Saturday, March 12, 2011
Can Indians ever go ‘Maid-less’
This is a million dollar question but I think I definitely have the answer for it. The answer is NO.
We, can never go maid-less. Now you must be wondering, shirt-less to suna tha! What is this, maid-less. Well, the modern day urban necessity, your ‘Kaamwali bai’ ‘Kelasadaulu’, your highness.
“Who’s the hottest girl in the world, my maid, my bai, my maid, my bai,
katka lagake, she’ll clean your floor, my maid, my maid, my darling maid..”
Well, in our cities where maids have become the life-line of our homes, its difficult to imagine a life without one. She is mandatory today, she is indispensible than ever, she is the ultimate help at home. Without one, we often feel lost and exhausted, by the end of the day.
Each time a maid leaves me, I pass this resolution, “oh, I am never going to keep another” its like a broken heart swearing not to get into a relationship again. That is the exact feeling, I feel I have just broken up with someone and it takes me long before my wounds are healed, till I find another ‘bai’.
But, today the urban woman has learnt her lessons, its like the new gen x, they don’t hang on to old partners for long, in the same way, young housewives or working damsels, find a new ‘bai’ really soon. It is like ‘tu nahi to koi aur sahi’. (if not you, someone less maybe)
The Indian maid is at an all-time high, she is the hottest girl in town. You could credit this phenomenon to many reasons, some to the new economic independence of women, some to the 6 figure salaries of husbands, funnily, some anti-software engineers will associate every problem to the ‘software boom kano’, Puleez give the poor guys a break, they slog enough.
But interestingly, some reasons, you could also attribute to the absolute lack of DIY (do it yourself) culture of India. Whats with us people, seriously, we need help for practically everything, we have one person to dust the muck of our chairs, we have people to do our toilets too. (which I feel is really our and only our own business)
On the other hand, where royalty too is trying its best to go all, DIY, India is still far behind. Prince William and his hone wali, don’t want maids or servants in their newly – wed life as they want to enjoy marital bliss, to the hilt without the continuous presence of servants, butlers and bai’s.
Not very far away, a neighbor of mine who is in her early 50’s never had a maid in her entire life. “Who will run after them, and shell out so much money each month. I end up saving so much money and I am fit throughout the year. I am very happy doing my own work”. Well, Geetha here was a bank employee and never felt the need even while her daughters were growing up. She owes all this to her habit of not being lazy.
Lazy, well, a major part of the maid-dependence also goes on the fact that the lack of a DIY culture has made Indians plain lazy. And this won’t change in the near future, maybe because of the fact that I see kids have dedicated maids these days. These maids look after the kid, feed it, play with it and even will put it to bed before she leaves, like a full-time nanny, the only difference being, our nannys are mostly poor uneducated women with little or no knowledge of bringing up a child. Obviously not blaming her, she does her best for the fat pay-check she gets for this hand full of a job.
Not to forget, our men. Now this breed is just not use to doing their own work at all, they have this reason of we, earn the bread. This makes us left with no choice but to opt for external help. What do working women have to say about this? Johana, a teacher at a private school, says that she doesn’t have to hear this but admits that even if her husband is the helping type, more than often the house work is her headache. There is something about the house and the woman which makes it inevitable for her to do everything.
Affordability is another factor, today we can afford to pay them 5k – 7k for an entire days service. “I have the money so I ll pay her and get the job done, I have a social life and hobbies, and I am not interested in house-hold work, it’s a waste of time, when I can get the job done, why DIY?” asks Damini, a housewife.
Not only, does the wonder-lady do all jhaadu-katka, kapda, bartan in this, she will also cook for another 3000k. So, an all-time high for maids has arrived and will rise even more with time.
There is also the immigrants from small towns, districts and villages who move from place to place in search of new jobs for a livelihood. This population works wherever their husbands get a job, while the men take up jobs as painters and construction workers the women hunt for houses to do what the urban lady no more wants to do.
There are also speculations that very soon, we may not find maids, as all the maids are educating their children and these children will never work in house-holds however good the pay. They want a plush work atmosphere like the malls, multiplex, restaurants or the ever so famous clothing showrooms. They also find jobs in the supermarkets as cashiers and customer service executives. Though the work hours are long there, compared to a day job in a house, today’s have-nots have preferences.
So, its not that we can no more do our own jobs at home, but we are still counting on the old time maid population and hoping that there are enough, which can last atleast another generation. Maid or no maid, it’s common knowledge that house-work is never ending, and so till there is work, there is the maid. And till they last, apna, kaam chal jayega bhai!! So why go maid-less!