Another One for the Maid Diaries…

Written By

Nidhi Sankale

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Right after firing an illusionist maid, who tried convincing me that I had merely imagined that I had caught her stealing, I was desperately looking for a replacement. Because, although I was determined that I would rather do all the chores myself than losing sleep over a thief roaming through my house, the enthusiasm soon wore out. Mostly because it was so freaking exhausting. You see, my house is by the main road and it needs to be dusted and cleaned and swabbed every single bloody day. Sometimes twice a day. After hardly four days of this torture I was ready to hire any thief, illusionist or even a hypnotist! As long as I could go back to pretending to be working on solving the larger problems of the world.

On the fateful day, a woman turned up on my doorstep asking if I was looking for a house help. Well, was I?! I could have danced out of pure joy. But I didn’t, partly because it would seem silly to dance with a broom in my hand, but mostly because I didn’t want this God sent woman to think I was crazy and scare her away. No way! I wanted to behave in a manner that seemed rational and made me look like a ‘friendly employer’.

So there I was, standing in the doorway, casually enquiring about her family in an attempt to connect with her on a humane level, when she suddenly burst into tears. My 3-year-old came to the door to see what was happening. I sent the child swiftly back inside. The woman gave her a fleeting glance and started telling me how her husband had expired a year ago and now she was left alone to fend for her two kids aged 5 and 3. She was out of work and they hadn’t eaten anything in two days. Now if you have kids, you know what I am talking about. Seeing the suffering of children, be they your own or other people’s, instantly pulls at your heart strings. I have a 3-year-old myself and imagining another 3-year-old going hungry tugged at my maternal instincts.

I felt a warm feeling spreading from my chest to the extremities of my fingers. I offered the woman a glass of cold water to drink and patted her back while she continued to narrate her heart-rending story. I had already made a list in my head, of all the things that I would give her kids — old toys, clothes and books. Twenty minutes later, the woman was still going at it! Her tragedy would have put Meena Kumari to shame. Okayyy… That should have raised a red flag! She must have seen doubt on my face and promptly started the tirade of tears again.

Naturally, for some silly reason I felt guilty and felt I had to do something to make things better. The woman had not yet started working for me and it would make absolutely no sense to give her ‘advance’ payment. However, I reasoned with myself that I would consider the money spent for a good cause. I handed her 500 rupees along with a bottle of jam and a packet of bread, and she promised to turn up for work the next day while thanking me for my generosity.

I was already feeling good about doing the right thing. Oh yes, it was all about lifting my own spirits more than hers. My internal stupid-o-meter was measuring high levels of stupid but I was too busy feeling good about myself to hear the warning bells.

Of course, she did not turn up the next day or the day after that …or ever! I came to know a little while later that the woman not only had a husband who was alive and well, she also had a lover on the side and a total of 6 kids, none of whom were 3-year-olds! I was not the first person she had fleeced with her sob stories. There were others who had lent her money and sympathy.

Well, at least I was not the only stupid person, thank God for that. And thank God for all us stupid people for keeping humanity alive.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nidhi Sankale is an MBA graduate who took a break in her career as an education counsellor to be a full-time hands-on mommy. She is a thinker, writer and philosopher. Writing to amuse herself as much as others, she is always looking to create a little chaos in an otherwise perfect life. But more than that she writes to ruffle a few feathers, create ripples and to make people see the truth under the surface. A crusader for a progressive and unprejudiced society, she uses humor to provoke introspection on deep social concerns. She also writes and narrates short stories for children. She also writes on her popular blog https://coloursandsome.blogspot.in, in which three friends share interesting stories, anecdotes, recipes and DIY projects.

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