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The vulnerable Housewife and the gossipy maid

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by mithila kannan, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. mithila kannan

    mithila kannan Gold IL'ite

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    The vulnerable house wife and the gossipy maid


    (I have two elder sisters.Both of them are mother figures to me,one sister is no more.The other sister came to see me the other day .We chatted and chatted and these chats had such a theraupetic effect on me.This sister of mine whose name is Kumudam, narrated to me an incident that happened in her neighbourhood and I have narrated this incident to you in my own style.
    I want to draw your attention to one fact.These days ,with the prevalence of nuclear families being the order of the day,the full time house wife has become a lonely person.Her worries are many and her anxieties are also as many as the working woman.If the nuclear family has elderly mother in law and father in law to be taken care of ,her worries become multi dimensional.She has to talk to somebody about the issues that bother her,about the fights she has had with her in laws and the maid who works in her house,fits in that role beautifully.The maid gives the mem sahib moe than a willing ear .If the maid is a good one,she will forget what the madam told her immediately.On the other hand ,if she is an imaginative person ,who because of her bad luck is working as a maid,if only the lady luck had smiled on her,she would have become a great director of films,giving tough competition to K.Bhagyaraj and Bharath Raja ,then what happens?”Read on….)




    Gopal was getting ready to go to office.He was in a bad mood.He had a Board meeting to attend that morning and there were a couple of issues that had to be discussed in the meeting and those issues were troubling him.He came and stood before the dressing table in a not so cheerul mood.His face became red,his brows knotted, his lips trmbled looking at the dressing table top and he shouted with all his might,”Susee!”

    Suseela came running with a broomstickin her hand.He looked at the broomstick in her hand,he looked at her and his fury increased.Susee asked,”Where is it,where is it?”and looked at all the corners in that room.

    “Where is what?”thundered Gopal.

    “Well,I thought you must have seen a cockroach,normally you shout like that only when you see a cockroach in the house,that’s why I came running,where is it?”Susee continued looking for the cockroach.

    “Put that broomstick down and look at the dressing table”said Gopal in a furious voice.

    “But there is no cockroach to be seen there”said Susee in an innocent voice.

    “Stupid!shouted Gopal.
    “Look at the dressing table top.How filthy it is!Will any one believe that this is the house of a senior executive in a big company?”His voice choked with emotion.

    “What to do?The maid Veni is not all doing her work properly.She comes in like a hurricane and goes out like Chennai rains”Susee giggled but Gopal was in no mood to appreciate her sense of humour.

    “I go away to office,the children leave for school around eight in the mornings.You give us invariably the same old idli and dosa and pack the same old curd rice and some tasteless subji.Veni does all the household work. You are free the whole day.Can’t you do a little bit of dusting and cleaning?Instead, you sit before the TV the whole day watching all those stupid seials,no wonder you are putting on weight day by day”

    That’s all Suseela took an instant avatar of Kali.

    “Yes,Iam fat,Iam ugly that’s why you don’t even take me out these days,I understand now.If I wear full make up even in the day time and come before you like that woman Sheila,then I would not be hearing these words.Iam a simpleton you know,to me character is impotant”Susee began to wail.

    “Wait a minute:shouted Gopal,”Who is that Sheila ,whom are you taliking about?”
    “You know pretty well whom Iam talking about.Ofcourse Iam talking about that woman with whom are too friendly in the office,with whom you had lunch in the office canteen yesterday”

    “Susee,look here.Sheila is my colleague,understand.If you say one word about her,I don’t know what I will do,ok?”

    So saying,Gopal stomped out of the house without eating the same old idlis and without carrying his lunch box that had the same old curd rice which he actually enjoyed eating .

    Susee sat in one of the sofas in the drawing room and started crying and she was still sobbing when Veni the maid entered the house.Veni took one look at Susee sobbing away and she immediately knew what must have happened.I get this feeling that Veni must have been a rishi in her previous birth because I have heard that only rishis could tell about what happened in the past and predict the future also.

    Veni sat on the floor in front of Susee,opened the small cloth bag that she tucked in her waist and took out some pan leaves and some tobacco.She happily put them in her mouthe,enjoyed the blissful moment for a second and then asked Susee,”What happened amma.why are you crying?Did Iyya say anything?”
    That’s all.The dam in Susee’s eyes opened and the perennial river in them overflowed.In Susee’s eyes, Veni resembled her mother who was in her heavenly abode right now.She began to talk to her.

    “Veni,you yourself know how much I have struggled for this family.How I had to put up with harshwords from my father in law and mother in law.How I had to sacrifice a lot to celebrate my sisters in laws’ marriages?Now this man(take it as my husband)says that I look fat I believe.That woman in his office she is like angel in his eyes.He says,if I speak one word about her he will leave me and go”Susee’s sobs continued.Veni waited for the interval patiently and in the meanwhile she munched on her panleaves and tobacco with a calm face.

    Veni added two and two and totalled them as ten.She said to Susee,”Amma,these men are always like that. Even if a man has a wife who is as beautiful as a parrot at home,he will still want a mistress who looks like a monkey, by the side.You don’t worry,sir will come back to you only.Now,don’t sit there with a swollen face,go wash your face and freshen up.”

    Susee was stunned,stupefied.She meant something and this woman has made it into something else.She did not know what to say.She got up to do Veni’s bidding ie wash her face and freshen up.

    Veni finished her work at Susee’s house and went to neighbour Lakshmi’s house.Lakshmi was eagerly waiting for Veni’s arrival in her house.She had overheard some hot arguments between Gopala and Susee in the morning,but could not listen properly ,since the tv volume in Susee’s house was very high.

    Lakshmi kept hot hot idlis before her in a plate with chutney,sambhar etc saying,”Veni,you look very tired.Eat this first and then you can do the work.”
    Lakshmi had dipped her words in milk and honey and Veni knew the reason for this kindness from Lakshmi.Lakshmi was all curious to know what had transpired between Gopal and Susee and who better than Veni to give her the first hand information.?Veni finished eating the tiffin and then proceeded to tell Lakshmi about Gopal shouting at Susee and how Gopal would not allow Susee to speak ill of that woman who was his colleague.Ofcourse Veni being a very imaginative person,added some frills to her story here and there.

    Lakshmi was maha thrilled,”Oh,dear!”thought she.”So that’s why Susee does not come out for a morning walk regularly,may be she is wary about meeting us,her friends.Poor thing”so ran her thoughts.

    Lakshmi went to the shop in her complex and happened to meet Jaya another resident of the complex there.She took Jaya aside and talked to her animatedly for sometie.At the end of the conversation Jaya said,”Poor Suseela.She is such a nice person and this Gopal,look at him acting like a sadhu paramatma!.Hmmm,these men!”So exclaiming she went to the temple, where she met another resident,Kala and both of them chatted for sometime.Kala said,”I feel so sorry for Susee.Let me go and tlk to Kausalya mami,mami is so fond of Susee,you know”.

    After a couple f days all these ladies whom I mentioned just now,came to Susee’s house being led by Kausalya mami.Susee was so happy to see them .She said,”Come on,all of you have come together!Are you people planning a picnic or lunch?Whatever it is include me in it”The ladies looked at each other and sat for a minute silently.Kausalya broke the silence.She said,”Susee,it is so nice to see you being so cheerful under these terrible situation.In your place, I would have crumbled,you know.But you don’t worry,we are all there for you.”

    Susee looked bewildered to say the least.”Mami,nothing is wrong with me.Iam fine.My children stand first in their classes,my husband got a promotion recently.Iam a happy person,you know”

    “Susee, children doing well in studies and husband getting a promotion is not the be all and end all for a wife,you know?Husband and wife have to live happily together that is important.Susee,we know everything,we know that your husband and you are going in for a divorce and that you are very sad about it.There is another woman in whom Gopal is interested.How did you allow this to happen?Never mind please take it from us that whateve happens we are with you”

    Kausalya had not finished her emotion filld dialogue,Susee got up from her place holding her hed in both her hands.
    “Who told you this?”she asked.Kausalya looked at Kala,Kala looked at Lakshmi and Lakshmi mumbled,”This Veni who is working in both our houses ,no?she only…”Now Susee understood.She told her friends,”Look my husband is a very caring and loving person.There is no other woman in his life and we definitele are not going in for a divorce,we are a happy couple.Now,if you don’t mind I have lot of work to do”

    The ladies left her house saying to each other in undeones,”Poor thing,Susee.She will talk like that only.What to do,we Indian women are like that.come what may we will not let down our husbands.”

    Suseela wept and wept.She knew what had happened.She told Veni about her fight with her husband,she also mentioned his colleague Sheila’s name.Suseela knew that Sheils was only his colleague,nothing more and nothing less.But in her anger she dragged in her name unnecessarily,no doubt Gopal got angry and like a fool she told Veni in detail about their fight.Veni had told Lakshmi adding a little masala and the ladies in turn added more and more masala to the little episode that happened in Susee’s house and made it into a story interesting enough to be made into a mega serial.
    Gopal returned from office to find his wife weeping Susee told him what had happened and how the ladies condoled with her about her impending divorce .

    “Veni gossips too much.Iam going to stop her and Iam going to look out for a better maid”said Susee.Gopal laughed.

    “Susee,if you stop Veni and employ another maid,the other maid will have other negative points.She may take leave right, left and center,she may get it in her head that yours and my purse are hers as well and may take money from them, if you are a little careless,her work may not be that good.So,there is no use in changing the maid,you only have to change”said Gopal.

    “What?I have to change,what have I done?”

    :Susee,you had become too close to Veni.You were discussing our family members with her,you allowed her to sit with you and watch serials ,in short you allowed her to take liberties with you and you also took liberties with her.
    “Susee,be kind to the maid,give her good food,give her advance money when she asks you for it,give her you old sarees,no problem.But, don’t sit and chat with her.Draw a line somewhere and don’t go beyond that line.Be firm with her.Remember that the maid is like your family but she is not your family.Ok”

    Susee is a different person now.She never gossips with Veni,she sees to it that Veni does her work properly.Veni has understood that madam is not the same giggly type anymore and that she can’t discuss other people’s family matters with her,but she is not bothered,she works in many houses ,my dear, and not every one has an understanding and sympathetic DH like Gopal who had guided his wife.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2010
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  2. hamsapriya

    hamsapriya New IL'ite

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    Re: Points to ponder-2

    Dear Mithila Mam,

    A good story indeed. Reality check as this happens in many many houses. Gossiping with the maid is a very dangerous issue as it can really lead to problems within the members of the family. I follow what Gopal has said in the story. Be sympathetic towards them maybe get to know thier problems but one should never let out our family matters to them because they are going to gossip about it with others. the blame is not on them b'cos they are illiterates. But it is we who are to be blamed b'cos in spite of being educated we share our innermost issues and problems with them. A real good one Mam...
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. mithila kannan

    mithila kannan Gold IL'ite

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    Re: Points to ponder-2

    Dear hamsapriya,
    You said it.The maid is illiterate and she does not know that the gossip that she is caring with her may turn into a snowball and is capable of destrying relationships.
    love
    mithila
     
  4. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    Re: Points to ponder-2

    dear mithila mam,

    very hilarious!!! and excellent narration.:thumbsup
    i have seen some people like that. they treat the maids like their friends..one has to be kind and generous but firm too..many find it difficult to draw the line.:)
     
  5. meenasankaran

    meenasankaran Platinum IL'ite

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    Re: Points to ponder-2

    Dear Mithila aunty,

    First of all, am I being presumptuous in calling you 'aunty'? If so, please do tell me the best way to address you. It would not be the first time that I had to pull my foot out of my mouth. :biglaugh

    I so enjoyed reading your post. It sounds like a scene out of every household in Chennai from what I have gathered from all the elaborate stories that I hear from my mom over our weekly long-distance phone calls. Not a week goes by without my mom entertaining me with stories of the soap-opera style happenings of my mom's neighbors' lives - all compliments of Susheela (my mom's maid).

    Mind you that my mom is not the malicious type. In fact, she is quite the opposite. For every sob story that she hears from Susheela, she increases her prayer time that day to seek divine intervention in those poor souls' lives. Is it any wonder that I completely adore my mom? :)
     
  6. mithila kannan

    mithila kannan Gold IL'ite

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    Re: Points to ponder-2

    My dear meena,
    You may call me anyway you like,absolutely no problem,my dear.
    Nice to know that your mother gives you juicy stories on INT.

    Thanks for the fb,dear.
    love
    mithila
     
  7. mithila kannan

    mithila kannan Gold IL'ite

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    My dear mindi,
    Thanks for the fb.
    Oh,yes we have to be firm with them.If a memsahib gives the maid too much money and other things,expecting her to be grateful she is very much mistaken.

    love
    mithila
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2010
  8. Raba

    Raba Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Mithila mam,

    Wonderful Narration. Most of the times , womenl pour out their "feelings' if they get a chance and they suffer for it later.

    Its true that we should draw a line.Otherwise there will be a mess for sure.


    Thanks for sharing this Mithila mam:cheers
     
  9. mithila kannan

    mithila kannan Gold IL'ite

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    My dear Raba,
    Thank you dear for your nice fb.
    All of us ,women do it,we need an outlet for our feelings.But it is wise to think for a second,before we open out our hearts to them,the maids.
    love
    mithila
     
  10. Raba

    Raba Gold IL'ite

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    sorry for diverting. By the way, after changing your avatar, I remember to say :bonk that I loved your avatar (the prev one):):). Whenever I read your posts, that avatar flashes in my mind and it starts narrating.

    :cheers
     

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