Friday, November 14, 2008

Maid in Heaven

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.

25 comments:

Iya said...

True.. and there is another type that the north Indians face down south... the type that understands Hindi or English at their own convenience..

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Cynic,
What about the ones who would ask questions like
Aap shaadi kab kar rahe ho?

and hazaar such questions!
What about the hi-fi ones who even have cell phones and ask Aaapke paas Nokia charger hain? when she comes home?

-Nikhil

Nikhil Narayanan said...

they come home*

Reluctant Warrior said...

I have waited through some really dreadful bouts of incontinence for my jamadarni to finish just so because I knew if I made her wait, she would scream so much, I'd get an ulcer in my medula oblongata.

Damn women!! belonged to the bhainsa gang!! Could put a few japani sumos out of commission.

Used to finish a bottle of Harpic in 5 days. I was so sure she drank it that I filled a khalee bottle with some phenyl. She survived that too!!

manuscrypts said...

wow, so we've been lucky to get introverted souls? hmm

Cynic in Wonderland said...

iya - a variant of the convinient deafness syndrome everywhere eh? all of them suffer from it. But its two way street. Every time they ask for a raise, I also get inflicted with it.

nikhil - ah yus. but then you are a single eligible bachelor no? she might be a mata hari type who is er giving out lures to you. ever thought about that?
these days all of them have cell phones man. with fancy caller tunes at that. the jhaduwala at my old place has a cell which was hipper than mine. he also used to go to the parlour to get himself beautified - facials and eyebrows. the complete metrosexual man. urgh.

reluctant warrior.ah the harpic guzzlers - but i think irrespective of what type they are they all guzzle harpics. yours sounds positively scary though. bhains gang eh?

manu - VERY!

Amrita said...

Man, I just realized how awesome all my maids till date have been. I need to go buy a prezzie for my present one.

Rada said...

My wife filters out the Chammak Challo types first, irrespective of their other qualifications!

I have always wondered: "Now why should she do that?" :-)

a million different people said...

I hate the ones who don't talk, and also the ones who throw stuff without asking. :(

I had a maid who used to love her "liftick" and then she left on a bad note, so she told me "You didn't even have any lifticks I could take"! :(

Parul said...

Ahhh, now I miss Kalpana, the only hint of glamour and a social life in this dreary household.

shilpa said...

Hilarious..and so true!! Sigh that the spouse finding exercise seems like a breeze in comparison..!! But the right maid can make all the difference!!!Well not to forget the 'Lightfingered type'..the ones whose presence you remember once they have left..with your favourite shoe...

Soulmate said...

having lived in Pune, I know what you are trying to say.. Have had horrendous experience with maids there... the biggest problem was the communication. even if they knew hindi, they would speak in marathi pretending that they dont know hindi...

P said...

ha ha..sorry for laughing..but it's really funny when I have to only read this and not live this (no option of hiring maids here). My ma will be more sympathetic to you :)

Sud said...

yeah maids have made for some fun anecdotes.

I always wondered why they called me "baba", but the best was when they called my Gf "baby"!

AmitL said...

ROFL-Cyn,I never realized it,but,yes,the mad,I mean,maid mafia can be categorized in all these ways..:)In Baroda,it's the same..luckily,our building maids are of the multiple-personality types,which seem to be the safest of the lot.Even if they take a day off every 10 days or so.
So,which one was picked finally?

Cynic in Wonderland said...

amrita - do you mind swapping? no? ah well. worth the shot. if you have a good felli. Suggest you nazar utarofy her and all that.

rada - ah you wonder is it? actually she should hire them. watching the spouse climb up on walls to avoid the clutches of chammak challos can be a very edifying experience.

million different people. how utterly insensitive of you not to stock up for their flicking purposes. bad. bad. employer.

parul - you had a mata hari? tell tales.

shilpa - ah yus. the butterfingers variant. not come across those so far actually. but im guessing its not fun.

soulmate - biggest problem is attitude man. they come as if they are doing this huge favour to you.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

p - you lucky woman. you!

sud- baby eh? well count yourself lucky that her maid doesnt address you as mama or something.

amit - which one picked me you mean right? still struggling and juggling.

EggHe/\D said...

ROFL, rofl and ROfl. Well thats why we have never scouted for any maids for my 25 years of existence. But when that happens, in addition to the COO (never the CFO), the juniors have to contribute to the triple bottom line as well :).
Much fun came!! Lagey Raho !!

Pinku said...

wow!!!

lovely, you have them nicely categorised and everything...brilliant...and you just reminded me on a monday morning that my maid is leaving in a month's time to get married...and I have to hunt for a new one...darn!!!!

narendra shenoy said...

Enjoyed immensely! Apropos nothing, I just remembered this joke i heard somewhere about a neighbor telling this lady that her husband was sleeping with the maid.

"I know", says the lady, nodding her head sadly, "but that's the only way we can get her to stay"

Cynic in Wonderland said...

egghead - wait and watch. i avoided em for a great partof my life as well. and now i seem to be suffering for it.

pinku accept my condolences!

naren - heheh that is superb. we are all hostages to the domestic employees eh?

Nikhil Narayanan said...

@Narendra Shenoy
ROFL at your joke :))
-Nikhil

@Cynic
Don't scare me now.
Ya,did my maid wink at me the other day :O

-Nikhil

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Do you know of maids who are like your mothers? And frown at you for the mess in your room, advice you on whether you should keep your hair long or short and usually, its long?

And unfortunately, mothers like them and keep them and even reward them for supporting them.

Grace said...

omg..this is hilarious and totally true..though not so funny when ur the victim!

Mumbai Diva said...

AWESOME post!