Double standards! 09/03/2012

Happy  Women’s Day,  greeted my husband soon after I returned home  in the evening.

Where have you been the whole day? he asked.

On my survey, I replied.

You appear quite exhausted, let me make a cup of coffee for you, he offered.

Thanks a ton, I really need it, I said.

By the way, what survey are you talking about?

A survey to find out how the less fortunate make ends meet in these times of inflation, I said.

How did you go about it? he sounded curious.

I just walked  into a few ‘houses’ where   the domestic help live, I said.

You must be crazy, he observed.

Well, I wanted to see for myself  their life style, I said.

Ah, now I remember what I had suggested  to celebrate woman’s Day, but never thought you would take me seriously, he said.

I thought your suggestion was not a bad one at all, so I went ahead with it, I said.

How many  houses have you visited and what did you find out? He sounded interested.

Well, about half a dozen, including those of  the  two women  who worked for us,  I said.

What is your impression about the kind of life they lead? Do they live in poverty  as we tend to think? he asked.

Not at all, on the other hand  they appeared  quite happy  with what they had or possessed, I said.

That’s a surprise to me, he stated.

You will be really  surprised  if I tell you how  their little abode is kept and how the clothes drying on the clothesline looked, or the utensils in the kitchen appeared, I said.

I am sure it  was filthy and the clothes looked dirty, and the utensils greasy, he said.

Yes, what you say seems to be true about the houses  these domestic help work in but certainly not so when it came to their own  as they seem to practice double standards,  was all that I could tell my husband.


n.meera raghavendra rao


7 thoughts on “Double standards! 09/03/2012

  1. Prof. V.N.K.Kumar

    They have fewer set of clothes to wear, so they are forced to wash them daily. Fewer vessels for cooking and fewer utensils for eating, so they cannot afford the luxury of accumulating the dirty ones. They are forced to wash them as and when they are used. Much less space for living, so it is easier to sweep & swab the floors. Working for others is an imposition and no wonder they do a slipshod job in our homes and try to get away with as minimal an effort as is possible, since they ought to conserve some of their energies for maintaining their own homes.

    My problem is whether we should empathise with their situation and tolerate their slovenly approach to work or be strict with them and acquire a neat and tidy home.

  2. It’s a different story where the two maids who work for me are concerned. They don themselves in beautiful saris with matching blouses perfectly tailored, and their spouses wear sparkling white dhotis and cleanly washed shirts .I agree that they need less effort to sweep and swab a much less area but that doesn’t absolve them from their lackadaisical attitude towards maintaining houses they work in. We don’t seem to have much choice in the situation !

  3. Prof. V.N.K.Kumar

    Now coming to the flip side of the coin. When maids/domestic help smell our complete dependence on them, they feel secure and don’t need to over-exert themselves to pass muster with their employers. They start treating their jobs as a sinecure. All I can say is, in order to reduce the drudgery in our households and make time for creative work, we might need the services of maids and hope that their conscience will pinch them when they become too slovenly. I dread the time when they will become unionized and we can’t even dismiss recalcitrant workers and hire someone else !

  4. Prof. V.N.K.Kumar

    This reminded me of those brief articles in the now defunct Shankar’s weekly. This piece was as funny as some of them with a sudden twist towards the end.

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