MIL must be absolutely horrified that I'm both starving her son and putting him to work, after he gets home from work!

Right now this munchkin is really running circles around me! Toddlerhood is challenging in the fact that they still act like little drunk people, but they're running around, babbling crap you can't understand, and she still doesn't comprehend that she can't touch the cord or eat paper, for instance.

Anyways, this whole motherhood thing has made me into the laziest Indian wife ever. I remember the days...in a galaxy far far away (really only 2 years ago)...where I would cook all these complicated Indian dishes, clean the house spotless, practice my Hindi/Tamil/Telugu, and make myself look presentable. Oh, that seems like centuries ago. Now, I'm so busy looking after my daughter, I can't bring myself to cook anything, I hire a house cleaner, and on the good days I manage to brush my hair!!!

It's official. I'm totally the worst Indian wife ever. Oh, well, at least I know I'm a good mother. 

I'm sure the average Indian man would have divorced me by now, but husband-ji has been a great sport about it all. He never complains and he really helps me out. Fortunately for me, he loves to cook, so he's used this opportunity of my laziness to rediscover his passion for cooking. Every single day he cooks something different - just this week we had Pav Bhaji, Hyderabadi Veg Biriyani with Mirch Ka Salan, my favorite Aloo Jeera, Tomato Dal, Dosa, Tomato Chutney...So at least I'm a totally spoiled lazy Indian wife.

(Husband-ji's Hyderabadi Veg Biriyani with Mirch ka salan)

Maya has finally started to eat what we're eating (full-time) so at least I don't have to make her separate food. But I really can't bring myself to stand on my feet for an extra 30 minutes to cook for husband-ji, especially when he always has some remark like "There should be just a pinch more of jeera (cumin)"!!! I swear to God he gets those ideas from watching too much Food Network TV competitions.

For all the Westerners wondering what are the Indian wife duties...let me tell ya...being a traditional Indian wife is a full-time job. It's like being an Indian Goddess with 8 arms and doing the work of 20 people. The only thing I can compare it to by Western standards is a stepford wife on steroids. With 8 arms.

When I think of the traditional Indian wife, what automatically comes up is the 6 noble virtues of an Indian wife - from the Niti Sastra verses, which just happens to be from a 13th century Telugu poet. Although it is from the 13th century, it totally reminds me of many of the Indian elder aunty's in our big fat Indian family, especially my MIL who is a traditional Telugu lady.

(18th century South Indian antique - my parents' collection)

6 Noble virtues of an Indian Wife

1) Karyeshu Dasi: Works like a servant (can't you hire that out?)
2) Karaneshu Mantri : Advises like a minister (now that I can do...)
3) Bhojeshu Mata: Feeds like a mother (I reserve that task for his actual mother)
4) Shayaneshu Ramba : Pleases in bed like the heavenly beauty Rambha (Who the heck is Rambha, and does she take credit card?)
5) Roopeshu Lakshmi : Beautiful like the Goddess Lakshmi (I'm kinda cute with the makeup)
6) Kshmayeshu Dharitri : Having patience like Earth (this I have 100%)

So as a totally lazy Indian wife, I'd say I have #2 and #6. I can totally advise like a minister due to my dominating Alpha Western woman tendencies. And I surely have a shitload of patience, because how else would one make it through the day as a stay-at-home mom with a toddler?



  1. The roles are reversed to some extent in our household. I work from home full-time (flex-hours via remote-access). Kiddos go to daycare as they will NOT let me do anything otherwise.

    I love cooking, like your husband. I have a repertoire of both Indian and Italian witchcraft...er, did I say cooking earlier? I suppose it does turn out edible every once in a while.

    1. Hi DH,
      That's great to hear that you love cooking too. Just like my husband - Indian & Italian cooking! You guys should totally be friends :) You have so much in common!

  2. Hi Alexandra.
    This is R again.Hope you know who I am. I think you are a great wife and great mother. Don't beat yourself up. An Indian wife in this age would not do more than that. Its the fault of the times we are living in. No joint families = no one to take care of the toddler. My cousins even moved to India, so they can have their parents cook and take care of the kids while they work or have fun. I think you are doing a really good job. Cooking Indian food itself is very complicated for a westerner. D can't remember even the names of the ingredients.lol. He is lucky he doesn't have to cook.

    1. Of course I know who you are! Vaisudhaiva kumtumbakam = my favorite blog written by an Indian girl's perspective!
      The differences regarding our generation's Indian wives and our elder's generation's Indian wives are like night and day, sometimes I can't believe it...I have even noticed it with my (Indian) friends and cousin's wives...many are totally lazy like me ;) I know I'm not alone!
      OMG the Indian kitchen with all the spices is so confusing. I always get confused with everything because I can't tell the difference in smell, and my husband never labels them. Actually, that gave me an idea for a future post...about all my trials and errors in our Indian kitchen. That story is going to be a hilarious one to tell..hahaha!

  3. Hm, I'm more like the 3 and 4 kind of wife. :)

    1. Then your husband is very lucky! ;)

  4. I am so thrilled to know that my blog is your favorite. lol. Thanks.

    1. Yes, it is really interesting to hear your take on Western dating, and your thought process. I love it and I can totally relate.

  5. As an Indian woman I can relate to this...many of our elders still impose these beliefs even tho our generatiion is more modern now and we do not do these things. it is still expected to a degree.

  6. What do you use to learn Telugu? I've been trying to learn from my boyfriend but alas, he's not a very good teacher.

    1. I used a Telugu phrasebook and then I just do flash cards. My hubby is also a terrible teacher ;)


      Now I'm picking up a bit more because I've been listening to Telugu nursery rhymes on repeat with my daughter! Youtube is also good for pronounciation

    2. He always says "just listen when my friends and I talk" and "you'll learn fast when you come to India". Like that's supposed to help! I'll check it out. I already know German so I'm not new at learning languages, but telugu is a whole other ballgame! The pronunciation is so hard. Are you going to teach telugu/Hindi/Tamil to your daughter?

    3. @alexandra - Hahahaha OMG my hubby used to say the same things! It is true though, just by listening you can pick up a lot of conversational dialogue - the only problem is they talk so fast!
      I wanted my hubby to teach Maya, but he has not, and now even my MIL is not teaching her - they all only talk in English to her. But now Maya speaks about 20 words, so they are starting to talk more to her. Hubby says he only wants to teach her Tamil though!

    4. It is true, but I need some kind of fundamental lessons too! Oh my gosh, why does he only want to teach her Tamil? I've heard Tamil is even harder than Telugu. This program I found is really helping though, I already know 100 words. :)

    5. Excellent! I will check it out! Then I can teach Maya too!
      UGH Tamil is soooooooooo difficult.....can't even pronounce...too much rolling...

  7. Hey Alexandra!

    I found this Telugu learning program, I've tried it out a bit and it seems pretty legitimate. They have one for absolute beginners and advanced beginners. I thought you might find it handy. http://eurotalk.com/us/store/learn/telugu
    Maybe a late Christmas present to yourself? ;)



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