Saturday, 24 January 2009

Tu Cheez Badi hai Mast Mast

Don't get thrown off by the title of the post...It isn't about Raveena Tandon..the forgotten Bollywood Actress...Its about A-la Maid or Au-pair.

If you still haven't figured it out, let me elaborate. Its about Maids and Domestic Helpers in India (Calling them servants is considered politically incorrect in today's world).

I have had a love hate relationship with this breed since I took the reins of running our household. Thankfully I never had to deal with them immediately after my marriage since MIL was handling that headache.

Better Half (BH) was being transferred and promoted with precision every year and so I like a dutiful wife followed him to the corners of India. This brought me in contact with the domestic worker breed from various places. Even if the language and custom changes with every area the personality of this breed remains constant wherever you will go.

They are people you cant live without. They are a topic of discussion between womenfriends and neighbours and are ranked even higher than all other favourite topics like Rising costs, gossiping about relatives and many such others.. In todays world we can't live without them...

I had my share of good, bad and ugly kinds with some languising in the non commentable category since my communication with them lasted in Monosyllables.

The good ones made my life very easy...I had one maid in Baroda who arrived so precisely at 6.30 am each day that I never had to set my alarm, she was quick with her work and polite with her tongue and someone whom I will always remember.

Another good one was named Lata in Pune..she became more of a friend than a maid...her sheer grit and determination of bringing up 2 young children single handedly whilst hiding from her drunkard husband who frequently beat her up really made me respect her a lot. She could speak broken english and her honesty was always admired by many people she worked for.

As always the list of bad and ugly is longer. Falling into that category is a maid who lived with me. Her parents were nice people and so looking at them I hired her. She cooked really well and worked hard...but her only drawback was that she fell into wrong company of other maids and got carried away. And a couple of others I had to give the boot just because I got suspicious after my house got burgled twice and I lost quite a few of my prized possessions.

With our life becoming faster and with more and more women joining the workforce, the domestic help has become one of our most valuable asset at home. Most of us beg, cajole and even revert to emotional blackmail with them to keep our work life balance. They are an anchor of sanity at home when we are rushing off to our jobs and careers.

Here in UK, the concept of domestic helper is no longer viable option in terms of cost. Also with people friendly gadgets who do most of the work, this breed which actually was much in demand in earlier times has become nearly extinct.

Inspite of my good and bitter experiences with them I am glad I do not have to depend on them now. Life is much more simpler and with life not so rushed as in India, the domestic chores are a minor blip on my radar.

5 comments:

Kaustubh said...

Hehe...nice post!

But I could not 'relate' to this post...since I belong to BPL (Below Poverty Line) category...those who cannot afford to have luxuries such as maid or butler...

We are forced to believe in 'self-help' :(

Aquarius said...

hahha as if you are doing the dhuni bhandi at home...kaustubh

AmitL said...

Hi,Aquarius-you were in my hometown?Baroda,that is!!When?Where?I'm just longing to be back there- 7 yrs in Dubai now,seems to be a sort of saturation point.:)
---
LOL-yes, domestic help is a favourite topic in most places there- people get up and the first worry is 'aaj bai aayegi?'(Sounds like a good title for a movie)...and,I agree-abroad,the domestic equipments do most of the job(they're now available even in India,but,a bit above limits for normal salaried class)plus,domestic help is a bit too expensive.

Aquarius said...

Oh I love Baroda...its one of my favourite cities....I was there 4 years back and lived on Gotri Road...

Haan 'Bai Ayegi Kya" Seems like a good name for a RGV film...with a bit of horror thrown in...hehehe

AmitL said...

Ohh..Gotri Road..well,our place is at Fatehgunj.:)

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