Young maids carrying bags or kids, quietly strutting behind their smiling & laughing employers, is a very common scene now-a days. Most homes hire a full time maid for domestic jobs starting from mopping to looking after kids and shopping. The maids can be of any age starting from ten.
Have you ever spotted a contended, truly happy smile on a maid’s face?
It will certainly be a very rare case. There are very few maids who look happy and satisfied with their life. And these few happy maids will certainly be those who have been working for their employers for more than five years. Their satisfaction obviously being the reason for their staying long. But these cases are few! A sad, lonely expression is the most common sight.
How can they be happy? They come from far off villages leaving behind their family and friends. Young girls live alone, serving the rich, when they would otherwise have been laughing and enjoying with friends of their age. Women leave behind their kids and husband to look after the kids of other people! Girls as young as ten look after the children of the rich, when they should actually be playing and going to school. Boys working as domestic help have to play with the children of the employer anytime and every time they are asked to, whatever be their personal wish. These domestic helps do each and every job of the house, while their employers, in most houses, only have to get up in the morning, get ready and leave for their office and schools leaving a list of instructions for the maid. The maid starts early in the morning with cooking breakfast, Tiffin, washing the car etc. Then begins her duties of cleaning the house, washing clothes, cooking, picking up the kids from the bus stop, so on and on. If the employer has an infant, the work is even more. She has to do a mother’s job too, along with all the housework. If there is anything lacking or a mistake in their job, they get scolded, even beaten or a cut in their pay.
Working as a maid is their only option to help their poverty stricken family. They are not accustomed to the ways of city life. And being less educated, they are easily exploited by the agencies and employers.
How can we be so insensitive towards these domestic helps? We hire them because we are not able to juggle all the housework alone. Then how can we expect the maid to do each and everything, which we could not do? We get four Sundays every week to rest, other than the holidays and casual leaves. Then why do we disapprove of the maid’s asking for even a single day leave? Our children must go to school, but the poor twelve year old maid stays to look after the twelve year old daughter of the employer. Why? Just because we are paying them?
They are humans too! Their body and mind too get tired, and need rest once in a while. Just as we work to earn for ourselves and our family, they too are doing the same. Then what is the point of considering them as inferior? The maid deserves the leaves, and the young girls serving as maids should be first sent to the school.
Give them due respect
The term ‘servant’ or ‘naukar’ is degrading. Instead, we should call them ‘helpers’. Helpers, who help us in our domestic chores. In olden days, domestic helpers were addressed as kaka, masi, didi and the like. This simple respect accorded to them, developed an emotional attachment with the employer’s family. And no wonder they stayed for long! The domestic helpers deserve respect. They are not bonded laborers, but individuals very much like us, who cherish and dream of freedom from miseries. People who are working to earn a living. People who want love and respect like any one of us. Let these domestic helps go to school if they are that age. Let them share their joys and sorrows with you, because they are away from their own dear ones.
Do unto others, as you would to yourself!
If you respect the maid’s/helpers’ needs and treat him/her as a human being with emotions just like you, no wonder they will give back as much, and will always stay with you through all your joys and sorrows.