Maid in India 1

Quotes taken from ‘Maid in India’ by Tripti Lahiri :

 

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an image from a postcard that we publish

 

“We eat first, they later, often out of food portioned out for them; we live in the front, they in the back; we sit on chairs and they on the floor; we drink from glasses and ceramic plates and they from ones made of steel set aside for them; we call them by their names, and they address us by titles: sir/ma’am, sahib/memsahib”

 

Think that’s in the past?

Well, think again.

“In today’s India its not unusual to see, often in largely empty restaurants, a couple seated with their child at a table for four, while the help is despatched to sit not one but two tables away….. or a nanny dandling a child on her lap at a nightclub while her employers and their friends drink cocktails as it creeps towards midnight, her hours of sleep dwindling since she is no doubt expected to be up and ready for another day at sunrise…. or for example children playing in a neighbourhood park, seeing a plump, light-skinned boy on a swing crook his finger at the petite darker woman standing nearby and utter a single word: Push”

Womens’ life experience is an incredible indicator of how a particular society works, from top to bottom.

In India the situation of women and particualrly those who are most socially and economically excluded, in this case, the ones that serve others, shines a spotlight on the social mores, the rules by which we operate, the structures and belief systems that helps maintain the status quo.

It also shows something else.

That is, how these women in often extraordinarily challenging circumstances not only manage but can thrive, can flourish and through that, show their astonishing abilities. In a sense, the influence they subtly exert and how they deal with the changes facing them can also demonstrate to us, on a macro level, how to deal with some of the challenges and opportunities facing contemporary India.

Let’s take a look.

 

A day in the life of….

Manjula’s Mysore


What a mix.

Life goes on in the odd tapestry of India!

Manjula’s tailor friend may have found a prospective husband. For her daughter. Current view is 90% likely. Check.

Mangala, our main cleaner (Narianappa her father and our gardener has recently died. Check previous outings) No longer has her father to represent her interests with her useless husband. He doesn’t work, lazes about and demands money for drink. Well she got to the end of her tether so beat him up. The girls are now laughing as he hobbles around with the help of a stick and moans about his bruises.

As Kamlama is now somewhere in Coorg, check Manjula has found a new cleaner. We need to have absolutely trustworthy staff, not least because I leave things around the house but of course we have many guests who must feel comfortable sharing our home. Well Manjula decided to test her and left some money out which promptly disappeared. Next day Manj asked her if she’d seen it and Mangla (yes same name as other cleaner) professed no knowledge about it. So ‘soft cop’ Manjula informs poor young girl that there are CCTV camera in the house that the boss aka ‘hard cop’ (yes that’s me, unlikely as it might seem) will check the computer when he gets back from abroad. Miraculously, as you might expect, poor girl finds it under the fridge! I’m just an observer in these things and don’t condone any particular methodology but we have to work out the best we can in the circumstances.

A friend of M’s mother has died so she’ll get over to pay her last respects who will be laid out outside the house and take to the Chamundi Hill bottom where there’s a field for the funeral pyres.

We have Indian guests from Delhi and Chennai this weekend and will all gather for dinner at Hotel Roopa this evening.

Good friend Vinay reckons I’m a closet BJP supporter. I don’t eat beef,  love India and now have a lotus tattoo.

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I don’t! I’m not!

And finally


Lucy just hangs around. I thought it was because she missed me during my trip to the UK. Far from it, it’s just too bloody hot. Manj wants AC and demands to go away for months next year!

Hang on…. she must have got the vibe and


Now wants a walk