“Krishna, she is getting married. We will need you for whole days here.” My mother was speaking to our house-maid, “Don’t take any leave in December.”
“What! You will not be here.” She stared at me with a little distress first. Soon after she realized it was actually a good news she congratulated me.
“Where will you be going after marriage?” She asked me out of curiosity.
“Very far from here Krishna. It will be outside India, as they say to a land that is across the seven seas.”
She is not much educated and hence she cannot comprehend much about Geography. Krishna is a hard working woman in her mid-forties. Born to the poor class of India, she earns her bread from cleaning homes of the people. While working, her mind is dedicated and her hands move hurriedly. On her single handed earning (which is approximately Rs. 100 per two hours of her time she spends in cleaning every home) she pays her dues and feeds her children. Along with this she has to look after her husband suffering from lung infarction, admitted in a government hospital from many months now. Even after her hardships there is no sign of despair and fatigue on her face.
“Krishna how is your husband now? Is your daughter happy back at home?”, were the regular questions from us. Sometimes while changing the television channel we used to laugh together on some specific movie scenes, or sometimes she used to share her views on the current news that was being aired on television.
From last few years we became too dependent on her with our household chores. Her nature suited us the most. She never took a day off without informing us in advance.
After my relocation, I received a call from a close friend.
“How are you doing miss? Enjoying Amrika? He said exuberantly.
“Ah! People say life is better here. But we have to do everything on our own. I miss my maid Krishna here.” I said frivolously. We both laughed at that moment.
But when I thought about it later, I felt bad about myself. How easily I talked about my own comfort, especially when we are provided with the machines for everything. There is no daily cleaning and mopping the floors either. I didn’t realize at that point of time I enjoyed such luxury because someone was so underprivileged in my own land that she had to clean the floors and wash dishes to survive daily. Probably life is much better here that more people are self-sufficient and no Krishna has to live such a marginalized life.
P.S. Some people contempt their house-maids and speak with them in very condescending tone. For those, they always should remember, there is a never-ending story of tough times and hardships about them. They have been beaten mercilessly by their fathers or their husbands or both. They were deprived of the equal rights in their childhood. Some of them starts working at an early age of eight years. After working throughout their lives they are not able to save enough for their old age and are sometimes abandoned by their children in times of need. Life never gets easy for many of them. They should be treated humanely at least!
Image Credits: The Hindu, Google