Today I made the OPOS Brinji for lunch (will post the recipe in a different blog). Krishnan and Amma were watching the segments of the Tamil Super Singer finals that they had missed. I don’t watch that program except when someone is exceptionally gifted and sings well. Like all singing competitions this one also has its share of sob stories, human interest stories and other “audience” attracting tricks and that puts me off.
Anyway, as soon as I went into the kitchen, Krishnan paused the recording, came and asked me if he can help. I asked him to chop onions in the chopper. He has done it many times and he knows how to use the chopper, but I still tried to remove the root mound of the onion and cutting it into halves before giving it to him. Then he tried to cut the onions into smaller slices so that the chopper chops it easily. I again commented on how to use two fingers to hold the onion down while slicing it. In the meantime, I was making fresh coconut milk for the Brinji and that was irritating me. I love cooking the OPOS way because its so quick but I get irritated anytime the prep is a little involved.
I am also the kind who likes to decide what to eat at the last minute …. which again is helped by OPOS because its so darn easy to make anything using the methodology. The only thing that I don’t always manage to outsource or do before hand is the cutting of veggies. I get the OPOS ginger-garlic paste, tamarind paste, cooking dal, bottled tadka etc ready but many times just let the veggies be cut at the last minute. Coconut milk is also easy, but a little messy.
Back to Krishnan cutting the veggies, I next gave him carrots and beans to chop. I was also layering the pressure cooker as he was chopping, so as he tried to cut the carrots I told him to hold on and removed the chopped onions to layer first. All this while I was having an expression that is reserved for Krishnan and my mom when am just pissed off and as though am doing them a favour by letting them help me. If I were on the receiving end of that expression, I would just get out of that space and not offer any help. I had that expression as I tried telling Krishnan to chop slowly, that it wasn’t about how quick he was but to do it right. Then when he asked if he can wash the beans and chop them, I said no and washed them, removed the ends and then gave it to him to be chopped. Krishnan is a good man and he loves me, so he didn’t leave the kitchen and continued to help me inspite of my special “glum” don’t-help-me face till I finally told him, that’s it, and there was nothing else to be done.
I put everything together and made the OPOS Brinji and while putting it together it dawned on me that I didn’t deserve to be helped by Krishnan today and that I wasn’t easy to help today !!! I have said this to many of my friends that “in general” men aren’t intuitive in the kitchen or with household chores, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to help. One needs to ask for help and clearly specify the kind of help you need. Most men do help when asked. Most women just don’t ask. And then some women like me aren’t easy to help.
I was behaving as though am doing Krishnan a favour by letting him help me and that’s not easy for the one who is offering help. That’s the key thing. I probably would have done the same thing many times at work and in other settings with other people. Are we really willing to accept help and are we easy to help?? Think about that. One is to ask for help but more importantly we also need to be easy to help.
Ask for help and allow yourself be helped by accepting it easily. Good lesson for the day!