Maid In India

November 18, 2011
By

If the 90s were the decade of the IT industry, the 2010s have got to be the decade of the Indian maid. Seriously, they’ve never been so talked about.

People returning to India from the US cite availability of domestic help as a prime inspiration to shift base. Housewives swear by their maids, when not swearing at them. Working women cant live without them. For young bachelor boys, their maids are veritable second mothers – cooking, cleaning and washing clothes for them. [Before you outrage, I know what you are thinking. Of course, mothers are much much more than that. For most people.]

There have even been reports of arranged marriages getting stalled because the girl’s parents didn’t feel their daughter will be able to gel with the maid at the boy’s house.

Maids are indispensable. Maids are unavoidable. Maids are awesome.

And everybody writes about them. There was this guy whose only claim to fame is that he moved to India from the US, only to move back because, in short, he started thinking of his maid as a conniving thief. Blah. And then there is that master of the best seller novel, the man who’s one day destined to become the first Indian Lok pal, Chetan Bhagat.

Chetan has taken maid love to another level altogether. He installed an AC and a Tata Sky connection as well in his maid’s room so she could enjoy the finer things in life, like Balika Vadhu in air conditioned comfort. He took her to the first day screening of Ra.One. He’s given his maids the respect they deserve as human beings, regardless of whether they steal his shampoo or not. How touching.

Stop for a moment, dear tears. I have a post to complete.

But here’s the problem. The maids have come to realize just how invaluable they are. And this messes up everything. EVERYTHING.

At my home, we’ve had to change our maid thrice in the last one year. Or rather, we’ve had to find a maid thrice in the last one year. Because they all quit. For greener pastures.

When it comes to attrition, Indian maids are worse than software engineers. Even software engineers last on an average one year at a job. A maid who matches that would be well worth her weight in imported apples from Australia. If that weren’t bad enough, they just disappear. No notice period. No tearful farewell emails. Not even a going-away lunch party at Punjabi by Nature. One day there are there, and the next day there’s a sinkfull of dishes waiting to be cleaned.

Here’s a tip you should never forget: If your maid asks for an advance, there’s only one correct response. DON’T.

Don’t listen to Chetan Bhagat, who got lucky or is lying. For a maid, asking for an advance is like a techie enquiring about leave encashment policy from HR. They will take it, and run.

Now that maids know their importance, they’ve got smart. The Punjabi aunties of the neighborhood who go around like headhunters enticing them with two casual leaves a month are not helping at all. And as if they weren’t enough, the Times of India keeps publishing articles about people who buy their maids bottles of wines, give a car for Diwali, or take them along to Switzerland trips. This is ridiculous. How is the common man supposed to handle such expectations?

Already aloo pyaaz are so costly. How then are we supposed to provide wine bottles, movie tickets, foreign jaunts, a 50% annual hike, and two monthly casual leaves to them?

At this rate, soon only the uber rich will be afford their maids.

Imagine a life where only the Ambanis can afford maids in their house. Imagine getting up to dust the house, while the missus does the  jhadu pocha, and after dinner, it is your duty to clean the dishes.

Being unable to find and/or afford a maid means you do everything yourself. No one to hand you the popcorn from the table while you play the downloaded torrent of Rockstar on your LCD TV. No one to make tea for you 5 minutes after lunch. No one to turn on the geyser so you can take a peaceful bath.

Dear god, at this rate we are going to soon become America!

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24 Responses to “ Maid In India ”

  1. AB on November 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Sad ordeal of maid affected us. So true.

    To add to this, demands of Maids when any festival is approaching are outrageous. Most maids’s husbands are drunkard auto drivers or rikshaw pullers, their daughters are in labour most of the times and they take more offs in a week than number of days in weekends.

    Our cook who was a male, ran away with the advance we gave him for his ill mother in law. Bloody.

    Frankly, only mothers can handle maids. I have given up.

    • amreekandesi on November 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Same story everywhere. And of course, the ladies have a system of working it all out.

  2. Roshni on November 19, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Excuse me while I guffaw with glee!!! Love, from America!!

  3. lifesorchestra on November 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    A friend of mine last year asked me to come back to India to start a Maid Agency with him …. something along the lines of Model Agency like Elite. And we really spent a weekend brainstorming the pros and cons of such a startup.

    • amreekandesi on November 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      It is a pretty cool idea. I remember reading about someone starting something like this in Gurgaon some time back.

  4. vadakkus on November 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I don’t have a maid. Me and my wife do all the work ourselves. So what does that make us? Lower middle class? BPL?

    Yeah, I know you might be surprised, but it is possible to survive without a maid! :)

    • amreekandesi on November 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      Of course it is, vinod. And that is the point – we are getting too lazy and dependent on our maids, who then take us for a ride by forming a mafia.

      In this sense, the US is so much better where people do everything themselves, simply because maids are too expensive for the common man.

  5. NeelBlore on November 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Totally one sided view. Most rubbish write up I have come across recently. God bless you with a maid rebirth. :)

    • amreekandesi on November 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Fair point. Ill post a maid’s side of the story the next time we are able to get one to stick.

  6. aktiwary on November 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Oh man. Don’t remind me! Have got a new job in Mumbai and family has yet not shifted. Wife’s first condition to move is, either take this maid from Pune or arrange a new one there. Damn!

  7. KayEm on November 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Those days when a bai used to do all our work for a pittance and never take a day off are over. And if we don’t get scared to apply the old elbow grease when bais don’t turn up, they will realise (like any employee:)they can’t hold us to ransom.
    Vadakkus, you and your wife do all the housework? That makes you bl@@dy enlightened. Congrats.

  8. India: The Decade Of Maids · Global Voices on November 24, 2011 at 3:05 am

    […] AmreekanDesi takes a satirical look at the problems of the increasingly unmanageable service of Indian maids. Tweet […]

  9. ravindra rajput on November 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

    ROFL.. nice post.. The pain of finding maid ans the sustaining them is much more .And who will know better than a bachelor who is at mercy of his maid or a husband who has to do dishes in absence of maid…
    Loved the post all through:):)

  10. anuj on December 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    chetan bhagat quite smartly used tv to retain the maid. see its very simply. the maid will get addicted to serials like balika vadhu which have no ending whatsoever. therefore just to know what will happen subsequently, she’ll never leave her employer. this really works.

  11. rk.mahajan on December 4, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I agree with the points raised in the post. we, because of our busy schedules for other activities, which may be gainful money-wise or health-wise, have become more dependent on additional member in family,who can now in the context of small family life be only domestic help in the shape of maids and they know their value and weaknesses of the family which engage them and so they usually exploit and run for greener pastures too and because of too much dependence on them,which should be curtailed as there are incidents of they being involved in stealing things and even committing other crimes for which they can not be easily put to task.
    Self help really gives opportunity to burn calories, takes to better health at no cost and wards off the evils of engaging maids without police verifications.

  12. Shubhojit on December 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Hi

    When I read this, I was almost like wtf. Just to let you know, maids are human beings and not commodities whose prices need to be regulated. You’re talking as if maids are thoroughly enjoying their work. I bet most maids if given an equally paying alternative would choose that. According to this post, common man won’t be able to afford maids….the basic flaw here is that maids are common people too. They can’t afford maids already. We are rich to them already.

    Sorry to ruin it for everyone, incase you guys did not know, people who are showering their maids with gifts and 2 vacation days also have a heart. It is not just enticing them, (I agree that many do sell these as perks)it’s about humanity too.

  13. lame on January 4, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Yes, the biggest problem in the country is “exploitative maids who run for greener pastures” and are “involved in stealing things and even committing other crimes for which they can not be easily put to task.” You never cheat on taxes, never have stolen office stationery, never made personal calls/faxes from work, and pay for real estate in all white money. You are everything that’s right in India and the “maid” is everything that’s wrong in India.

    • amreekandesi on January 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Thanks lame. You’re a genius to infer all that so quickly.

  14. Mukul D on September 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    It’s right housemaids are looked upon as thieves or are discriminated, they are also human beings, just like us, I know of an incident wherein one of my clients had accused of a maid stealing his cell phone which was later found at his house itself, he later apologized anyways. But i am trying to point out that this has become the mentality of people, maids=thieves. There are exceptionally good housemaids i have seen as well and i have also seen the worst ones.

  15. divya on June 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    With so many females opting to work outside home,I wonder why can’t there be a resilience to the joint family system when all resources are pooled in for common benefits. It is economical too and comes at a paltry price of patience.Most of the daily errnds are well taken care of in this way and reduces the requirement of a full time maid.

  16. deepsy on June 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Maid-life crisis! ;-)

  17. Narendra Vikramsingh on December 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Very well written lucky if one gets a maid who will last 6 months . they are getting smar by the day over the years we will get one but only when we sign a contract something on the lines of a pre nuptials contact provided we can afford them

  18. Namrata on October 29, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I m a doc in a metro city n for me a maid and a babysitter are must if I want to take care of my patients. At first even I thought maids r humans n blah n showered them with all comfort(breakfast n complimentary lunch everyday with a share of whatever desserts we had). Bt my babysitter blackmailed me into paying her entire month salary in 10 days (read: 10000 INR) or she sed she’d shout n tell al staff in my Hosp n my patients that I don’t feed her !! Wtf..she muz have gained 10 kgs ..d other maids frowned at whatever Diwali gift I gave them (read: cash). News is: THEY R NOT HUMANS! They are much more commercial n without values..it’s we who stick to love,respect n compassion n that’s how they kick us and move to greener pasteurs..BEWARE employers..nt all humans understand “human values”..seriously.. AC in der room n TV?? A struggling professional can’t do this for himself…n for maid??

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