Delhi-based graphic designer Pooja Dhingra uses her creative tool to present a perfect grooming class for soon-to-be-grooms this wedding season.
A graphic tutorial for soon-to-be grooms this wedding season teaches them the many little basic essentials that many Indian husbands don’t pay heed to.
The duties of a woman in marriage are well chalked out and drummed in. And every girl is made aware of her responsibility as a wife and sanskari bahu. But what about the grooms? Who teaches them their household responsibilities? Delhi-based graphic designer Pooja Dhingra uses her creative tool to present a perfect grooming class for soon-to-be-grooms this wedding season.
Talking about her inspiration, she says, “A friend asked me if I was interested in doing a ‘ladies only’ project. It was for a grooming school for ladies — a very elaborate programme on ghar-grihasti, personal grooming, sanskari manners, being an ideal bahu, kitchen management, table manners, social niceties, art of conversation etc. The brief left me baffled. There was nothing on the rights of a married woman, planned parenthood, financial independence, self-determination, couple counselling or joint sessions on what makes a good marriage.”
Pooja, a feminist at heart, rejected the project. “I was told to keep my personal and professional life separate. Going solo isn’t a smooth ride, given my rigorous personal filter that restricted the kinds of projects I should be working on. But I cannot work on projects that do not fit my ideology,” shares the artist, who worked as a full-time graphic designer for 12 years before venturing out solo.
That incident kept Pooja thinking and a quick search on the Internet made her realise that there was nothing on grooming for grooms. “In fact ‘Grooming school for Grooms’ doesn’t even show up as autosuggestion on Google. But it sure does for brides and pets. One such school has three levels of training — for a perfect lady, a confident bride and a celebrity wife. The target audience is mostly rich parents (with daughters who have just graduated), eagerly waiting to send their daughters off to their ‘forever’ homes.”
Pooja, who is in a live-in relationship for the past four years, shares, “I am happily unmarried and firmly believe that men and women are equals. I am in a relationship where my partner does equal household work and we never have to sit down to discuss who does what. It’s really sad that such courses exist and parents put so much pressure on their daughters to become good wives. So I decided to make a course for grooms in the form of a comic strip — starting with beginners and graduating to other levels once men get the basics right!”
She started using comic strips in her Instagram account (instagram.com/that_thing_i_do/) to vent her daily frustrations but now feels she can also use them to question the misogyny prevalent in society and other issues that bother her. Going forward she plans to bring out a series on essays by eminent feminist writers. “I believe everyone should read these essays. So, to get maximum reach I’m planning a comic strip based on the gist of the essay, making it more accessible and understandable for the masses,” she concludes.