Friday, December 22, 2006

Maid in India

One of the most important people influencing our lives is our domestic maid. If she does not come at the time she should, the whole day goes haywire. We do not wake up on time, do not get our bed tea, have to wash last night’s dirty utensils and invariably get late to office. If one has a maid who comes twice in a day and misses coming for the day, right from the morning tea to the Herculean task of washing and drying our linen and in some cases ironing them comes onto us.

How can she not come? How can she take us for granted? We got to get up early, get ready, negotiate the traffic on way the hour-long drive to office, sit infront of the computer the whole day with just one tea break, miss our lunch sometimes sitting in an useless meeting and drink liters of tea/coffee during those meetings. We have to cut across the same traffic for more than an hour on the way back. She cant’ expect us to come back after a tired day’s sitting work and then start rubbing detergent to the cup in which we drank tea! This is intolerable. This is so unprofessional!! If the day she is not in attendance happens to be a weekend, home turns into hell. Most of us get only two days in the week when we can relax a bit and do a little of our ‘own thing’. If she does not arrive on any of these two days, we turn totally helpless. We don’t know where the washing powder is kept. We have not clue where the clothes hanging clips are kept. We have to find all these and more. The washing scrubber goes missing. Sugar is over so no tea. It’s the worst day in a long time. Sounds similar?

Just imagine a maid’s life. If she has to ring your bell at 0630 hours every morning, she has to wake atleast by 0430. She has to work around her house, cleaning and clearing her garbage of yesterday. She has to cook for her family, as she would be back home only late afternoon. She has to work on her personal hygiene because we make faces when she shows even an iota of dirt on her already mud and sweat stained saree. We have a grace time of atleast 15 minutes to enter office. But if she is late by even 15 minutes we smack sarcastic comments on her for the whole week. She will finish your home and then work in atleast five more houses before thinking of her lunch. Not many of us ever offer her tea. Even when we do, we pour tea in the broken cup, which we were thinking to keep our washing detergent. Some gracious people I know actually offer their maids slice of bread and/or chapatti with her tea. Only the slice will be a toast kept for two days in the fridge. The chapatti also will invariably be atleast a day old. She is delighted if she is offered a snack. She is not bothered if the snack is stale or she will have to work with an empty stomach, anyways. We all envy friends who have a 5-day working week. Those of us, who have a 5-day working week, cherish our weekends and exploit in all ways possible. The maid is expected to come 7 days a week, 365 days a year. One day of unanticipated absence and she is touted as a ‘lazy, work evasion’ personality.

I don’t refute there are some maids who are foul mouthed and explicitly rowdy. But, you have an option to change the maid. The maid, soft spoken or a defiant one does not. She has to still wake up earlier than you, clean your muck, remain famished for half a day and still cannot fall sick, attend family rituals or expect a grace time to come in the morning.

All this because of her tag, “Maid in India”


No comments: