Kripya order karein!

Kripya order karein!
Kripya order karein!

Monday, March 21, 2011

By comparison, Kalpana rocked

Old-time readers will remember (hopefully only with a little frustration) my travails with Kalpana the cook. Kalpana had very limited culinary skills but what she lacked in the kitchen, she made up in the parlour, so to speak. A social butterfly, she flitted from flat to flat collecting gossip like pollen and propagating it far and wide. Our tryst with Kalpana came to a somewhat untimely end over an unfortunate disagreement over some rotten paneer. She thought we should eat the paneer, we disagreed. Better that than to come to an untimely end ourselves, we decided as we bade her a loud goodbye (slamming doors do tend to be rather loud).

At that time of course I had thought Kalpana to be a complete *insert choice of invective here* but life is funny and since then it has thrown at me so many colourful characters that I have begun to think of her in the fashion of an old, partly senile but still affectionate relative, with something resembling fondness.

The fault no doubt lies with me, as it always does. I had mentioned in one of my letters to Raagu that people leave jobs because of bad bosses and a kind commentor had pointed out that it could well be the reason that my helps keeps showing me the slammed door. I think there is a grain of truth there. I am extremely moody and function in the style of a benevolent dictator, expecting my word to be treated as law and in return I am willing to shower all the largess of the world on their well-oiled heads. Well, one knows what happens to dictators, specially these days (Muammer, old chap, not partying too hard these days, are we?). Even long-standing, experienced hands are finding it difficult to dictate in peace. People just keep rising and uprising and throwing about coups carelessly. How is an honest dictator to earn his (or her) bread, I ask. People have no consideration these days.

Anyway, one needs to change with the changing times and all that nonsense and I have taken to the show-and-tell mode of pedagogy these days. Look at this dirt here, I say politely to my help, perhaps you ought to clean it like this and I jump at it grabbing my mop or broom or duster as I go along. This, as anybody in my immediate family will tell you, is very unlike me. What comes naturally to me is to fly into a massive rage followed by much spluttering in indignation and showering of spittle on the offending party. But we live and learn, kind reader, we live and learn.

Recently, I asked my cook what she thought of the new regime of cleanliness that I had personally displayed to her. I had cleaned corners that she did not know existed. I had scrubbed dishes such that their colour had changed like treacherous chameleons. I had uncovered a new layer of the marble tile in front of her amazed eyes.

So hey, I asked her, you go to another house to cook too, don't you. Don't they ask you to maintain this level of hygiene?

She looked at me and smiled conspiratorially. Arrey didi, she spoke, wahan toh itna ganda rehta hai ki main toh unke ghar mein paani bhi nahin peeti. Main toh sab kuchh aapke yahan hi khaati-peeti hoon. (It is so dirty that I don't even drink water in their house. I eat and drink only in your house.)

Glad she approves of my style of working. Sigh, changing world order.

16 comments:

Aneela Z said...

I can hear "Aaj purani raho se koi mujhey avaaz na dey" playing in the back

Prats said...

ROFL!!! The domestic help I believe the number one discussed topic across the country :-D

dipali said...

I can well imagine! See how much 'dirt' you have uncovered with your new strategy!

Sue said...

EWWWW

My maid(s) are constantly amazed at how I actually expect them to get all the food off the vessels. Because, let's face it, isn't food what the vessels are meant for? Doh.

Zainab Sulaiman said...

Heartfelt (like all stories about the help) :) My mother wisely said, 'somewhere, there is a maid made for me.' I'm still waiting for mine though ;)

Zainab Sulaiman said...

Heartfelt (like all stories about the help) :) My mother wisely said, 'somewhere, there is a maid made for me.' I'm still waiting for mine though ;)

subbulakshmistoned said...

Such an honest post.

Rads said...

Ah.... i see the start of something new an nice :) Hope this one sticks around for longer ....

Sonia said...

Awwww Parul, mujhe maaf kar do :(( :) Arey I think becoz I haven't really experienced this whole maid business na, I am ignorant and make bad jokes :( Sorree

Passionate Goof said...

Honestly, most Indians out of India miss having maids, but that is the one thing I don't miss. I had just a part-time maid, and she was more trouble than help, wouldn't turn up without even informing, would chatter about everything she saw at home to everyone..... uff!!! I feel lucky to be out of that loop now!

Divs said...

ROFL! This topic bonds us females like no other na? One of our ex-maids who used to take care of my kiddo still works in the apartment complex. So I had called her over today to collect some of our old clothes she had said she needed. All the while I was brooding over how it was so much nicer when she was working here (just like the emotions you are going through for Kalpana). Anyways, I kept waiting all morning getting late for work and she did not even bother to call and inform that she is not able to come today. Suddenly this incident reminded me of why I got rid of her in the first place! And yet, when she did show up finally, I asked her whether she will come back to work for the summer break!!!

Maids - can't live with them...can't live without them :-)

Roli Bhushan-Malhotra said...

Haha! I can empathise with you. Getting good help in Mumbai beats even achieving record-breaking sales targets!

roop said...

rofl i can't stop laughing!

gargimehra said...

Awesome, v funny post! I’ve had weird experiences with my maids as well – can’t help but point you to this article I'd written some time back.

the mad momma said...

i've realised that i am too anal to have a maid last more than 6 months. its not that i fly into rages and push them off the balcony. its more that i sit with them and scrub corners and to them that seems so pointless. why must bedsheets be tucked into hospital corners, they ask.

as for maids and their personal dislikes, i remember my cook wouldn't work for this firang family across the road even though in true firang style they were ruining the market by offering her thrice what i was - because they use toilet paper!! I can never forget the look on her face as she told me in horror - didi, woh, kagaz se pochte hain! phir usi haath se khaate hain!

i-me-myself said...

So inspite of having a cook and a maid, i am still not sitting with my feet up and taking rest in the evenings..I'm still doing the supervision, scrubbing stuff, folding clothes, ironing clothes, making beds, dusting, trying to feed healthy food to the kid at the end of a day of work.. It doesn't matter how you treat them, they're going to leave for better salaries within 6 months in the metros- no point trying too hard for their approval..