It is often said that the suburban railways are the life line of the city of Bombay. I dont think thats true. From my understanding, its the househelps or rather known as maids or bais who are the lifeline of Bombay. Talk to any person in Bombay, top of their list for cribbing (after the rising prices of food and rick fares and housing) will be the lack of a good househelp.
Yep, ladies and in some cases even gentlemen, you are in demand, so much in demand that I doubt you are asking for enough remuneration.
You are like an addiction without which its difficult to survive in Bombay. Whether its a working mother, a stay at home mother, a still-to-get-married-but-in-Bombay-to-work guy, I-live-with-my-parents-fellow, who ever, all of us need you.
And I think you people do a commendable job.
To be honest, my track record with househelps in Bombay has been pathetic. the main reason being the timings. One of your comrade works at my house now a days, and honestly the lesser said about her, better. I promise, I treat her with respect and I dont give her any instructions, in other words, I dont sit on her head, but she leaves much to be desired. But hey, I am not judging anyone based on her.
I really admire most of you who manage the work front and the house front with such ease. I write this most mainly to the female househelp since they occupy a major chuck of the househelp pie.
I mean, imagine getting up at 4 in the morning, standing in line to fill water, do the household jobs, make breakfast and lunch for the husband, ensure the kids get ready to school, in many cases, ensure the in laws are taken care of…and start work, in some cases even at 6 in the morning. Ringing the bell of the house you want to start work, and the person who opens the door invariably has been woken from sleep. you know you are being cursed in the heart by the person whose house you are going to work for waking him/her up, but what can you do. They only told you to come at that time na.
Efficiently, cleaning the vessels, while simultaneously soaking the clothes for washing. While the vessels dry a bit, you do the sweeping and swapping, finishing off with the clothes and in some cases, drying the clothes, as well as removing the dried ones and folding them and keeping inside.
Then again, you may do additional odd jobs like dusting the furniture once in a while.
And for you do this same thing, at least in 7 to 10 different houses. You ladies rock. If I did something so physically exhausting, I would have been dead honestly!. I guess, all of us who spend 1000s on gyms and personal trainers should just start doing household jobs in 5 houses. We will definitely not need anything else to be fit! and most of you are impeccably clean and neat, with your sarees/salwars washed and dried, hair in place (sometimes with a gajra hanging), bangles in hand….
Midst this, some of you take out time to get back home to check on the children’s lunch, come back and start again. Do it till the evening, go back home, again cook, get stuff ready for the next day and back to square one.
Many of you may have husbands who dont contribute a bit – neither to the finance of the house nor to the house work. They may sometimes be drunkards, sometimes they may abuse you physically or mentally or hurt your children, taking away all your savings. Yet, most of you, just live your lives that ways. Day in and day out, doing back breaking work, living in hope that your children will go to school and become something better. I must admit, I am at awe at your positive attitude.
You dont even get weekly offs like we do at work. You have to come in day in and day out. You need to inform in advance for your leaves and sometimes, even those may be granted only after a lot of grumbling.
There are some of you who do take advantage, but most of you are just hard working women who are doing the best of their ability to lead a good life yourself or give the best you can to your children.
I salute you.
One of those working women in Bombay who thinks you are rockstars.
PS – A few househelps I would love to mention from the blog world, I admire.
My Amma’s house helps at Baroda – G ben from the old house and C ben from the new house (well both houses are not ours anymore, but still…)
My Amma’s househelp at Goa.
Suranga’s S (She is a total inspiration)
Sandhya’s househelp (She is of course in Bangalore)