We had to change many maids in last few years. We used to hire one and she used to leave the job within few months due to their personal reasons. Some went back to their native, some got a full time maid job and some got relocated somewhere else, or we were not happy with anyone’s service. So told them politely to leave.
So it was a task to hunt a new maid every three four months. And I never felt anything for any of them leaving and going. They came and left. Big deal!!! Replacements are too easy. As I always thought.
But then this lady Alka Shinde. Must be around 45 years of age. She used to come to our neighbour’s house for cleaning job. I needed a help only for cleaning job of sweeping and mopping. So I spoke to her once when she was hurriedly leaving for home one evening. I asked if she would have time to take an additional job. She said will let you know tomorrow. Have to rush for home now, my kids are waiting.
She came next day and said is it ok if I come from 1st day of next month. I said yes, that’s fine with us.
She took up the job. And slowly my entire family was so stunned with her behaviour.
Earlier we had many many kind of maids, some chatterbox, some of complaining nature (Madam, mereko ye nahi chalega) some not good at their work and still irritating. Some bunk masters saying 2 leaves we already have to get per month. So if they take random leaves of 6-7 days, we have to count only 4-5 of them as 2 leaves are their birthright. And we are not supposed to deduct their salary too else an instant resignation is ready.
But this lady was too sincere in every manner. Give her the keys and she will never misuse them. Offer her extra money, she would never accept. And a clean job everytime. No gossips like what happened at the neighbour’s place. Never ever saying that your mother in law is like this or father in law s like that. Never got to hear any news of the neighbours through her. And we all were satisfied with this new help.
More over my 9 months old daughter used to like her a lot. And she always treated my baby like her own. If she is crying she would say nazar lag gayi hogi and used to do some rituals to remove negativities (as she thought). Just like any granny would do.
Would never say no for any extra work and never demanded any extra money in her tenure. Slowly I started knowing about her personal life. Her husband had lost his job few years back and then she took up the job of maid. Husband was working in a small factory now with not so great salary. Had three kids and all of them were too good at studies so she had to earn for family and kids’ education.
We were stunned to know that her eldest daughter had got selected for a bank job recently. Second daughter was pursuing CA and the youngest son was in SSC. The kids were insisting her to leave this job of maid but she did not want to take rest and spoil kids’ career. Said let all of them get settled and I will happily quit then. And still she was not running behind money. She was not taking any additional jobs and had left all the evening jobs of cleaning utensils so that she can spend time with family. Said I am earning enough that we can survive, If I keep doing all the odd jobs and run behind money then when will my kids and husband would get to spend time with me? Every sunday we all cook together, eat together as everybody is free and I get free post lunch.
Such words to hear from house help was just beyond imagination. She is a strong willed lady. She never ever told any sad story like many other maids used to do. Never mentioned that I’m going through all the hurdles of life and how hard it is to raise kids. Never said I’m doing a great job by sharing responsibilities of my husband. Her punchline was “Sagla kela ki soppa hotay ki ( Things become easy when we are willing do it)” And kept a smile on face always.
She never took any leaves (not even 2 leaves per month) unless she really needed it for some emergency like her mother in law is unwell or she needs to go to her son’s school etc. And only once she took one day leave without any advance notice and came at night to inform us that her mother in law fell in bathroom and was injured, nobody was at home so she had to go to hospital and could not inform anyone as she doesn’t have mobile. Moreover said “Shall I do sweeping & mopping now.” I said no, it’s ok. You go home and take care of your Mother-in-law. And if needed you can take leave tomorrow also. She denied.
She did extra work when I was unwell. without accepting any extra money. She went to meet her mom in Diwali and had got some besan laddus for me saying I thought you will like it. Such warm treatment from her to me and my family!!! And with this nature of her she became a family member soon. We used to send sweets and savories for her kids. Initially she hesitated but slowly even she started accepting it.
I was always carefree when she was around. And she handled my kid also very fondly.
But the day came when she had to depart. Her chawl was getting demolished so she needed to shift some where else. She shifted to other part of the city and could not manage travelling from there. And on her last working day we all had tears in our eyes. My mother in law would never have entertained any maid in this manner and surprisingly she also said Taai, please try to come back whenever possible.
We gave her some cash, a saree and sweets but she returned everything saying I cannot accept it. We forced her a lot and at last she accepted only the saree and sweets. Said big NO for cash. And left.
Seriously, it is very rare to meet such people in life. Who are truly so sincere. She was with us for almost a year, we got so used to her that we never could forget her. My baby kept asking for mawshi for many days after she left.
And we never could find a replacement for her. And never ever can find in future. We just wish her to come back!!!