The Madam And The Maid

Posted: January 9, 2019

A poem which narrates the journey of a maid servant who was uplifted and made self-sufficient by a kind ‘madam’. Read on!

Lucky I must say I have been,

Women like me go through the world unseen.

As human beings with dreams and desires,

At least I had food- something which millions aspire.

 

My employer was generous, she often gave me-

Leftovers for lunch, discarded clothes and jewelry.

Extra sweetmeats (she was conscious of gaining weight),

Extra rupees on Diwali, thus there was always food on the plate.

 

For my whole family- she did let me use,

The fan in summer and she did excuse,

Me from work when I was really ill.

(She deducted a portion from my pay still)!

Gave me medicine, though my son would state

They were always past the expiry date!

 

In the unpredictable universe in which I reside,

Having an employer like her was a matter of pride.

Other problems in life did not bother me but,

For the poor of the world, life is never easy.

 

So, the drunken beatings I took in my stride,

Thanked the Lord when husband spared my hide.

Was grateful my children were going to school,

Education would be their most powerful tool.

 

Then my employer moved out of town, and I had to

Search for another one, I was afraid, it’s true.

Horror stories from friends I had heard,

Entering a new home felt quite weird.

 

My potential new employer, to my utter surprise,

Asked me to sit on her cream couch, but I was wise.

That must be a trap, so I squatted on the floor.

She asked me to sit on the couch again- I bolted the door.

 

I was so afraid, I had never heard such a thing,

New-fangled ideas these America-returned people bring.

Anyway, the job was offered to me after questions few.

She seemed interested in my family, that was unusual too.

 

To my joy, she asked to get to work right away,

An extra day’s earnings do go a long way.

I thought she was unhinged when she stood beside me,

In the kitchen as I chopped vegetables, boiling tea,

Which she poured in two cups that were identical-

Why was she trying to do this, I thought, I was not an equal!

 

Suddenly I was scared for my life, who knew

If Madam was a madwoman, she lived by herself too.

I might have quit, but my intuition seemed to tell me,

Nothing was wrong, besides, I was desperate for money.

 

As time passed by, I gradually came to realize,

She actually cared about me as a human being, to my surprise.

She noticed my bruises, though I never really opened my mouth,

Gave me resources if I was endangered, or if things went south.

 

She taught me how to save, helped me open a bank account,

Where unknown to my husband, I regularly invested small amounts.

For the first time I felt my life was worthy of something,

My self-confidence blossomed, I grew my wings.

 

That was ten years ago, now my children are grown,

My girl starts college today, I can support her education on my own.

I run a small business, a tiny fruit and vegetable stand,

My children after school sometimes lend me a hand.

 

I am widowed now, his life was claimed by the liquor,

I had a tough time as he had grown sicker.

Yet I was self-sufficient, as Madam had taught me,

How to skillfully manage my precious money.

 

Of course I am no longer her employee,

She now lives elsewhere with her husband and little boy

Before I met Madam, what respect was, I did not know,

But when I found it, it made my self-worth grow.

 

The work was no different, nor was the pay,

Yet something changed completely that first day.

Now I have been emancipated from servitude,

All thanks to Madam’s benevolent attitude!

 

Image Source: Pexels

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