Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The silver line

Bang on 8, she knocks at the door. For a reason unfigurable, she has never used the doorbell. And for a different reason altogether, she has never been late. Introducing Jaya, our domestic help, role model for multitasking and an icon in time management.


Jayamma's day starts ticking at 4 am (ouch) when she rises to offer prayers, cook for a family of four and attend to a household whose keepers leave for work by 7am. She then hurries back home, gets her kids ready for school and does not turn her back on them till they are well inside the school gate. When ridiculed of being overprotective of a 10 year old and a 12 year old, she replies, 'If they skip school, they will also be washing and sweeping like me, Amma.'


Past noon, Jaya goes home for a frugal lunch, having attended to not less than four households, followed by a siesta. Confirming her children return home on time, she insists on them completing school work before play and watches over them not wandering away in bad company. But her true woes begin after dusk when her slob of a husband returns home to beat her up and grab a greater part of the couple of thousands she makes a month. The meager remainder post thrashing manages family expenses and should also be saved to realize Jaya's dream of sending her kids to college. Owing to the inavailability of cheap liquor due to the Government-imposed ban, poor Jaya is fleeced more than ever for money which her husband places on gamble, only to afford branded liquor. Talk about investments.


However, despite being a victim of multi-dimensional harassment (all of which is too long to describe, even for an epic of woe), Jaya goes about her business as usual, pretending all is well with the world, humming a catchy Tamil number as she mops the floor clean. When asked why she has been looking peaky for a while now, she replies, 'I have stopped resting in the afternoon, Amma. The Malayali lady from the next road is teaching us to read and write. I am going there.'

12 comments:

nakul said...

where's the lawn post? coming to this one.. a good account of the unsung millions who fight it out in their daily lives... and don't make much of a hullabaloo abt it...[they always see the light at the end of the tunnel...] Hope her children realize her efforts and support her in her evening of life...

Akshata said...

Deleted the lawn post by mistake. will put it back on. And thanks, I hope for the same too. :)

Kryptx?? said...

:| A common problem.....
But, Who is to blame???

Arjun Bharadwaj said...

I agree with kryptx..........

Akshata said...

But who is kryptx?

Karry said...

Ah, yet another introspective(?) piece. I might be an advocate of "Dont see the poor and feel rich", but I cant help but say - for all those who complain of not having enough money for a smoke inspite of getting a grand per week from their parents, for all those who complain of not having a nice bike to go to college, for all those who make a face when they are asked to wash their own plates - look and learn. She is probably working harder than many IT professionals around, but who recognizes what she does?

If only the country had dignity of labor.
But then, why am I looking at dignity of labor in a country of people who sometimes have no dignity?

the cloud with the bronze lining said...

nice blog.. rock on.. n visit mine sumtime too

Chaitanya said...

Can't help. Its their 'hane-baraha'. We can name a few hundreds of people who are in the positions they don't deserve to be in today..

i Mind G said...

we can only decide one is if one is privileged or not based on our experiences which we have gained with time. Same way other person who is watching us might have similar line thought about us, which, for us, its a way of life.

well written! we get motivated by seeing other's view about life.

Luke Wanderer said...

[quote]

for all those who complain of not having enough money for a smoke inspite of getting a grand per week from their parents, for all those who complain of not having a nice bike to go to college, for all those who make a face when they are asked to wash their own plates - look and learn. She is probably working harder than many IT professionals around, but who recognizes what she does?

[/quote]

If only they could understand that. One of the paradoxes of life.

But as kyyptx said "Who is to blame?". The lady, the husband or us (as a society).

kavya said...

"Who is to blame?", they ask.For starters, the population is to blame. Families under the poverty line somehow keep expanding in size. And they act like the sky fell on their head if they end up with a daughter,instead of a son. Whether they manage 2 meals a day or not, doesn't steer them to use contraceptives. And then, there's another big vice called 'illiteracy'. "oh, she is a girl, why educate her, she'll be going to her husband's place anyway".Yeah, right, and that so-called husband gets drunk and thrashes her up every day, and this woman is imprisoned for life, as she has nowhere else to go. And thus the vicious circle continues. You think there's an end to this? I think not...at least not one in the vicinity.

fanatika said...

So simple, life.
Yet..