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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    The Urban Indian housemaids: An indispensable army.

    If your mental image of a servant is a quiet lady with a broom in hand, please dispel such thoughts and images. For those of us who are in the metros with popular apartments and good neighborhoods, have you tried getting a helping hand to your home? It's very difficult as there is a great demand for housemaids. Gone are the days wherein one maid would do everything for our mothers.

    The current generation has strict times and have become specialists in their own areas.
    There's is a maid in the morning who comes only to chop and dice vegetables, one maid who just makes chapathis for around 20 minutes before she rushes off. There's one maid to clean the floors and the kitchen vessels.

    Even more interesting is the presence of maid for just filling up children's lunch boxes and later on double up as a childminder for the toddler at home who leaves once they ready the older kids after snacks and off to tuitions by which time the working mother is back. There's another group of maids who work at a leisurely pace as they double up as a cook and a part-time caretaker for the elderly people who live alone with their children working abroad.

    Even appointing one is difficult, we have to go through an agency or get our neighbor's maid to find someone for us and then come with a recommendation that this household is good to work with and not the other way around. Salaries are more or less on fixed slabs within an apartment complex and most need a month's advance.

    If you are not happy with the quality of work, please think twice before taking it up with the maidservant because if you do, you'll find other maids joining hands or a call next day from security desk telling, sir, your maid is not going to work for you, she wants her salary to be sent down, she's waiting here.

    Welcome to the world of the new Urban Indian housemaids who have become an integral part of the lives of a nuclear family, working couples and retired senior citizens.
  • #615884
    I think the concept of housemaids will slowly vanish. These days it is really difficult to find a housemaid. In cities at least you are getting through some agency or so. But in villages, even though you are ready to pay good money, nobody is available. Recently I read an article in a newspaper, even village females are not even ready to go for agriculture works. Earlier days especially in villages both wife and husband of a family with carriages in their hands used to go to a place where all such people are gathered. From the farmers used to take required persons for working in the field. But there is a sea change. The farmer has to tell them one day in advance his requirement. He has to arrange an auto for their travel. Morning tiffin and lunch is to be arranged. Anyhow tea need not be specially mentioned. They start at 9 AM and go back at 5 PM with a tiffin break, lunch break and tea break.
    Really getting people is very difficult these days.

    always confident

  • #615889
    This really describes the urban apartment culture and the way author describes, the number of employees(household) is more and really in any corridor one can see only the employees(dominates!) other than the people stay in the apartment.
    Nice to be in ISC and feel the difference.

  • #615892
    Yes the author rightly mentioned that getting a house maid has become a challenge in metros and those who accept the task do put forth lots of conditions to which we have to oblige. I have seen one house maid who shall clean the house and surroundings early in the morning and also adore with Rangoli. This she does for five to six houses in the same apartment and walk away with 4000 as monthly income. Just imagine , she spends 10 minutes at each house and by one hour she finishes all work and goes for her routine work as servant in a government office and there too she spends little time and comes back home.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #615903
    During my childhood(in our native place) we had a housemaid, who was actually another member of our family. She knew what we needed and did the needful, and my parents knew what she needed and did the needful for her. For we children her children were just like siblings and playmates.

    After she became old, and her children grew up and settled, she discontinued going for work. From then we had a few different maids at different times and the relationship was not that thick and close. But still there were attachments of human sentiments and some mutual faith and loyalty.

    After moving to a metropolis, we were in the apartment culture,and the maid was one who worked in the neighbouring flats also. It was a-la-carte work and payment system. There was not much mutual l loyalty or faith. It was purely professional . For the last about a decade we do have services of any housemaid.

    We have to slowly move to self dependant ways in daily life. Washing machines, vacuum cleaners, dish washers - and appliance and aids like them have influenced and impacted both sides.Already we are facing shortage of people for small jobs like plumbing, electrical works, carpentry etc. We are learning the DIY habit.

  • #615928
    Yes, this is the case mostly with the urban households. Especially in metros, people are even very careful in appointing maids of even another religion. For example.. a Brahmin family or a family who does not eat non-veg food will look for a Hindu maid, one who does not cook non-vegetarian food and is a complete herbivore. People have defined various criteria as well.
    Maids have become an integral part of every family now. There is a lot of irritation among the working people, even if the maids take off on a single day. So, living has drastically changed now.

    Do what inspires you !!

  • #616025
    Well explained by the author, just yesterday my colleague was discussing how had it has become for her to find a full-time maid, she is ready to pay any amount but yet she is to find a good and loyal maid. They have their own set of conditions and yet another colleague a few months back when they shifted to new place had a tough time finding a maid, she found herself being interviewed by the maid instead of she interviewing them.

    I am unsure but that day won't be far when there will a university course for maids or do we already have one?

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