Sunday, March 27, 2011

Servant maid

For any household in Indian urban families, the day starts by dispatching their daily chores and household activities. Normally a local servant is hired for those chores and any other help around the house work. To get a servant in first place, is time taking, usually everything goes by word of mouth. After mutual consent of the tasks that would be assigned to get it done, then comes the demand from the servant. Her demands would be something like the pay, about the time she can come, the amount of time she can spent on the work. Apart from this the master and the servant both knows it won’t stop there, unknown chores and unknown expectations are added from both sides. The conversation starts with perfect understanding.
She starts her work either the same day or next day; it goes well for couple days, and then starts the troubles. Servant starts to come late and starts to give different sorts of unimaginable logical reasons. The most tortures part is waiting for her to come and not sure whether she turns up or not. If we are aware she cannot make it that day, you could as well do at your pace. If you have to get things from her you need to be behind her all the time, explain it until she understands and then get it done, sometimes we feel we might as well get it done ourselves in half the time. Especially when older parents or in-laws are by themselves, the servants know that the older generation are helpless and have to rely on them that is when they give unquestionable reasons and say “grandma, I would have come and done those why did you do.” They cannot demand money from grandma’s or can make sincere effort to work for them for the money they have agreed.
I was lucky to have a servant maid during my early years of marriage. Back then I used to work in a Bank and she used to do all the household work, clean vessels, wash clothes, dry them and fold too. Recently, I saw a Kannada movie which shows how nowadays servant maids are. It is more like, they have their own terms and conditions. She dresses like she goes to a office, enters the house wears a apron and work whatever was in her contract and also serves coffee only to the household and not to the guests, when asked to prepare. In way it was nice to watch on the screen, later I found from my cousin, that there are union offices for servant maids and so they follow and work on contract rules. I was surprised to know, there are also online services to hire a servant maid for the kind of services you need as a package deal, on daily, weekly, monthly or bimonthly basis. As of now, I am the servant maid and the mistress of my home, so no rules for me I get the work done by myself, no cash benefits per se. I do in my pace. With all due respect to the laborious work they do, for the pay of course, I would like to conclude with an e-mail I received from my cousin about the changed lifestyle of servants from ancient day's illiterates to today’s techies.
Madam: Arrey........... You.......Useless Bai! Why didn’t you come last week? And that too without informing me??
Kamwali Bai: O Myadam... I had updated my Facebook status”Will be out of town for a week...” Saaheb knows ki. He even commented "Come back soon... Miss U!!"

“Gloriously false, a maid famous for all time.”
- Horace

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