I don’t need to dwell further and tell you’ll that how much we are dependent on our maids or servants in India. All through my growing years, we have had a maid staying with us. The bad part was that I got too much used to them and the best part was that I learned to respect and care for them just like a family member. Anyways, the family I am staying with now has two maids. One is the cook and the other looks after the cleaning and washing of clothes. When I came, I observed that the other girl who stayed on my floor always had her door closed. I didn’t know why until I realized that it’s because of our dear maid Saroj. She is efficient and swift in her work and handles the cleaning of the house and maintains her own ironing shop. But, she talks a lot; I’d rather say that she is over-talkative! She talks to me about everything and anything under the sun.
It’s been precisely 22 days that I am here and I know about her family, the grapevines, her wedding, about her neighbors and so on. I reach home around 4.30 pm and have my lunch (Yes, my lunch timing is a little odd here) Post that, at 5.30 pm she walks in with a Tea and a big smile on her face. Did I mention that she is sweet? She is really caring and sweet to me. She cleans my room and keeps my things at the right places! And if you make a nice cup of tea for me, you’re my favorite person already! Saroj sits near my bed and shares with me about her day and pours her heart out. That moment, I do realize that she needs someone to talk to and since I don’t shut my door to her, she often walks in hoping for a company. Well, sometimes it’s interesting to hear about her vivid stories, but on some days she goes a bit overboard and talks about things that only she understands or finds interesting. On some days, I preach her to not be superstitious and make her children, especially her daughter get a proper education.
She often tells me, “Didi, if you see me dressed up, you will go mad! I look so beautiful”. She often makes me laugh with her antics. And after my several yawns and stretching, she realizes that I am tired and leaves. Every day before leaving, she says, ‘Didi, you must be thinking that I talk so much?’ I reply with a smile on my face, ‘No, not at all!’ I don’t want to risk my tea and clean room! Though I do get a feeling of Alice at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party 😉
Saroj got married at a very tender age. She often complains about how she was forced to grow up before her time. And now her husband forces her to get their daughter married when she turns 15 years old. The other maid, who is a cook, got married when she was 14 years old and recently got a 13-year-old bride for her 22 years old son! It’s shocking and saddening at the same time. I felt infuriated and asked her that why don’t they change this norm? After all, it’s the 21st century! She replied that parents fear about their daughters since the locality they live in is not usually safe and often they are out for long hours to earn a living. With so many rapes and abduction cases, they get their daughters married so she no more remains their responsibility. As if she there is a guarantee that she will stay safe post the marriage!
I only feel that, although we are moving fast with regards to technology, the infrastructure, and digital advancements, what about these small issues that are affecting the major part of our society? We need to first clean our roots and then plant the seeds of development.
Till then remember, a cup of tea is like a hug. Embrace it. Enjoy it.