MAID IN INDIA
“She has quit the job”, the wife started, bitterness and anger rising in her.
“Why are you saying that?”, her husband asked timidly.
“I can feel it. She is not coming from today” she continued about the impending disaster of the maid dropping from work.
“Yes, but what would be the reason for her to stop coming?”
“Yesterday, when she was washing the dishes, I told her to use more soap on the oily pans” the wife surmised, “The look on her face told me, she didn't like the comment and today, see she has not turned up”
“People don't quit jobs when we ask them to do their jobs better” the Team Leader in the Software company, continued.
“Don't give me your Gyan of office”, she quickly rebutted, “It is different with maids. They stop coming for the silliest of reasons”
“That must be her,” the husband said as the doorbell rang.
Since I was the nearest, I got the door and let the maid in.
“Please do the clothes first today” the wife talked to her nonchalantly not meeting the husband's eye.
I was staying with them for a couple of days and witnessed this drama again the next day.
“Today it is pucca. She is not coming from today”
“Why do you say that?”
“I know it”
“Yeah but there must be a reason why you think she quit the job”
“Yesterday, she asked me for coffee, since the decoction was over, I gave her tea. Then only she made up her mind not to come”
“I have been working for donkey's years with so many people and I don't know of anyone who quit because, tea was served instead of coffee”, he argued
“You don't know the maidservant. Handling them is not easy. She has quit. I can write that and give you”
The doorbell rang and the wife went into the kitchen as if the conversation did not happen.
The pantomime act started the third day of my stay as well.
“Did you notice the time?”, the wife started, “Seven forty-five and she has not come. Today she has quit. Tomorrow your parents are coming to stay for a week, how am I going to manage without a maid?”
“She came at Eight yesterday, so today also she could come around that time” the husband offered her hope.
“Why do you always throw facts at me?” she questioned and left the room.
The husband looked at me for help completely bewildered.
“Why do you throw facts at her?” I asked him, unable to suppress my smile.
“Facts are facts, aren't they?” he asked.
“Facts aren't facts when the woman of the house argues with you about the maid or any other woman in her life” I chided him. “They are not looking for you to counter them with logic, rationality or reason. They are just expressing their anxieties”
“So what should I do?
“Just listen”, I advised sagely
“I have a better idea”, he said
“Tomorrow is your last day with us. Watch”
The next day at seven-thirty he looked at his wife and said, “Today she is definitely not coming”
The wife was taken back for a moment, “What's wrong with you?” she asked
“Yesterday, after she swapped the floor, I spilt some coffee and I asked her to clean it up. I don't think she liked being given additional work like that”
“You men are silly, aren't you? You don't understand the relationship between the woman and her maid. The maid will never quit for something silly that you would do, she will quit for something silly that I would do. You don't matter in the relationship. It is a love-hate relationship. It is strong and fragile at the same time. We want them to come but don't want to depend on them. We can't do without them, but want to show who is the boss. It is a delicate balancing game that happens all the time between us. It is perhaps the most complex relationship in our life. It can't be explained by facts” she said and walked out giving him a You-The-Defeated look. In one succinct paragraph, she captured the essence of the Woman-Maid relationship.
My friend ignored her You-the-Defeated look and gave me, Me-the-Victorious look, flashing the V sign to boot. But I did not know who won. Who won?