My trysts with the maid continue!
First there was an opinionated chatterbox who frequently absented herself from work. Then there was the well-dressed beautician-turned-cook who knew no cooking. Inbetween were two sisters and their mother who came in turns. The first sister left for greener pastures (baby aayah for a few hours that pay the big bucks), and left her sister as her replacement. The sister, a cheerful lil thing who seemed to quite good and willing. Her husband played fiend, refusing to go to work. So she eventually decided to stay home as a means of forcing him to go to work. Her mother came in her place. The mother came with a pretty high opinion of herself. "I'm the best in this locality", she announced proudly! She happily agreed to do all that I asked her to do. However, when I wasn't looking she'd miss out a few of her chores. On reminding her, she'd say, "Oh, old lady na, I forgot." The biggest problem wasn't that. She refused to get on with Adiv. This 60-something year old and Adiv would fight every single day. They'd scream at eachother, and each fight would end with her threatening to cut off his tongue. That was reason enough for me to say Bye to her. Meanwhile I'd found myself a fancy looking cook. The watchman brought her proudly.
"Madam, my wife, accha kaam kar legi."
I'd just woken up from my afternoon nap. Bleary-eyed and still dressed in my night clothes that now bore stains of Adiv's lunch, I looked at a diffident girl. She was dressed in jeans and a short top. She even wore a lot of make-up. I wondered if I'd heard right. Maybe she was one of the new tenants in the building?
"New cook madam."
"Oh", I said hoping she hadn't noticed my dishevelled look. After a conversation that I barely remember, I asked her to start the next day. She came with a confession.
"I don't know how to cook madam. But I can learn."
She didn't learn much, but she was pleasant and she came armed with a sob story. So I kept her for a month before deciding to send her off! There was no point having a cook who couldn't cook.
Then my luck changed. A matronly, kind, pleasant woman came knocking at my door. She was clean and gentle, and she said she could cook and do everything. I was secretly ecstatic. She started immediately, and she was good. Her food was tasty, and her work meticulous. I was quiet about how good she was, for fear of having my neighbours pinch her away. In the mean time I attempted to keep her happy by giving her baby food for her grandchild, cutlets for her family, and lunch on days when she had extra work. When guests came, I cut vegetables for her and did much of the cooking. I liked the woman and I didn't want her to leave. I was paying her good money and I was a kind boss. She wouldn't want to miss that.
However, I was quite mistaken. Yesterday, she said she wanted to stop. Without maintaining any eye contact, she first made excuses about the amount of work there was. Then she said she had a back problem. I didn't hear much after that. I only heard, "give me my money, and i'll leave." Angry, I said i'd give her her money only on the 1st. She agreed, finished up her work and left. While she was there, I hoped I'd acted dignified. I didn't say much or beg for her to stay. But I wondered why she'd left. Maybe someone was paying her more as a nurse or baby aayah? I didn't believe her back was hurting. Once she left, I let the flood gates open. I wept more out of self pity. How would I manage with a baby? Would I get another maid?
A few maids came by to enquire almost immediately. Sensing my desperation for help, they asked for huge sums of money. One woman said that she wanted 500Rs only to put out the clothes from the washing machine. I politely sent her off!
Since then, I've cried a few more times. I've shouted at Adiv who smeared quite a bit of peanut butter on his head. I've fought with Rohit just because I wanted to cry and feel better. However now I sit at my computer feeling rather peaceful. The house is clean, the clothes have been washed and put out to dry, the food has been cooked, and the vessels have been washed. To make things better Adiv ate his dinner without much trouble. Things are definitely not that bad.
Now for some prayers! "Dear God, please bring me a maid."