After the extremely harrowing and ulcer-generating task of shifting was done, the next big thing was the hiring of the maids. Actually, if I had had my way I would have hired them before we shifted (it would have saved me the washing dishes and (hand) washing clothes which I had to do – shameless sympathy fishing here, please oblige).
So anyways we got here and then I set the domestic-supply grapevine in motion to get all those random people needed as a support system to keep the house the right side up (viz. the maid, the cook-types, the istri-wala, the milkman, the newspaper-wala, the cable-guy and some more walas who I can’t recall right now. If I ever decide to shift again, someone please copy this paragraph and spam my mailbox with it yes?).
Then the domestic supply pipe started gushing. Candidates started coming and ringing the doorbells. At that point in time, both my Ma and the MIL were at home (and I typically was at work). So the first round of HR-type interview happened at this level. This resulted in the candidates being told to come at X time to meet the reluctant COO (viz. me) and the CFO (viz. the spouse). The CFO as is the habit of all CFO’s, managed to sneak out of the whole process with the silly excuse that since he was paying, he was damned if he was going to manage them too.
And as usual the COO is left holding the wotchamacallitthatoneisleftholding?
So at about six thirty- seven in the morning the door bell rings– I sleepwalk and open the door. And I see various types of maids in all shapes and sizes to whom I stutter out questions about geographical eligibility, previous experience and core competencies. After a few weeks of this, I have come to the conclusion that they can be classified thus.
There is the Mata Hari types (also known as Chammak Challo). Multi-hued sari, betel juice stained pouty lips, swaying hips, long hair, tinkling bangles and anklets.
One specimen that comes seeking employment at my house looks like she will eat me for breakfast. She is also eyeing S rather lecherously and appears like she might make a pass at the man of the house (almost worth getting up in the morning to see this bit). I whisper the same to him.
S, very nervously, tells me not to hire her “I wouldn’t know what to do if she hits on me”
I wouldn’t know what to do if she hits on him either – but I rather suspect it will be untimely, un-wifely levity rather than righteous anger and melodrama. (That’s what happened the last time a maid hit on S. Though, when the same lady made a pass at me – it got a bit confusing– incestuous almost. We (S&I) spent some fulfilling and productive time debating about which of us she desired more.)
The second types are the members of the Maid Mafia. These operate in gangs and there are rival gangs. If you have multiple employees you need to make sure they are not from opposing gangs because that is a sure-shot way of getting caught in the crossfire . The Chandan nagar gang for instance thinks very poorly of the Yerwada gang and their working style and vice versa.
So anyways, one opens the door to see three or four standing at the door staring belligerently at one. The Don (Doness?) fires all the questions in a staccato manner which is quite intimidating. How much money. How much work. What time. Who all is at home? Suddenly one feels transformed from the COO to the person who is giving hafta. Usually the most timid of the gang is the one who eventually ends up working – but the bodyguards (big, muscular ladies these) come to ensure that there is er.. no dirty business ( pun unintended) is done.
Then there is the Maid Nazi. This is the one who has a SYSTEM in place. Things need to be done in exactly HER system. All one’s entreaties and habits are promptly thrown out of the window. My way or the highway she declares grandly. This is rather confusing considering the fact that she is the one who comes into one’s house.
Then there is a Multiple-personality dame. Efficient yes, but with a highly exaggerated sense of her own abilities – will commit the same time slot to two different employers and causes a great deal of confusion therefore. Eventually she ends up doing some sort of musical chairs with the two households.
The result of all this negotiations and cogitations is a domestically harassed Cynic. I have come to the profound conclusion that getting a half decent maid, is significantly more difficult and fraught with hassle than finding the right partner. If a prospective spouse throws attitude one can always walk away after all. It needs much more courage to walk away from a maid (as with the famous (?) Ugamma).
Also, one doesnt have to pay the spouse.
So much for the “WHY do I need to know cooking and housework? Ill simply hire a maid”
Coming back to bite me. Sigh.