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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't Order Her To Prepare Tea Every Day

      me: Aayi (marathi for mother), how old is Roopa?
      mom: 16 or maybe 17.

           Are they so different from us that we have to treat them the way we do?

I was going to a shop to recharge my phone. I was on my bike and Roopa was on a bicycle. Suddenly she waved at me acknowledging that she knew me. a Hi perhaps. Generally, I return the gesture by smiling and waving back. This time, my hand stopped mid way, I did not wave and the smile was negligible. I came back home and the train of thoughts started it's engine. How is she different from any other kid? She goes to school like the rest of us. She too has some friends. She keeps herself like a girl should. Then what makes her 'lesser than human' as some narrow minded people treat her?

      One day I heard mummy and papa discussing that other people in the society don't like her talking on phone all the time, and make faces when they see her with a guy or guys. I was confused. Why acknowledge this side of her when you don't even care about her as a normal human being? Why keep double standards? Oh, is it because it degrades your status in some way?

      mom: why are you asking?
      me: Isn't child labour illegal?

and, Roopa is our housemaid.

     A few weeks back, Shobha tai (marathi for elder sister or 'didi' ) asked for a glass of water. I brought her a glass of water. At the same time my mother was entering the kitchen and she saw it. After some time, she asked me why did I give her water in the glass that we regularly use? I answered, why what's the problem? Just because she cleans toilet, she is suddenly of lower species? Added the fact that she cleans her hands thoroughly and even we clean our glasses thoroughly. She answered that she eats supari and all. I was convinced for some time but then, knowing my mum I did suspect her. Was that the real reason?

     My parents are good people (No, I won't include myself), they help the needy and treat everyone as equal. We even care a lot for Roopa. But sometimes even they can behave irrationally.

     (You know in my mother's school, it's not allowed to call helpers as 'bai', everyone calls them 'tai', the teachers, the students, the principle, everyone).Is one's job and and income really the only thing that defines his/her status? (I personally believe the way one treats others should decide....)

    I wonder if some people will now stop drinking water at my home as they now know I served water to Shobha Tai in the same glass....I will feel pity for them :(

Stay Blessed ^_^


  1. I know exactly what you mean ~_~ although we strictly don't have child labour here, maids are often treated badly :( I'm happy to say its dying with the generation here though ^_^

  2. This normally happens in India. I can even go on to say we have multiple standards to deal with different situation. Sad. But the plus point to all this is - the next generation is aware of this disparity and will eliminate it soon.. :)

  3. This is only an Indian thing y'know.
    Abroad, maids are treated normally. They are paid equal to our salaries. And you cannot disrespect them.
    We have cheap labour and hence we don't value it.

    This Kerala aunty's house; the maid sits on the same dining table as the rest of the family, has food in normal plates,allowed to watch T.V inside the quilt on cold days and not from allowed to sit on the floor, and is helped around the house like anyone would help if their mother did all the work; and they get chocolates every time they go anywhere outside.
    I respect that family alot. Probably because they all came from humble roots themselves before shifting to Delhi. :)

    There is dignity even in labour.

  4. I have seen this in so many homes.....it is sad, that the helpers are treated differently, but very true! i was with a neighbour when she asked her new maid to fetch a specific glass kept for the maids for the tea. the poor woman had tears in her eyes. she said , didi, im feeling very bad that ur treating me like this! i felt really bad for her...

    1. An even worse case is treating the old people like that :(
      My grandpa is 88 and once my mum used to keep a particular glass for his use only. If people treat can treat their own family members like that, what chances are there of treating these people with equality :-/

  5. This is how the so called modern society behaves ... the mindset of people should change now ... there should be equality for all humans !!!

    1. Hopefully, that will change in the coming generations

  6. Hope this mindset changes with coming generations...sadly as of now, there's no dignity of labour in India.

  7. You raise good points, hopefully it will give people to think.
    It isn't about our sophistication, rather the fact that we should't just blindly follow the society, who knows that if we take a stand lots of others might just stand alongside us, to create a difference.

  8. I have witnessed many similar cases. It's disheartening how people have such double standards, really.

    My Bhabhi(who lives in dubai), in india treats her maids like you described, while her maid from dubai who tagged along with her to India was treated like royalty. -_-

    1. Yes, I have heard that the condition of helpers in foreign countries is very good. So good that they can even sue their employer :-s