Rashi – Main protagonist, Sameer – Husband, Vikas – Boss, Amrita – secretary, Mehak– elder daughter, Muskan –younger kid
My world fell apart….I could not believe it! She had just walked out on me……..How could she, how could she do this to me! We had shared some of the most beautiful moments of our lives together. She had been at my side through good times and bad times…..Always my closest friend and confidant. Oh! Why was this happening to me! I can’t bear the pain and the desolation!
The day had begun beautifully, though as I reminisce, I do remember a weird feeling in the morning that sort of warned me of impending disaster, but such is life and its travails.
It had felt like a very good morning, the breeze was gentle and I could hear the chirping of the birds in my balcony. I had felt rejuvenated by the warm sun rays, filtered by the leaves of the nearby tree, not too warm, not too cold just right, brushing my skin as it seem to climb about, slowly increasing its intensity for the day. I could see the sky was clear. Oh what a day, I had wondered and maybe we can get a few more of these!
If only I could get a cup of chai, I thought! But not to worry, later I would get it surely for sure, in peace, once I have finished my daily routine, but it was not meant to be as I had just found out.
As usual, I was packing our lunches for the office, when I noticed that a frightfully expensive cake that I had bought for today’s dinner was missing. All I did was to ask her if she knew what happened with it. That’s all, a simple question. All hell broke loose thereafter.
Mehak, my 14 year old, mentioned she had seen Kantabai helping herself and polishing off a wholesome piece. Before I could say anything Kantabai started shouting & crying, stating that we always accuse her for anything that goes missing, she cannot live with this kind of distrust.
So what if I have taken a piece of the cake,am I not part of the family, everyone is entitled to some benefits and rights, don’t you think so?
And before I could utter a word she dropped her bomb
“Bhabhiji, I’m leaving, am going and packing my stuff right away, please keep my wages ready!”& she walked into her room slamming the doors.
I kept trying to plead with her to at least have a dialogue; but couldn’t get a word through in between her continuous rambling. I knew from past experience that there is no going back, she would not stay. Yet, hoping against hope I pleaded with her, I promised to increase her wages but she was adamant,
“No, Bhabhiji, enough is enough, I cannot take this kind of insult. How can this little chit of a girl (pointing to Mehak) spy over me!!”
I looked at Mehak pleadingly; conveying my distress with my eyes beseeching her to apologize to Kantabai, but that indeed was too much to expect; a teenager apologizing to a maid because the she had caught the maid red handed!
I tried to hold on to her under another camouflage;
You still owed me 1000 rupees from the last advance over and above this month’s wages so I am not giving you a penny. You’ll have to return the 1000 Rs before I can let you go.
She promptly took that money out & gave it to me. I was aghast, all my tricks were turning out to be ineffective. Interestingly just last night she had pleaded with me that she desperately needed 200 bucks as she had to buy some clothes and she had send all her money home!
Anyways, no point in bringing that up now, it wouldn’t make her stay back! So, I had to let her go then. The catastrophe had struck. I knew I should not give in to despair as I veered around to the no maid scenario.
I looked around, the house was a mess. Muskan, my 7 year old, had left all her paintings strewn all over the place. The paint marks all over the ground did not make it any better, and a sense of despondency started to creep in. I had almost started breaking down. But then I realized its past 7 am, & my kids van would be coming in any moment now. Before attending to the vibrant landscape I needed to send my kids to school. Quickly I packed them off and sat down to gather my breath, or what was left of it.
That’s when it hit me! Oh my God!! I am without a maid. No one is going to clean my house for me, no one is going to make tea for me when I come from office, no one to attend to my kids when they come home. Oh my God!! I have to go through this all over again; the hunt for a suitable maid needs to start RIGHT NOW! & then I howled. I howled as if my heart will burst open, I cried as if this is the end of the world for me; which in a way it was.
I remembered a mail chain that I had read a few days back & laughed at “Women in India die of two things; one if they have – AIDS, one if they do not have – MAIDS” but this time I could not laugh at this.
I howled even more loudly. Sameer knew trying to console me would lead to BIG quarrels. Nothing he could say, nothing whatsoever, would comfort me. He knew its best for him to keep out of it at this moment. Maybe after a couple of days when I was a little more amenable to listen will he come up with suggestions. Till then, the best way to comfort me, he knew, was to start finishing some of the tasks left unattended, quietly in other room(s) and kitchen.