Life Lessons

Life has a funny way of throwing things back in your face.

Remember how I was telling you how I was lucky in the domestic help department? Well, I spoke too soon.

She had been nice, helpful, well-mannered, and apart from a few instances of not turning up on time, she was fine.

She asked me for an advance, and I readily gave her because it was for her child’s education. Soon after I gave her the advance, we discovered money missing. Discussing with others, we realized that she probably had a tendency of taking things. I decided to keep a watch and be extra careful, when my friend who employed her lost some gold. But that could not be proven either because my friend had terminated her and had employed a new help. She had strong reasons to suspect the older help, but it still was just a suspicion.

The final straw was when I caught her with her hands inside my wardrobe, which had my purse in it. Thankfully I caught her before she appropriated something.

I’ve let her go, but its sad to have your trust betrayed. Even more so when I’ve always treated her well, with respect, given her whatever she wants, shared the food I made. Despite all that I’ve given her, she still chose to steal. It breaks my heart, and possibly makes me a little more wary now.

Insensitivity..

and double standards..

One of the things that struck me, here, in India was the lack of sensitivity towards domestic help.

A few weeks back, my domestic help(DH) came to my door in tears. At one of the places that she works at, the lady refused to pay her the her full payment. She started the job after agreeing on a particular amount, and at the end of the month, the lady gave her 1/3rd of the amount she owed her. DH did not know what to do, she came to me in tears. I was at a loss too. I couldn’t imagine this sort of a scenario. Finally, she went back there when the husband was home and demanded her money. At that point they gave her some more and said that ‘they did not have enough money to pay her’, and would pay her in a few days. Finally they did pay her, after a few days, when she kept reminding them.

The whole drama left a bad taste in my mouth. I cannot understand well-to-do people trying to save money by not paying their domestic help. How can they even think of doing that. This lady has worked hard the whole month, only to have to fight for what is rightfully hers at the end of the month. Would we be happy if our workplaces told us that they did not have enough money to pay us? And if you can’t afford domestic help, don’t get them. But if you do, you have to pay for their services, right? It’s beyond me. What they stood to gain by not giving a poor woman her due. Saved some interest in the bank, I suppose.

In the same way, she was ill the other day. She called to let me know, so I asked her to rest. The next day, she came in looking very ill – eyes red, and clearly ill. I was shocked and asked to her to go home and rest, and not bother about doing my house. She still couldn’t go home and rest because the other places that she worked at, all wanted her to finish their work. So what if she were ill.

It really feels inhumane to me. How easily the privileges we would demand from our employers, we refuse to give to those we employ..