The relationships we share with our house-helps are usually a potpourri of emotions. Maids know how to open our best most charitable corner of the heart, every passing Diwali or daughter’s school fee day, whichever occurs more often. They also bring out the longest faces our visages can manage, what with those undeclared leaves right after taking 2 month’s salary in advance. I have seen myself going from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other like a pendulum oscillating drunk, for reasons which are every home’s story. She comes (or not comes) for an hour every day and helps me with what she is supposed to, at least with 60 per cent of the job profile that was pre-decided when I kept her. She seems happy, especially since the other residences are Houses of Horrors for her and mine a halka ghar, whatever that means.
Houses of Horrors? She tells me bizarre stories of how some ‘momsters’ have asked her to clean verandas with cold water in peak winters and bare-foot please, the child may catch infection from her slippers. How her colleagues have often been falsely accused of eating burfis by the Madam, gossiping about Sir, having an affair with the driver, and being married to a murderer lodged in a village jail – all untruths and only spread to fire them and even keep another from hiring them. Their character certificates are written and re-written at the drop of a mop, and the stories continue - not just of how they treat us but also of how we women mistreat our own helps.
This post is about my maid, who comes and goes with a big smile on her face, so I am assuming she is happy with me...
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