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A backhanded ode to the housemaid who makes life so much easier for all women, be they working women or hassled stay at home moms like the author.
A typical day in the life of a middle class and upper middle class Indian woman is incomplete without the arrival of her anxiously awaited housemaid. Mine is no different.
I have blessed myself with two of them (Yes, maids are no less than a blessing when there is an active infant and a hyperactive toddler in the house). One is the cook and also does the daily cleaning chores. The other is my children’s nanny for the evening who also helps me with other infinite tasks. (P.S. The tasks I am referring to over here may sound unproductive. But trust me, they are crucial, like – clean up of the recurring pile of toys, detecting and cleaning unseen water pools here and there, treasure hunt of things you did not realise were important unless the toddler and the infant plot to make you realise, managing the perennial flow of kids laundry, avoiding intentional or unintentional mishaps during my inevitable visits to the washroom. Of course, feeding and changing sessions are implicit in the list.)
Sometimes when one of them takes an on the go casual leave or the ‘monthly’ sick leave, my day starts with an adrenaline rush. So I start fixing the most handy breakfast and the quickest possible lunch. And the very same moment, my lovely daughters decide to wake up together (Usually the older one wakes up after the younger one giving me the liberty of handling their morning routine one at a time. But on such days, even they try me!).
I convince myself to just forget the cleaning (It is going to be a mess again in no time anyway!) and simply focus on cooking the fastest meal (Because satisfying hunger is a basic instinct!). Post lunch, I am lucky if both the girls take a joint and hearty nap to give me just enough time to wind up the first half of the show and take a much needed bath.
To turn the day into nothing less than a doomsday for me, the nanny calls up. An ad hoc holiday is declared by the maids of my house. It then becomes a trial of my multitasking abilities and my patience.
On standard peaceful days (Days when both the maids do come), I spend evenings playing with my girls. But on fateful days like this one, my mission is to simply prepare khichadi for dinner, make space in the house strictly for walking, running and crawling without anybody getting hurt and make the bed ‘sleepable’ for the night. All this with a constant eye on the girls (As one topples frequently because she has no control over it and the other does it on purpose just coz it’s fun!)
When I put my daughters to sleep after an adventurous evening (Who needs outdoor sports?!), I have a feeling of being the most accomplished person in the world. Later, hubby is back and he genuinely asks me as he does everyday with all his love and concern, “So, how was your day dear?” And I answer, “Oh the same routine”. But in my mind I utter, “Do you really want to hear?” (I try my best not to bombard him after a tiresome day with details over which he has no control!).
Women who look after their children and household without any help must definitely possess some superhuman powers. Hats off to them. And kudos to my maids as they daily, without an ounce of doubt, make my day or rather ‘maid’ my day!
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Published here earlier.
Image source: flickr, for representational purposes only.