Those of you who have followed me for some time must have noticed that lately, my posts are less and farther between than ever in the past. It’s not that I am out of juice…just out of energy. My househelp had to leave suddenly and I haven’t found a replacement.
I am not sure how many of you can truly understand the place of househelp in an Indian household. Losing one is akin to losing a hand and both legs.
If her husband is ill, an Indian woman will be concerned. If you tell her that her maid is unwell, she will be hysterical. She will cry her eyes out and blame her husband for all her misery while washing utensils in the kitchen or kneeding the dough, as if he’s the only one who eats. And while washing clothes, she will pray for her sons (even six-months old…or rather, especially six-months old) to grow up quickly and get married so that there will be someone to help in washing their clothes. If it is a daughter, she will try to help, keep getting in the way and falling over the spilled detergent, increasing the size of laundry. Then, the woman will wish that she would grow up and stop helping.
A house without househelp is a complete chaos. Mountain of utensils keeps toppling over. The mop gathers dust and clothes gather in piles all over the house–piles of washed clothes, piles of dirty clothes, piles of clothes okay to be worn again and so on. The family winds its way around these hillocks, trying to find space enough to place their feet.
Visitors are returned from the door on the pretext of COVID to avoid potential embarrassment due to the lack of space to sit, since all chairs are covered with clothes of varied level of privacy. Husbands might have to sleep in a sitting posture if the clothes on the bed are not dealt with, until a replacement is found.
With my househelp gone for a month, I am now looking for a spot big enough to sit so that we can sleep. If not, one of the hillocks will do…