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Maids Made In India

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by sln, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    Maids made in India

    A video [ Parvati Bai series] in whats up followed by experiences shared by others has triggered the visualisation of this encounter.A well groomed maid rings the bell and tells the madam “I understand that you are looking for a maid.I am Nalini looking for a job between 10AM to 12 PM slot as a I am free during this time.Madam replies that she is also looking for a maid during this slot.Nalini asks whether she is looking for regular service,special service or executive service.Madam is nonplussed as this is first time she hears about different grades of service.To her question to enlighten her on the subject the maid explains:

    Regular service is just sweeping every day and mopping only on Fridays.Sho would also spend ten minutes on dusting.She would clean only one bathroom everday.In all she would spend 90 minutes and her expectation is around Rs 4000 per month.She will not come on Sundays and for any exra leave taken due to exi gencies, there should beno salary cut.

    On special service she explains that she would mop every alternate day,spend more time on dusting and clean three bathrooms every day.She would spend two hours and her expectation is RS 5000 per month.

    On executive service ,she would make the bed,mop every day,clean three bathrooms daily and the remaining two once a week and do a thorough dusting.Her expectation is Rs. Nine thousand nine hundred per month and she would spend around three hours every day.She throws a caveat that completion of the job mattered and not the time spent.This sends a chill in the spine of the madam.Madam says that she would think about her offer and let her know in a day or two.The maid says that she has a question-“Where is sir working?”Madam mentions the name of a leading Indian IT company.Oh –says the maid in a disappointed tone.Madam asks “what is the problem?”I have worked all these days with persons working in MNCS-there are so many advantages: They don’t come behind me when I am doing the job- there is very little cooking.They order breakfast and I get to eat,crisp sandwiches,Parathas,omelette,Burritos etc and not the boring idli,Dosa day after day.They are not petty minded and they don’t ask for accounts and change when I do grocery/vegetable shopping for them.They take me when they go on a holiday to look after their child and I enjoy five star comfort.The only disadvantage is that they have CCTV all over the house that I cant stretch myself on the bed or sofa.The message is clear on other expectations.

    Many educated girls today have entered the field of domestic help as they become independent,do jobs they like and they are not at the mercy of their employers and it is the other way round.In an upmarket complex in Bangalore where I live a smart maid makes around Rs15000-20000 a month with tea,food[warmed up in the microwave]and a months salary as bonus. At any point of time they owe Rs.30,000 to Rs 50000 as loan taken from different madams.This is their way of ensuring that they are not easily chucked out and for the employers to making sure that the maid will continue.This is a win win arrangement.The girls prefer this over super market jobs where the job is taxing and there is no human consideration. That is why you find a vacancy board for sales girls,helpers etc in almost every super market.

    They carry smart phones and have access to information on what is happening in the domestic worker front.Double income homes meekly submit to all the terms dictated by the maids as for them their only choice is between maid and Swiggy.or Dominos.Those who speak Hindi or English are in great demand as there is a mixed group of employers from different states.

    They don’t stand correction or criticism.When my neighbour pointed out some dirty spots after mopping,the maid walked out leaving a slip with her bank account details for transferring her salary.She got a job within an hour whereas,it took fifteen days for my neighbour to fix up a maid.

    Years back I hired a maid to look after my ailing wife.She came with a backpack,goggles and with fair display of jewellery.I was apprehensive about the maid but I was helpless.In the night I heated up,rice,sambar and vegetables in the microwave for her dinner but I could not heat up the rasam as I got a phone call.I gave her the rasam as it was.With contempt in her voice she said that did not take old Rasam.Adding insult to injury she said that maids may be poor but they make it a point to buy fresh vegetables everyday and eat piping hot food atleast once a day.”we are not accustomed to take purana food like you people-it is your fate”.I waited till morning and chucked her out.

    Borders between classes like where they sit and eat,the plates and glasses they use etc have disappeared.Deepika Mhatre,known for her stand up comedy on madams says”where I work,I am treated very specially.I have a separate lift for people like me,separate dishes for us eat in and yet at the end of the day Madam has to eat the same Roti which I make with my hands.How right she is and well said.

    “New middle class India has to come to grips with the expected new equation with domestic help.” Failure to recognise the change in our work and life and how to deal with them is wonderfully explained by Spencer Johnson in his book “who moved my cheese “though it has no direct connection with Maid made in India.
     
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    SLN Sir, a great write-up. My first personal realization of how maids have changed was in an India trip, when going up an apartment complex in a lift, one of the women took a phone call, and explained that she was late but would be there soon. From her conversation it became clear that she was a maid-servant. I was wearing an out of date salwar kameez and worn out chappals, hair not combed properly (jet-lag being the excuse). She was dressed in an inexpensive but nice-looking polyester saree, exactly matching blouse, bangles, bindi, kaajal and neatly done hair. The saree worn properly, not inches up from the floor like to avoid floods. Above all, she carried herself confidently, and had the air of a woman with a mission and not much time to waste.

    Recently, my India folks were talking about aadhaar-card verified maid-servant. Struck me that it is eons ahead of the undocumented Mexicans we might hire in the U.S. Then, I googled 'aadhaar card maid servant' and came across this delightful article:

    The story behind a maid servant's visiting card that went viral
    Shinde, who was earlier the digital head for an ad agency recalled visiting a website where one could make visiting cards. "I quickly opened my MacBook and started designing her cards. I called her from the kitchen and asked her to sit besides me to note down the rates of her household chores. In the next ten minutes the card design was ready," says Shinde. Shinde added a small line in the card that the maid was Aadhar Card verified (the UID in India) to let people gain confidence in her.
    card.jpg

    "Other Kaam if required" :smile::smile:
    True.

    Thank you for the snippet. It was a good read and I also came across the "visiting card" article because of it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  3. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @sln Sir
    I enjoyed reading your humorous take on the demands of domestic help in India.
    Made me wonder, why did I spend so much time studying, and worrying about marks.
    I have heard so many scary stories from my relatives and friends who find it a huge headache to find, maintain, and retain domestc help.
     
  4. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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  5. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Rihana,
    The visiting card maid has become a sensation.Slowly the service charges are changing per hour instead of per job.I stay in the fourth floor of a apartment which has a penthouse on the tenth floor.One day I pressed the lift button and the lift descended from the tenth floor.When the lift opened I found a smartly dressed girl in her late twenties wearing goggles and a belt pouch for keeping purse and cell phone.I greeted her and asked her flat no.She politely replied with a knowing smile in English that she was working as a maid in Singh Sabs house[CEO of a company] I further extracted the information that she made breakfast for the family and would return after dropping her son in the school.She started the scooter in the basement and drove off.
    KYC is a must for entering the complex.When the maid enters the complex mygate application alerts all the houses
    where she is working and same is the case when she exits.Any complaint about a maid is posted in the group and nobody will engage her.Thus over a period of time sloppy workers are weeded out.The only area where residents are indisciplined is sticking to the rate card decided by the association depending on their need and urgency.
    When I go for a morning walk around 6 AM it is a delight to see around hundred maids entering the gate smartly dressed and many of them talking on their cell phone.Who says I ndia is not changing? SLN
     
  6. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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  7. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear kkrish,
    In samsaram oru minsaram a delightful comedy film ,Visu tells a Bcom student that a Murrah buffalo earns more than him. Finding a good maid is difficult.Retaining her is entirely in our hands.Breathing on her neck,giving her cold food,criticising her work etc leads to spread of the information among the maid population and that is all and your chance of getting a maid becomes bleak.Unlike those days, they dont hesitate asking for loans ranging from 25000-30000 mostly for paying house deposit and they quit if loan is not given.Repayment however is regular and default is an exception.
    We have to move with the times.
    SLN
     
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  8. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear SLN sir,
    you could not have timed this post better as far as I am concerned. I have been at the receiving end recently from my maid of a list of complaints! She has been with us now for more than 20 years and has been extremely cooperative with no extra demands as such. We have been increasing her remuneration every alternate year around 200 to 300 rupees. In addition sufficient amounts in kind, such as clothing for festivals, gifts etc frequently. Now, suddenly she comes up with the demand that everybody else is paying for each item of work such as sweeping, swobbing, washing outdoors, vessels etc. with the result that it amounts to us having to pay around 3 times her current amount of Rs.1500. With only 2 of us in the house , somehow it does not make sense to shell out that much on a maid! However, seeing the current trends, her demands appear to be normal. Only, whether I require to spend that much to retain her is my point, and just told her she can quit if she is not satisfied with whatever marginal increase that we may give. Remains to be seen :blush:
     
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  9. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear joylokhi,
    This is a predicament every one faces.That your maid has been with you for twenty years speaks volumes about reliability.Pleas remember that no price is too big for reliability and regularity.Negotiate and work out a time bound increase schedule.
    SLN
     
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  10. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:@sln
    I enjoyed the jotting and the accompanied humour with its seriousness implying that in future servants would turn affluent class and would arrive by a limousine and work by clock and leave. It is already happening in USA, GERMANY & Europe.

    2. The pointer is that our grand sons and daughters must be equipped right away to learn “ Do It Yourself” and live the life without leisure and under constant pressure. They may have no time left to update their status in Facebook or tweet on phone.

    3. A profound analysis leading to what is at stake in domestic arena in future societies. Kudos to your presentation of future thru present-situation in domestic maids’ domain!

    Thanks and Regards.

    God is pleased when one serve the servants by any means.
     
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