Friday, 3 June 2011

House work- Mai bhi raani, tu bhi raani kaun bharega paani?

This was actually something I heard my Orthopaedic professor in Lady Hardinge Medical College, mutter under his breath, in the operating theatre when faced with lack of sterile equipment for his operation. He was referring to the theatre nursing staff and was generally disgruntled by the fact that there were so many nurses, yet none seemed competent for the job.

However, it seems a very appropriate and timeless saying about housework. I have witnessed major wars being played out in the home between mom-in-law and daughter-in-law, between sisters-in-law, between spouses, between friends or cousins staying together and so on. Somebody always begrudgingly does more or believes he or she does more until the percieved imbalance starts putting a strain on the relationship. For most people, doing housework is a thankless and endless job which has little to show for itself.

A lot of people on the other hand, will find cleaning quite therapeutic, decorating a matter of pride, cooking a pleasure and housework in general, a part of life.

I remember regularly meeting a colleague of mine on the steps of my flat as he made trips to and from his home at lunch time to have home cooked Indian food prepared and served hot by his dear wife everyday. I said to him once- "Wish I too had a wife."

Honestly, with a preschooler at home I used to struggle to find time for anything and would have liked someone to cook and serve me a meal, at least once in a while....

Going back to India and having live in help, made my wish come true. My live in help was a very clean and efficient lady, who loved my children and was an excellent cook. I remember her often, but my husband remembers her more. Domestic help is often cited as a reason people want to stay or move back to India.

I have been reminded often by my dear husband about the concept of two types of people in this world- the one half who do the work and the other half who get the work done. To me it is quite clear which half do the house work!!!???

So I have been told I don't need to do it, just need to know how to get it done. Unfortunately, my year long stay in Bahrain saw the biggest turnover of maids in my life and has made me run miles from any live in help in the house.

So any such suggestions about hiring live in help were met with a very grumpy, argumentative, suspicious and stubborn me.

However, circumstances prevailed and I had to give in. My Egyptian colleague, while betraying his own fantasies, did warn me against hiring a long legged blonde beauty to stay home while I was at work, but I had no option.

I registered (paid money to) on a au pair website to find an aupair ( meaning- on equal terms in French). Soon, I was corresponding on email to this pretty young woman (I made sure she was dark haired) who then arrived at midnight from Spain. We had no problem recognizing each other as we had exchanged photographs on email and I was soon showing her the high street in our little town. I thought she was very smart with directions until she said she had seen the house, roads and the high street on google earth. Wonder what would happen to the world without google.

Life has been relaxed with her around, contrary to my own expectations. She has been teaching French, looking for a disco, booking an English course amongst other things, while I remain a suspicious spoilt sport, but who knows I might just get used to the idea of getting work done, rather than doing it.....? Sounds too good to be true!


Anonymous said...

Zaroor pichle janam me punya kamaya hoga jo aisi HELPER milee

brightspark said...

I agree

Anonymous said...

Any routine task can still be a pleasure when you are appreciated for it(human nature?). and obviously daily housework chores/cooking etc is so much 'expected' from Indian women that it is generally taken for granted that it is their sole responsibility. Have the Gender roles changed? Nah.. women just have expanded their roles; Ghar ke andar + Ghar ke bahar! The problem is the age-old (convenient)culture + womens' guity conscious. I always told my mother, for at least 1 day in the month, do nothing, take a day off, just relax. But she could never do it. But now I am planning to act on my own advice:)Oh,once a week sounds even better!
As for your new companion, enjoy the British summer with her, as much as you can, with a neutral mind!

brightspark said...

Appreciation! Key word indeed!