House keeper—eh!

How  is the new maid you have engaged? Asked my husband  as we were having dinner.

Quite pleased at his concern I said, “she appears to be o.k. but….”

Before I could complete, Kirtana, my college going daughter butted in saying

Mamma, I am glad  hereafter  you will not ask me to help you with the dishes.

Nor me, with the vacuum cleaner, piped in my husband.

Don’t be so sure you folks,  for all I know  we may all have to help  her  by way of adjusting to her timings, I  quipped.

What do you mean?  Literally screamed both annoyed.

Well you see, it’s like this. This maid  works as a house keeper full time in a nearby office, I said.

But how on earth can she work for us mamma when she has a full time job ? Kirtana  asked  in  surprise even as she was  taking a second helping of fried rice.

She said she would work for us during her lunch break  when she is free to do what she wished, I  reassured Kirtana  who appeared relieved.

But  mamma, you should have thought  twice   before  employing her  because  as you said   it requires a great deal of adjusting on our part, more so on mine, which means I can’t do things at my own pace,  complained  Kirtana.

She is right, it looks like we have to abide by the maid’s timings instead of the other way round, grumbled my husband.

Not that I didn’t  think  of the hassles involved.  I yielded to her pleas  considering that she had  to support  three young daughters and a  drunkard of a husband, I  said  with a slight sense of guilt.

The usual story perhaps  and you seem to have fallen for it. . By the way    I wonder what she  does  by way of housekeeping?   Asked my husband  more out of curiousity

It appears  she    has to serve    coffee  and  biscuits   to visitors  dropping in at the office, wash the  crockery and place   it back   on the shelf and  keep the premises clean, I  replied.

Quite  an  easy going   job.  I wonder  how much she gets paid  for it, he  said.

A couple of thousands  I believe   but not enough to  satisfy  the needs of three school  going  children.  What I paid  would   take care of  their growing  wants   besides  paying   a part of her house rent, she said. 

Must be a smart chic  to  have taken  advantage of your gullibility,  reiterated my husband.     

By the way  I   haven’t still told  you people  anything  about    the  conversation we both had, I said dying to relate all that had transpired between  me and my new maid.

She wanted to know  whether I was a working woman, I said.

What cheek!  Mamma, you should have told her it was none of her business, said  Kirtana  irritated.

I  don’t think there is anything wrong  in   the query.  I am sure she would  not  have understood if you said you  were   a journalist  and a writer ,  said my  husband.

You are right pappa, it wouldn’t have made any sense to her,   concurred Kirtana.

Infact, you will be surprised to know she has a smattering knowledge of English  which, it appears  has  helped her in getting the job of a house keeper.

Anyway, what did you say? Enquired  my husband.

I said I was  not a working woman in the real sense,  in that I did not  have a nine to five job  but I worked   all the same. 

Then what do you do amma?   she   asked.

I   said   that  I was a journalist  and that “I worked from home.”

Interestingly, just then  the   two visitors  who had an appointment with me dropped in.  As usual  I offered them  some refreshments.

You  know what the maid said after they had   left?  I said  recalling her words  and   trying to control my laughter.

What did she say? Both asked in unison  leaning forward.

Amma, you said you “worked” from home, does it mean  that you too are a house keeper like me?    

N. Meera Raghavendra Rao 


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