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The importance of a maid – a domestic help – in women’s lives cannot be discounted. These women take care of our drudgery, and free up time for us.
I was in the dilemma whether to go or not to go to the grocery shop. I didn’t have choice but to go as I had ran out of wheat flour for making chapattis for lunch. After calculating the time required for going to grocery shop and coming back home, I decided to go with a heavy heart.
I bought groceries at the speed of light, paid the bills, and caught an auto. I asked the autowala to drive faster. At the signal, when he was waiting for the green signal, I kept reminding him to drive faster when the signal turns on. Finally after reaching home while I was paying him money, he asked, “Madam, itna ghai nahi karneka. Ghar pe Saas datengi kya late ho gaya to?” (Madam, you shouldn’t hurry so much. Will your MIL shout at you at home if you are late?)
I replied in hurried tone, “Nahi bhaiya. Koi nahi hain ghar pe aur meri maid ane vali hain. Woh aake vapas chali gayi to sara kaam mujhe karna padega.” (No. But no one is at homes and my maid is due to come. If she goes back, I’ll have to do all the work myself!)
The autovala started laughing at my answer, “Kya Madam, phone karke phir se bulane ka na maid ko.” (What Madam, you should call her up and ask her to come again.)
I wished I could explain him the significance of a maid in women’s lives and how her schedule is more important than our own. When I reached home, the maid was waiting with infuriated look. I hesitantly asked her if she could come later so that I could finish my cooking. She looked at me with offended expression as if I was asking her to transfer her entire property in my name. I had to literally chew my words immediately.
At another instance, my friends asked me to join them for movie and lunch. We all were waiting for catching up after a long time. I had planned everything as per my husband’s office timings, kid’s school timings and last but not the least as per my maid’s schedule. At the last moment, I had to cancel my plan since my maid did not turn up on her time. I was waiting for her furiously; she was not even picking up her phone. When she finally arrived, she told me that her bus got punctured and hence she had to walk all her way to reach here. I could not do anything but offer her water and tea.
Another day, it was a holiday for my husband. My beloved maid had still not come. More than an hour had passed since her usual time. My heart was beating fast at the thought of her not turning up. At that very moment, my husband unexpectedly got into a romantic mood. I was anxious, but didn’t have heart to say no to him since very few such occasions come in my life. My husband sensed the uneasiness. When he was about to ask, the doorbell rang.
It irked his romantic mood while I shouted with excitement, “Oh! It must me the maid.” And then I ran to open the door. It was indeed the maid. I breathed a sigh of relief. My husband could not fathom my excitement. His eyes pierced at me with killing gaze, “You never look so happy when I come back from office. Is she more important to you than me?” I tried to explain to him that though she might not be the most important but surely is one of the most required person in my life.
I realised that many times we keep very important decisions on hold, kyun ki ‘maid aane wali hain’. Decisions like the time to have bath, lunch, shopping, meeting with friends, going out with family, inviting guests at home and many more such decision depend on the schedule of our dear maid.
And why it should not be? Because of these lovely souls, many of us get some free time for ourselves; many of us can perceive our careers. After struggling with various maids and their bizarre excuses for taking leaves, when I got a reliable maid, I could not stop thanking my stars. Didi, amma, maid, house help, bai, mavashi whatever names we can use to call them but they surely acquire special place in our hearts. They work day and night, in good health and in bad health to give a better life and education to their kids, and some peaceful moments to us.
The least we can do is to give them respect for their dedication and hard work. Kudos to all domestic helps.
Published here earlier.
Image source: Flickr, for representational purposes only.