Sep 10, 2012

The Lady's Personal Lady

Its been more than a year since I last recollected my ramblings together. The reason I'd like to scapegoat for the dormancy is the rather insipid weather around the year at Delhi, that caused my grey cells to mature a trifle too fast, rendering me what common-sensical people would commonly call  'worldly wise'! A characteristic consequence of the afore-mentioned attribute is a distinct lack of inspiration in worldly affairs! Maybe I had a blogger's block! Or simply stated, maybe I was busy (read as lazy)! Whatever deadlock it was, the semaphore that resuscitated me was the Indian house maid, an Indian lady's personal lady! (The astute ready most assuredly would know where I pinched that phrase from, it's good old Wodehouse!) 

The average Indian lady (working or otherwise) rarely manages the household without a maid. Some ladies are loosely dependent on them, requiring them just for 'trivia' like the sporadic sweep or the 'pocha'! Some have more intricate needs like coloring the lady's hair or playing the masseuse to relieve a hamstring. I know a few 'career-oriented' women who believe that "behind every successful woman, there are atleast three maids - one to cook, one to wash and another to babysit". In any case,a maid is an indispensable unit of every Indian home. And even if it is a less-homely home of bachelory lifestyle, a maid is required  to 'dry the clothes and do the dishes'! There are also a few Indian homes where the maid is next to kinsfolk, having served the home earnestly for a generation.

In many ways, the Indian maid is congruent to the English governess! She has her own demands materialistic or matriarchal, she is notoriously popular for what she does or what she does not, and she does not step outside her comfort zone of jurisdiction. The average Indian maid is also known to be quite picky and ephemeral  about her employers. After all, India is supposedly riding on its wave of economic torrent. There are opportunities for everyone alike, democratically speaking! As with any well-run organization, the household should make sure they have a contingency plan in place to manage the attrition! Not to mention, there are quite a few consultancy agencies that body-shop women from rural backgrounds to be employed in the capacity of house-maids for metropolitan ladies who suffer from medical conditions of depression (or stress)  because their maid vanished into thin air without a proper notice!

More often than not, the delineation between the employer (the lady) and the employed (the maid) becomes fuzzy with time. Demands on what domiciliary items should be bought and brought into the home, the menu for the evening, the spices and condiments for the food are points of contention between the lady and her personal lady routinely. And unless the lady of the house has a magic whip in her hand constantly, the delicate balance of power is likely to shift in the maid's favor. It really depends on the personalities of the duo to say if that is a favorable situation. It might have been all right in case of the Bertie Wooster-Jeeves duo, but as they say, women are simply complicated!

In conclusion, every home needs a maid, like it or not, and every maid needs to be handled with caution and care. She is after all a lady!