Soon after Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed Defence Minister in the recent cabinet reshuffle in the Narendra Modi government, an old picture of her making avakaaya pickle or mango pickle surfaced on the internet.
There's also a video, said to have been taken some time in 2013, where Nirmala can be seen preparing pickles with other members of the house.
The page reportedly belongs to her husband Parakala Prabhakar.
A caption under the video on YouTube reads, "Akka and Nirmala making Avakaaya in Isavaasyam, Summer 2013."
Parakala Prabhakar, who is a Communications Adviser to the Government of Andhra Pradesh, had also tweeted pictures in 2013 about the same.
Final touches to Avakaaya 2013, Isavaasyam. Akka, Nirmala, Ammalu, Bava, Subramanyam. A panoramic view. pic.twitter.com/URIAZusvBkâ€” Parakala Prabhakar (@parakala) May 19, 2013
While we regularly get to see pictures and watch videos of persons holding public offices, those are usually in their professional capacity. Their personal lives, understandably, are well-guarded. These photographs and videos, however, give us that rare peek into the life of one of the country's top ranking ministers, and may make you smile for how ordinary and routine it looks.
Many have praised the minister for being "humble" and for her "simplicity". (Though Nirmala was made Minister for Commerce and Industry only in 2014, she held a number of important posts in the BJP prior to that.)
But as singer Chinmayi Sripada pointed out in a series of tweets, women, across all fields, are often judged by and applauded for the "homely" duties they perform, even though they may be achievers in their careers. Sadly, this standard rarely applies to men.
Sweet and that looks like Avakaaya I would like to live with. (Also when was the last time we showed a male minister helping his mom?) pic.twitter.com/MGVPl4pWp7â€” Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) September 5, 2017
The thing is - I always see one â€˜homelyâ€™ photo of a woman achiever in politics. Indra Nooyi to Space scientists, no one is spared.â€” Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) September 5, 2017
Almost as if to tell the world - She also cooks cleans and all other gender assigned roles AND THEN she is also defence minister.â€” Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) September 5, 2017
This is what journalist Kavitha Rao had to say:
One of the most popular tropes on RW Twitter is that all feminists are single and child free while non feminists are pickle making moms.â€” kavitharao (@kavitharao) September 5, 2017
There are a great many of us who parent, work, cook, and look after the elderly while still managing to not break any feminist "rules."â€” kavitharao (@kavitharao) September 5, 2017