Maid Hunt !
Seeing my baby Darsh for the first time was the best thing so far in my life. When the nurse brought him from maternity ward wrapped in a white towel, he had his eyes wide open and was staring at everyone. I just looked at him equally amused and even forgot to check with her if it was a boy or girl. The next six months went in a flash and so did my wife’s maternity leave. She had to join her office and the question was who will take care of the kid.
“I am ready to leave my job. I will take care of the kid and household stuff”, I told my wife. After all for centuries women have sacrificed their personal life for taking care of the household and I was ready to take turns. My wife did not take it seriously, she felt I was kidding.
“Yup, I haven’t seen a lazy person like you and the last thing I will do is to leave my kid with you. Gosh, how did I end up with you of all the men in the world? You should see how other husbands help their wife by taking care of the kid. The only thing you do is take him to the bed and doze off with him. How convenient huh…!”, she replied.“Let’s get a full time maid”, she said. I was working from home then and getting a full time house maid was not a bad idea. We enquired in the neighbourhood for one, but in vein. Next thing left was to contact an agency.
“What is happening, from morning you are on back to back calls. Got any new boyfriend?”, I asked my wife. “Do you even care, we haven’t found a maid yet. I called justdial for agency contacts and ever since my phone has not stopped buzzing”, she replied.
When we talk about automobiles, the first thing which we ask is about the mileage. Likewise, the only question I asked is what’s the rate?
“10k salary and one month salary as the agency fees. The advantage being agency will verify the whereabouts of the maid and provide replacements when required, for the next one year”, she said.“20000 rupees + food + stay???? You pay me this money and I will do it myself” I offered yet again.
After a few negotiations an agency in the nearby locality agreed to give us a maid for 8500 a month along with agency fee of 10k. As their office was nearby we decided to go for it. By then Dhanya started going to office and the baby was with my in-laws.
“Maid is waiting in the agency office. Go and get her. I will reach home in 2 hours”, wife called and said.
I did as said. The lady was in her late 40’s and spoke Kannada. In my broken Kannada I told her “Me Kannada konjam gotum”. With god’s grace she understood what I meant. After paying them, I took her home. Our greedy owner’s wife watched from the top floor stealthily as I took her inside. I wanted to tell her, she is our new maid and not my girlfriend. With her around we never felt the need for a watch dog!
“Madam will come now. This is our house. You stay here, I will buy some milk and come”, I told her again in broken Tamil and Kannada. Maybe because my grandpa was a communist leader, I respect every job and wanted to make her a cup of tea before giving her any work. It took me five minutes to get back with the milk. Went to the kitchen, made tea and gave it to her. She quietly sipped her tea in the kitchen while I was sitting in the dining room. All of a sudden she began to cry.
“Why is she crying? Is my tea so bad?”, I thought. I also saw some shadow outside, could be our watch dog. The last thing I want her to do is to cook up some story and throw me out of the house.
Not losing my cool, I asked, “Why are you crying?”
“Sir, I got a call from my village that my son-in-law had an accident and is hospitalized. He is serious and I need to go now”, she said. I went blank. Should I be sorry for what has happened to her or is she asking for leave before joining ? What if she is trying to scoot by taking some valuables while I was away? Knowing how well organized my wife is the later seemed true. I called her instantly.
“Where are you, this lady is crying!”, I said.
“What happened? What did you do to her”, my wife asked equally shocked. I updated her.
“Where are your ornaments? How can I leave her without checking”, I said.
“Who asked you to leave the house with a stranger? What was the hurry to make her tea? I am on my way wait for 30 mins”, she said. Meanwhile, I got a few calls from the maids relatives asking me to send her. As the drama continued, my wife arrived, checked her ornaments and gave a green signal. Our first maid left us in an hour’s time after hiring. We were back to square one, the only difference was we paid 10000 Rs for an agency and did not get any maid.
I look at the empty cup in which she had tea. She has not even bothered to clean her cup. I took it and washed it. I decided, “no more preparing teas for the maids, let them make and have”.
“What if this was a drama? What if the agency has cheated us? Now these guys can take their own time to find another maid”, I told my wife.
A little bit of research online and I could find a similar feedback about this agency from another customer. We were furious. My wife being more aggressive than me took the phone and called the agency.
“Are you trying to play some game? Do you know who I am? I am a senior journalist from Indian Express and even knows the Bangalore police commissioner. Either you send me a new maid in 2 days or I will lodge a complaint with the police. I know you are already fighting a case”, said Dhanya.
Yes, my wife was a journalist years back, but the way she said, for a min even I thought I was sitting in front of Barkha Dutt, the NDTV reporter. Not something I should be proud of but my wife is very good at lying, convincingly. She passed me the phone to build on it. I said, “Sir, what is this? Please send a replacement soon”.
They bought our story and we got a maid very second day. This time it was a 19-year-old girl.
“Pick her from the agency office and leave her at my house. My mom will first check if she can take care of the kid before finalizing”, said my wife.
While driving her to my in-laws house, I asked her if she knows cooking. “I know Chitranna. The rest you can teach me” she said fiddling with the audio controls of the car.
“Who’s Anna ?”, I asked.
“Chitranna, lemon rice !!”, she said loudly. By then she has raised the audio volume to levels I was not comfortable with.
“Don’t play with them”, I said.
“This is not my first time in a car. I know how to increase and decrease the volume”, she replied. I felt weird and wondered if any of her nut was loose.
I left her at my in-laws place in the evening. Next day morning I called my wife to get feedback on the new maid.
“Have sent her back”, my wife replied.
“What? Already!!Who had an accident this time”, I asked.
“She got up at 7am in the morning and asked my mother to make her tea. She can’t start her day without the morning tea it seems. Then she told my mom, she cannot have idly as the breakfast, instead want Chitranna. Luckily since mom had already made it for lunch she offered. Next she told my dad that she is getting bored and she want to watch TV. Then she said that the baby is too small and she was expecting a school going one. We were still okay, but then she looked at our wedding picture and said your husband is very handsome”, said my wife.
“So I called the agency and asked them to take her back. I have given them a week’s time to get a middle-aged woman who has some experience in child care”.
“Did she really say I am handsome?” I checked for confirmation.
“Do you also want to go with her?” she asked. I cut the call. Maid #2 was also gone.
Next was a 50-year-old lady. She was working for a family in Kerala for the last 10 years and understands Malayalam also. “I know to prepare Idiyappam and Puttu.”, said the new maid. That was enough to delight me. Then she showed us two snaps, first of a 1-year-old and second of a 9-year-old.
“See I took care of this child for 9 years. He was crying when I left him” she said. Finally we got a nice maid, if not nine 9 years even a year or two would be good, I thought.
It was 12 AM in the night and I woke up hearing Dhanya scream.
“What happened to you, why the hell are to screaming now “, I asked.
“Who is screaming?” she asked angrily.
The sound was coming from maid’s room. It increased as I went closer. The light was on and there the maid was having a bad asthma attack.
“Amma..Sir …, help me. I am not able to breathe”, said the maid. She was having heavy wheezing. The baby was crying from the other room and I was confused whether to take care of the baby or the maid. Dhanya went to take care of the baby and I went to kitchen to make her hot coffee.
“Sir, sugar kammi poodum. I am diabetic, shouted the maid from the room”, as I made coffee. The clock in the kitchen showed 3 AM. As I myself was prone to ashma, I has a few medications at home. But she was reluctant to take them.
“Sir, take me to hospital please, I’ll die now”, she said.
At 5 AM, I took her to the hospital. She was given nebulization. A nurse came and said, “Sir, your mom says she is hungry. Get her something from the canteen”.
At 7 AM, I was out of the hospital with hand full of medicines and a lighter wallet. On the way home I sent a leave request to take care of the maid.
“Sir, hungry. Make me something hot she said at home”. After taking care of the maid for 2 days I called the agency and asked them to take her back. We wanted a maid to take care of our kid and not a maid for us to take care. Hope agency understood it right at least this time.
Maid number 4 turned up soon. “Sir, I do not eat fish or chicken”, she said. I was happy at least I can save some money there. But then she continued, “I only like mutton!!!”
The hunt continues and as of now we are having the 8th maid in the series.
THE END -- > Please add your valuable comments\feedback below.