Girl happy coffee
Women tend to carry a larger mental load tied to organising the needs of the family Image Credit: Gulf News

“A home without us has no allure like pancakes without maple syrup or a starless sky.” I couldn’t agree more with my friend Mrs. Kohli and her analogies, no matter how absurd they may sound. I’ve just travelled to another city — Calcutta, to be with my parents as both of them are recuperating from illnesses, leaving the two men, the husband and the son, back home.

“Should I use the ordinary tap water or the filtered RO water?” Asked my son when I requested him to water the plants, on the phone. This got my eyes rolling. As the husband cooks lady’s finger, under my guidance (on video call), I tell him to cover the pan with a lid, for a while. He goes berserk looking for the lid and anxiously asks me to call the maid who helps clean the kitchen, and inquire about the whereabouts of the missing lid.

Experience and my gut tell me that it’s the husband who has misplaced it. He had absent-mindedly placed it inside the fridge. A good chef no doubt, but he needs a sous-chef to clean the mess each time he cooks up a delectable storm in the kitchen!

I’ve never felt so grateful before for the presence of eCommerce in our lives. The grocery shopping is being done by me, remotely and the goods get delivered back home. Urgent need for medicines and books arises; and I am notified to order the same.

They seem to be perpetually hungry, like Oliver Twist. The son avoids junk food like the plague and hence made us delete all food-delivery applications. Now, in my absence they are making-do with whatever limited culinary skills they possess.

Surrounded by vegetarian relatives, whom they avoid, they don’t mind going all the way to South Delhi, to a friend’s house, lured by the mutton biryani that he cooks … the best that we’ve tasted so far … laced with oodles of love and perfect balance of spices.

“In our absence, chaos in the cosmos (our respective homes) is normal, no Nav? That’s when they realise that we’re superwomen, brilliant jugglers!” Quipped Mrs. Kohli, as she has also decided to take time off from the mundane household responsibilities, to go on a solo trip to Ladakh. She seems to conveniently mix-up her recently acquired spiritual wisdom with her own worldly thoughts.

Firstly, the word ‘cosmos’ comes from ‘cosmology’, which means ‘order’. Mystics consider the universe to be an expression of order. One has to be conscious and climb the different levels of it, by shunning a mechanical way of life and going with the flow.

Secondly, ‘multitasking being the domain of women’ is a myth and the word “superwoman” is a trap. Psychiatrists say that, “Multitasking requires rapid switching from one task to another, increasing the cognitive demand, compared to completing single tasks in sequence and drains energy.” The truth is that nobody can multitask. An existing body of research shows that the human brain cannot manage multiple activities at once.

Particularly when two tasks are similar, they compete to use the same part of the brain. The brain can switch between activities rapidly, which makes people feel that they’re multitasking. ‘Multitasking’ is gender-neutral, however women are made to believe that they’re born with this superpower. Though men too are gradually entering into this realm.

Thirdly, women tend to carry a larger mental load tied to organising the needs of the family, it gives them immense joy to do so. Hence, we become better time managers.

As I try to get an appointment with the surgeon for my mother, I simultaneously order a book on Amazon for the son and am clicking the “Approve” button for the grocery delivery-boy waiting at the gate, in Gurgaon. Realisation dawns, why do we race thus? Expectations are met but it also leaves the body disjointed over time.

Dear friends, be gentle with your being. Go slow, as you grow, heal, learn and become the best version of yourselves! The world can wait …

Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Gurgaon, India. Twitter: @VpNavanita