Maid in India
By Vivek Hande
We are a working couple and have two growing sons. Consequently , a major issue in our lives is the availability or the lack of domestic help. The Maid assumes larger than life importance in our lives. The availability of an appropriate and a reliable maid governs our social life and several other facets of our life. With erratic working hours and ill timed visits to the hospital on account of emergencies, the maid assumes a central role in our existence.
What my parents could not teach me, several years of domesticity and dealing with maids of all shapes, sizes, caste, creed, temperament, religion and linguistic preference has taught me in abundant measure. Patience ,tolerance, humility, generosity, fortitude and a forgiving nature have become an intrinsic part of my character. My mother can’t recognize me and my wife wonders where these sterling traits disappear when it comes to my behaviour with her!
It has been a long journey and each of the ones on a very long list of maids had something to teach me. Many years back, Shantamma, who was our maid then, made it clear she would watch ‘Ramayan” in the mornings and “Two & a half men” (a popular American soap) in the evenings on my newly acquired TV and work had to be squeezed in between the two television offerings. Alice, a misguided spirit was under the impression that my home was the local center for “Alcoholics Anonymous”. After several trips to the hospital with her perennially inebriated husband, I became an expert on Alcohol related liver diseases but we had to march the couple on to someone more spirited than myself. Lata was very religious and that was a good omen till I realized she was serving the good lord more than us. Monday, she would want to visit the Lakshmi temple; Tuesday was devoted to the famous Hanuman mandir; Wednesday was for the Hande family; Thursday- a busy day; Sai Baba in the morning and Pir Baba at the Dargah in the evening; Friday was immersed in Chitala Devi and after some respite on Saturday, Mass at the Good Shepherd Church on Sunday was mandatory. Unfortunately our needs were more earthly and we had to let this spiritual soul drift away from us. Then came Saira; things seemed alright for sometime till I started discovering a lot of people in town wearing my favorite shirts and looking rather smart and trendy. She had to leave after depleting my wardrobe considerably. To be fair, there have been many who have been warm and kind and affectionate and some have been sincere and honest too.
Needless to say, it has taken a lot of tact and patience dealing with the lot and one has learnt many lessons along the way and one continues to learn each day. I must let you onto a little secret. Knowledge of my tremendous experience in dealing with maids has reached the precincts of the Indian Institute of Management. The various IIMs have approached me to launch their new MBA program on Maid Management and take over as the faculty head in view of the tremendous interest and demand for the course. Needless to say, I shall keep you posted on developments….