The Mysterious Maids
June 18, 2009
I have had four maids in six months. Do you think I have a problem?
The Comber. The first maid I had in this new apartment, Jayanti, was Bengali. She had two characteristics: she made the worst dal in the world, in the process turning my kitchen into a savage battlefield of the Spice War. And she spent her afternoons sitting on my balcony, languidly combing her oiled hair.
Often, friends would drive past my apartment block and call me saying they just saw Jayanti on the balcony. I couldn’t have cared less (except when one said he mistook her for me – that, I really did not find funny). There wasn’t that much work at home after all. The reason I had to let her go was that she got cheeky when my flatmate moved in, pretending she was overworked and threatening to leave. Threatening, honestly.
The tattooed witch lasted two days. The mere thought of her brings shivers down my spine.
Then I went through a painful maidless time. Three daunting months without help, in a dusty dirty place like Jaipur.
Then came Bimla, another Bengali, with her sweet smile. We had a difficult start, Bimla being petrified of staying alone in the apartment. I explained to her that she could lock herself in, that there were no Ninjas in Jaipur, and that even if there were, they wouldn’t be able to attack on the fourth floor because flying wasn’t one of their superpowers. And so she stayed.
But Bimla’s problem was that she was never on time. She was at least three hours late every day, and she quickly developed a knack for showing up when I wasn’t there, wash two plates, declare her workday over and leave before I’d come back. After two months of the same conversation about showing up on time, I gave up and fired her last week.
Do I have a problem ?