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The women working in our homes are so intrinsic to our daily lives and yet, they are so invisible. It's time we recognise and appreciate them.
The women working in our homes are so intrinsic to our daily lives and yet, they are so invisible. It’s time we recognise and appreciate them.
Who is she? Is she ordinary or extra-ordinary? Does she stand out or is she lost in the race of life ? Is she one amongst us or, is she above or below us?
Do you ever stop and ask yourself these questions when she comes into your house, once or twice a day, sometimes for the whole day?
She comes in to take care of your household. She knows what you ate last night for dinner when she cleans your utensils the next day. She knows what you wore last night when she washes you clothes. She knows your preferences for breakfast, and how much sugar you need in your coffee. She imagines herself in your fancy outfits when she irons them for you. She dreams of her kids playing with the same expensive toys as she takes care of your kids, like she is their second mother.
But what she gets are a few leftover rotis, old toys which your kids discard, and old clothes you gave away when you felt ‘charitable’.
I am sure you know who I am talking about by now. We know her by many names – ‘Bai’, ‘Naukrani’ or ‘Kamwali’. We say things like ‘meri wali’ when referring to her.
Why do we treat them with disrespect and not as humans? Why are they ignored and treated as invisible? A lot of people believe that simply because they can afford help, that they can treat them like dirt. It is so disheartening when I see a family enjoying a lovely fine-dining experience in a posh restaurant while the help is made to hover around and tend to the toddler. But she is never included, and is always sidelined.
Don’t you think she deserves more than this? Don’t you think she is an integral part of our lives as our families, work, and friends?
Can we take a moment to thank her, not just by giving her a tip or gift on Diwali but show her gratitude everyday when she into our beautiful homes. Can’t we be just a little bit more warm?
She is no different from you. You hired her because you are unable to cope up with all the work that needs to be done. She needs to be praised and appreciated for that. Your relationship with your help is exactly the same as the one between you and your boss. The nature of work may differ, but the relationship is essentially the same.
Can you do something to make her feel like she is seen? Can you make her feel a little special? Yes, we all can. Just as I did, by making her the face of my brand and my NGO. Because I know she defines empowerment in the true sense by taking care of not only her own family but my family as well, and many others.
How amazing it was to see her get her ready, with those eyeliners, blush and six yards of a beautiful sari. I know who is she and I want everyone to know she is one amongst us, not less than us.
She is my “Nilu”.
First published here.
Image Source- a still from the film Nil Battey Sannata
Social reformer, Freethinker, Experimentalist, 1 Part Entrepreneur ,2 Parts Educator ,3 Parts Blogger ,4 Parts poetess, Too many Parts.
A impenitent, non-conformist, adventurous, boho soul and an admirer of life. Loves my Indian roots, read more...
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