Monday, March 16, 2009
(This post was drafted on Friday but then we had guests staying over the weekend and this never got edited & posted)
I was on my way back home driving and suddenly I hear this voice over NPR saying Papad and Pappadam with a thick accent. Ahhhhh, some new fad of Indian cooking they must have discovered I thought.
And then the news caster went on to talk about Lijjat Papad and I was pleasantly surprised. I had a warm fuzzy feeling driving home in the sun listening about Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, popularly known as Lijjat, completing 50 gloroius years on March 15, 2009.
Representative of a typical middle class Indian Kitchen, my Ma's pantry was always stocked with Lijjat Papad. They were fried to be served with tea when impromptu guets arrived,roasted on fire and served with dal, roasted and crumbled on some sabzi's and sometimes even made into a dish by itself.
That Lijjat was the brain child of seven semi-literate Gujarati housewives from Bombay who wanted to start a venture to create a sustainable livelihood using the only skill they had i.e. cooking, makes me very proud.
We talk about women getting more independence, equality, freedom and I think of myself and these women. Having had the exact same opportunity as any boy would while growing up, having had the same education and starting off a career in a similar role as the husband, today I bring back home less than 2/3rd of his salary not because my employer pays women less but because I chose such a role to enjoy motherhood.
Am I privileged because I have a choice to do so or did I put my freedom to wrong use ?
I do voluntarily contribute more as a parent in our household and I get immense satisfaction of shaping two lives but then again really I haven't achieved even a fraction of what these semi-literate women have.
So what is it that personifies women power? Is it the choice that many educated women like me get today or the financial freedom these semi-literate women (with very little freedom possible in a India 50 years ago) struggled to achieve 50 years ago and have achieved not only financially but also socially by empowering a large population of Indian women
More about history of Lijjat Papad here
To roast a Lijjat Papad, pop one in the MicroWave for about a minute at 100% power.
To fry, deep fry in hot bubbling oil