Sunday, 11 September 2011

Trysts With Maid

      All the time-saving contraptions and home appliances in the world,
      Cannot take away the importance and luxury of a maid at all....

   Hmmm... the verses are not great, but thats the phase I am going through, for the last couple of months ever since we changed localities. Keeping a maid for house-hold chores may be a luxury for my friends settled abroad. Here, in India it is unthinkable to do without them.Many of us have had our share of anecdotes and interesting notes to share.
    It also reminds me of a show that was put up by the ladies at  DSSC Wellington. It was a showcase of all the important women who have contributed to our lives right from Gargi , Jhansi Ki Rani, Sarojini Naidu, Indira Gandhi etcAnd bringing up the tail of the show was the quintessential "lady with the broom" without whom none of them could have achieved what they did probably.
     I was fortunate in the past, to have been helped by a couple of genuine and sincere souls. And them, I can never forget. And then there are some, whom I can never forget for various other reasons!!! But the one I recently changed takes the cake...
    We mutually decided on 9.30am to begin work in my household. Everything was hunky-dory the first few days. Then timings shifted on its own          to   9.45.....10.00....10.45........11.00....11.30......12.00....11.45... Average arrival time hovered over 11.30- 12.30. And each day the dial of the clock moved beyond the decided timing, I'ld vacillate between picking up the broom and craning my neck out of the window or the balcony ( depending on which, I thought would give me a better view of Her arrival).I shared the same sentiments as Hamlet and he had much more serious issues in life....  And as the clock ticked away, unaware of the rising temperature, my family members would keep away from my path and seething silence.
    So I thought , Okay lets speak rationally instead of a verbal match. Keeping in mind the literacy levels of both the affected parties, I tried 'discussing' the issue of non- compliance with the Agreement. She had her share of problems ...she stayed awake till late trying to entertain herself after a hard day's work ...kid leaving for school early in the morning...household chores to be completed...So, I gave her a deal.
  " If you come on time for a month without delays, I'll give you an extra amount, your salary notwithstanding". I was trying to buy my sanity here, actually.She agreed.
   But domestic bliss was just not what the Horoscope had in store for me. She stuck to her 11.30- 12.30 window. So, yet again I tried the humane angle. " Alright, what exactly is your problem. Lets work this out and arrive at some solution..." So after much cajoling and talking heart to heart of woman's problems and the rest, she finally admitted sheepishly.
   She has a son who watches cricket matches on TV at night. This deprives her of her serials. And so she catches up on her serials after 10.00 in the morning and hence she comes in late! Finally, the reason was out but not that it helped solve the problem. She continued to be a defaulter. I decided I couldn't risk my sanity to her serials and so she has to be replaced.
   Today I am in a better frame of mind, as of now!

Saturday, 9 April 2011


     I have a potted Bamboo tree. It is no ordinary bamboo tree. It has moved around with us for the last eight years ...from the salubrious climes of Dehradun to harsh winters of Kashmir to the extreme climate of Delhi. I have a special name for it...Roots.
    The journey of Roots starts from Boguan, a small village in Goalpara in Assam. My father-in-law hails from this village. As a youngster, he trudged the muddy paddy lanes to reach the highway, so he could take a bus to Guwahati, for his education. Today his grandchildren go to coveted schools in big cities and metros with much ease.
  Many parents are constantly moving from one place to another due to work related reasons.  So their children make friends and are exposed to a multitude of desirable and undesirable ideas, ethos and culture. They adopt Hindi and English as their first languages as necessities.There are children who refuse to speak in their mother tongue for fear of ridicule or those who claim not to know about their festivals and various festivities..They lip-synch to the latest pop numbers, after much concentrated search on the youtube.Then there are parents themselves, who will not introduce their language and culture to the children since they want to be part of the ' English speaking' swish crowd. This gadget savvy (who know more about your mobile features than you do)and sms lingo spewing generation, are like happy colourful kites fluttering in the blue sky with abandon. You and I know what happens to kites without strings, or the ones that have been cut in competitions...they drift and eventually fall at some unknown place.
   There will always be pot-holes as they were in our time and the generations in the past. But as we move forward in the progress of civilization, challenges will be tougher and many more reasons will emerge to get the children carried away.
   And so I have Roots with remind us, that this is  your humble beginning, which we have to carry forward.When in doubt or in the 'pits', if your roots are strong you can always rise again with new found wisdom and renewed energy. It is a reminder never to lose your identity in the crowd...a forest is most interesting and awe inspiring, when it has different trees with distinct qualities...
     And so I have lugged Roots around with me whether he likes it or not, to help me keep grounded not just my children but also me...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A morning walk...and a lesson...

  Every morning, for most people, is the same and so it was with me till today...No, there was no path breaking news waiting at the doorstep nor was I suddenly elevated from the mere mortal status with an 'Aha..' moment.
  Like everybody else in my vicinity(I mean, the mothers with school going kids), it was the time to breath and be on your own , before the house hold chores beckoned you sternly. I choose to go for a walk at this time to be with my thoughts( and if it shakes up the fats , I am not complaining!).
  Nature has its strange ways of unfolding its beauty. And today I had the privilege of witnessing it.  the morning sun tried to peep out ,but the horizon seemed to be gathering clouds.Birds flew around ...some in flocks, few in solitude. Against the grey clouds I chanced upon a bird, about ten feet from the ground, hovering at a particular spot in the air, flapping its wings and craning its neck this way and that way. The sight was beautiful! And then in one graceful move , it swooped down to earth and disappeared into the shrubs...It must have sighted its prey, and the early bird that it was, it must have managed a catch... Although an everyday affair, I'd only read about these moments of nature. So, naturally you see I felt blessed!
  And as I continued with a smile in my heart, pondering on how I was going to share it with my better half, a full grown peacock decided to fly heavily across the road, just 2 meters ahead of me!! And as I looked around for more, I saw another of this feathered beauty perched right atop a scraggly tree clearly silhouetted against the darkening sky! I mean, we have seen birds and their antics on TV, movies , magazines, zoos and so on but how many of us get to see them naturally, without being scripted?!
   The birds were focused in their actions  and well aware of the roles they had to play...Does anything ever derail them from their tracks?Are they also tempted with distractions, assailed with doubts?
   When I went in the evening around that area, AN32 aircraft, Jet Airways and Indigo were homing into the Delhi airport( I stay very close by).I was mentally ticking off the dinner options for tonight, thinking of the vegetables and dishes my kids would accept or reject. And against the dusky sky and in the rumble of landing aircrafts, I saw yet again a bird, flapping its wings, hovering at a spot and suddenly sweeping down...dinner time...Life is as simple as that