The unpleasant sound of breaking of glass forced me to come out of my room. I thundered at my daughter, “what have you broken?” presuming she had broken something. “It’s not me Mamma! Didi has broken a glass.” replied my daughter bravely, referring to the housemaid, who was now cleaning the broken pieces of glass. My expressions changed completely, as I addressed my maid in a sugar-coated voice,” Never mind. Glasses are destined to be broken. I hope you aren’t hurt?” She nodded in negative as I concluded the matter, “Now clean it up quickly. And be careful not to injure yourself!” I returned to my room fully aware that I am being followed by my daughter, infuriated at my partial behavior. She did not wait to express her anguish, “Mamma! How you changed your tone seeing it was Didi? You love your maid more than your children.”. “History repeats”, I said to myself as I smiled at her innocence, remembering that there was a time when I too used to label the same allegation on my mother. One day, my daughter will also understand that for a woman to lead a happy life, an obedient and sensible maid is a must. While there is no question of loving your maid more, the fact remains that the maid is more cared for than the children. The reason is simple, your children will remain yours forever; but the same is not true for the maid. She can leave you the day she decides to, without any notice and join another household, not showing a bit of mercy on you. That is why; my maid enjoys more immunity than any diplomat enjoyed in a foreign country. Leave apart the kids; even if my husband raises his voice to point out her mistake, I am quick enough to step in to defend her, as I don’t want to lose a good maid. After all, if she leaves, I will be left alone to with my woes, as was the case when I was left without a maid, four years back.
On that doomful day, after receiving her monthly payment, our erstwhile maid, ,threw a stone in my tranquil life by announcing that she was leaving for her village for an indefinite period. She completely ignored my pleadings for arranging a substitute, and left declaring that I should not expect her to return and make my own arrangements. The gravity of situation became clearer in the days to come, as my struggle to search for a full time maid prolonged for seven days. In the intervening period, round the clock, my thoughts were filled with the ways to find a maid only. Songs like “chhod gaye baalam” and “aayega aane walla” sounded to me like they were written by a lady for a maid. As a first step, I informed all my neighbors regarding my search of maid. This only led to two three part times maids visiting my house, only to leave after hearing that the requirement was for full day. Failure in first attempt forced me to step out of my house to complete my search. I got up early in the morning and after an unsuccessful attempt of finding out a maid in the colony, I stood near the boundary wall of my colony, across which laid the road on which hundreds of maids were going for their duty. I looked at them optimistically and started stopping them one by one asking them,” Do you know any girl, who can work at my home? “Most of them paid no heed and ignored me. Even a few, who stopped also, were in hurry and showed an attitude to get rid of me, as soon as possible. I returned home with a feeling of rejection. Then, I thought over and concluded that though I had thought of myself as an employer, the need was mine and not theirs. So instead of behaving as a recruiter, I should have acted as a marketing person and therefore more presentable. So, in the evening, after coming from office, dressed in a formal attire of silk saree, I tried to attract a perspective maid. This also proved to be a futile exercise, as this time also, the ones who stopped, on hearing that the work was for full day, left with a frown,” Huh! Full time?” I got a ray of hope, when an elderly woman who appeared to be at leisure, stopped and heard me patiently. But the ray soon vanished, as with one of her hand on waist and other waiving in air, she announced,” aisa hai, hamai to koi ladakiya hai nai, aur doosaron ki ladakiyan ki jimmedari apan nai le saken, to hamen maaf karo( I don’t have a daugher, and for other’s daughers, I cannot take any responsibility, so please forgive me)”. I thanked her for her words of wisdom and returned again to home to do the work myself. This “standing by the wall” exercise proved to be futile, as over the days, the maids passing by started recognizing me, and on being stopped some of them chuckled,”yesterday also, you stopped us.”
Now all my hopes for finding a full time maid rested on Radha Bai, a part time maid I got as a stop gap arrangement who had promised to search a full time maid for me. I left no stone unturned to impress her. Each morning I welcomed her with a cup of ginger tea. I made it a point to notice and praise her fluorescent colored sarees and was liberal in appreciating the quality of work performed by her. Finally, one day my efforts bore fruit, as she told me that she had convinced her neighbor’s daughter to quit her part time jobs and work for full day at my house. I felt like floating on cloud nine as I waited for the girl next day. I had made the children clean their room to impress the “would be” maid. When she finally came, I greeted her with a cup of tea. While explaining her the job, I acted in most humble manners.
In the evening, when I was relaxing after returning from the office the maid came with a tray containing a glass of water and a cup of tea. The feeling of joy filled me up. Over the period this maid proved to be very sensible and obedient, but I am careful enough not to tell her qualities to the neighbors, for a fear of losing her.
Coming back to the broken glass and my infuriated daughter, glasses are meant to be broken and daughters are meant to be annoyed over trivial issues. After all, these are small prices to be paid for a great reward of having a sincere maid!