Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Maid of Honor

The most difficult task of surviving in Chennai , after bargaining with the auto guys of course, is communicating with the maid or ‘domestic help’ as they call it in some sophisticated localities. Safely assuming that neither my paychecks nor my house gives any indication of “affluent” lifestyle or even a lifestyle for that matter, I shall continue calling her ‘maid’ though I love the word ‘bai’ used back at my home.

So everyday sharp at 6 a.m. our door bell used to go “kharr..kharr…” mind you it does make this noise unlike the popular nursery rhyme that makes the bell go ‘ding dong’ as the pussy falls in the well and nor does it go ‘ting ting’ like school bells and no fancy music no songs….just plain “kharr..kharr..” and then more of it. So the mundane usually started with this shrieking bell creating a riot at the said time be it a weekday, weekend, festival or not a festival day. But soon she realized that these permutations of ‘Morse codes’ are inadequate to stir us and she replaced it with a prolonged “kharrrrrrrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrr” and more of this “...rrrrrrrr…” till either of we sleepy heads are irritated enough to open the door to cleanliness!! This is however just the beginning.

Most of the times, the door is opened in a zombie state of mind and then we get back to the ‘Alice in wonderland’ which is quite intimidating for her though, after all how can we sleep when she does all the work!! So she comes up with all sorts of creative things to talk about and wake us up yet again. It can be ‘vim bar getting over’ – as per my cleanliness standards it could last for atleast a week more but then that’s a reminder which can be repeated every single day thereafter until she can get a empty soap case and stick it up to my nose with a victorious smile. Or it could also be ‘get a new broom’ – I wonder how the broom gets unusable so often because the angle of her bend is not even 10 degrees while she performs the so called sweeping act. So when she enters our room, we lie still and freeze, lest she should see our nerve move, she would go with another whole lot of complain riot. Moreover, we can't converse in a common language. She clatters in indecipherable Tamil and leaves us speechless – another reason for her victory smile.

If somehow she isnt able to come up with anything, all she does is switch off the fan in our room under the pretense that the 'garbage' collected, of which I have seen none, at a minimum of 15 feet away from the fan goes helter-skelter. And I need not talk about surviving in Chennai without a fan!!

However, if we do manage to survive this dreadful 15 minutes, yes she can do all the work in the world in that time which explains for the numerous cobwebs spotted in our house, we are all set to use the freshly cleaned utensils and sip on some tea!!


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