Why India’s middle class feels the domestic maid has “literally bought us”

gated

Picture by Narendra Bisht, Outlook

India’s middle class is quick to stand up for the national anthem, rail against the “lal batti”, cry along with the families of martyred soldiers.

But ask about their domestic help — maid, servant, ayah, bai, guard, bhaiyya, didi — and a stony response is all you will get.

None of your business.

We take good care of them.

They’re better off with us than on the streets.

Finally, and this is the favorite in the post-Modi era: What is the alternative?

Truth be told, the middle class (which is a patently-false definition, for People Like Us (PLUs) are rich beyond belief in a poor country) treats its domestic help with contempt. It does not pay them enough. This staff often lives in abysmal, sub-human conditions. Women workers constantly face the risk of sexual abuse and rape. Leave of absence is given grudgingly — if at all.

Frankly, it is modern-day slavery.

But I can bet the Rajeev Chandrashekhar-funded TV channel, Republic, will not be taking up this issue at 9 pm whenever it launches.

That’s because, dear Arnab, The Nation Does Not Want To Know*.

But once in a while, you get a peek into the true behavior of people we call friends and family. Take a look at this thread from an email group from a residential complex in NCR. The subject line of this thread: “Maid Menace/ Offensive behaviour”

From: “PREETI
To: xxxxxxxxx@yahoogroups.com

Sent: Thursday, 20 April 2017 4:19 PM
Subject: Re: Maid Menace/ Offensive behaviour

Dear All,

Absolutely, the undermentioned issues need to be addressed and we all together have to attempt following a uniform Rate card structure. These Maids have understood the vulnerability and use our Weak point , they have literally bought us.

These same Maids behave themselves in the Apartments opposite ours Super MIG where for Cooking or other jobs they take Rates much lower than Silver City ATS or others in the vicinity. And behaviour is comparatively docile than at Silver City……

Also we have have to do something to break the nexus between the Maids and the Security Guard at each of the Towers. I have noticed often in the Morning and Evening the Maids flocking around their respective Tower Guard gossiping about what is happening at the Houses they work as well as grumbling about the Work or Money. To pass by and hear their conversation is unbearable.This way neither the Maids nor the Security Guard would carry out their Task/responsibility diligently and thats how they have the audacity to raise their voice or argue with us. At the Guard Meetings in the Morning/Evening 8 AM/PM the Instructor has to mention that NO Securty Guard will entertain Maids around them otherwise a strict action will be taken.

We can’t stop gossiping thats universal !!! But we can definitely take stern action disallowing Maids to hang around the Tower guard . Finish work and Move nobody to be seen around/below near the Lift .

Also a key issue I need to mention as that is disgraceful to all of us decently educated !!!! I had a Temporary Maid , since some time she was complaining to me about some House which did not pay up to her at the Month end, I think it had crossed 10 days over the Month.One fine day she laughed out telling me that she went and complained to the RWA Office about that particular House which did not pay her timely.This is how her tone was look at the audacity. I believe RWA called up that respective House and spoke to whoever OWner of that House to pay up her Money.While she was standing and hearing out all this. She said Rich people staying in Big Houses are not able to pay our Money !!!!!!

The Financially weaker Lots Maids etc why must we take their Curses or How dare they go up to the RWA Office to complain about Us , dont we all have some SELF RESPECT !!!! That is how they also have Guts to answer back. WE all must also fix up a Date by which we must pay up their Dues for the Month . Anyway its unfair if we can stay in Silver City and Pay HOme Loans for the House or Rents …. I am sure we can pay the meagre amounts due to these Servants !!!!!!!

Thanks
Preeti
Tower

——————————————–

On Thu, 4/20/17, kriti2126 wrote:

Subject: Re: Maid Menace/ Offensive behaviour
To: xxxxxxx@yahoogroups.com

Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6:48 AM

+1 There should be a
formal rate card and decided number of leaves.

On 20-Apr-2017, at 12:10 PM, Shefali
wrote:

Dear All,
I am at Silver city for over a
year. Both my maids proceeded on leave therefore my
observations from recent maid interactions bring forth some
observations
1. Some
maids are fearless & obnoxious as they know that there
is no rwa committee to take any action against them. (One
maid Rita who is a cook, even her husband Lalit cooks in
this society, dared me to complain saying that she is not
scared of anyone here)
2. They demand any amount of money
at will, citing rate increase by residents.
3. Demand any number of leaves
citing that other residents offer 3-4 days. If they take
more leaves they blatantly ask for deducting from salary.
The inconvenience caused to the resident is not regretted.
Leaves may also be abrubt.
I was at Bestec Parkview Gurgaon,
after facing such issues the rwa constituted a formal rate
card and a basic mannerism protocol for unskilled
staff.
The absence
of a deterrent or punishment is a open invitation for
perversity. Silver City SHOULD have a mechanism for
redressal of complaints and guidelines for the maids working
here.
RegardsShefali

 

Feeling angry? Well, I am. These are the same people who complain that India needs to move faster, and that a dictator would “speed things up”.

Think about that.

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