You know I remember a time in the not so distant past when I was carefree. Those were the days, when my first thought after waking up was NOT whether the maid will come. I would wake up with happy thoughts of the lovely day ahead. AAh, the beauty and innocence of those days.
We were a Double Income No Kids (DINKS) couple then. A cook and a cleaner were more than enough and who cared if they didn’t turn up! A good opportunity to eat out and the house could wait another day before getting mopped! All that changed with our first baby. The first few months of the maternity leave were heavenly, and the two of us were enough for the baby’s needs. But we did realise that we will ultimately need some help. A year later, my parents moved in with us, and our needs increased. However, with a regular turnover of part time help and a crèche for my son, we managed. And then all hell broke loose, when I produced two more babies!! My battered body, older parents, hapless husband were no match for two demanding babies!! All the king’s horses and all the king’s men were not enough! (mind you, it is not simple maths with twins – the effort is not doubled it is probably quadrupled, or quintupled or maybe hundred-tupled – whatever).
What we needed was some good, solid household help. But in a country of more than a billion people, it seems like an elusive search. The twins are 19 months now and we have still not found our dream girl(s)! But so what – we might not have found HER, but what we do have is some priceless experience from the last few years.
We have of course learnt a lot about hiring part time maids – we figured it is better to hire two cooks – one for morning and one for evening (chances of both maids taking an off the same day are lesser and so at least one meal is ensured), split the other household work also in the same logic, hoping at least someone would turn up. If you have fixed with them to come at 11 a.m., try not to panic if they haven’t turned up by 1, because you see, time management is clearly not an appreciated value here. But of course be prepared, that 6 to 8 days a month, they actually might not turn up. And even if you do have 6 by 6 vision, it is best to turn a blind eye to that dirty spot behind the door or under the refrigerator door. Better to wait for the weekends and get it done in front of your eyes – though be prepared, that they may also decide to have the weekend off.
There was a time when agencies were cheap and honest (well at least some of them). Our first experience with an agency about ten years ago, led us to believe that this is a workable model. We realized our folly when one of the helps we hired left us on the pretext of a wedding exactly halfway through his contract (I realized later that this was one of the common scams); while another one literally ran away, because apparently she felt too hot in our house (we had only 1 A.C in our bedroom at that time – I assume it would have been a bit odd to invite her to sleep in our bedroom). After those fiascos, we decided to hire locally.
Once we hired this well dressed, bespectacled, seemingly respectable lady. We were fairly happy with her work (and thanking our stars) till we discovered Mr. Hyde behind Dr. Jekyll. We found out she had money disputes with her family and were horrified to hear her screaming matches on phone. Even our neighbours started to wonder what was wrong with us! We still managed for a year, till we discovered that she had falsely accused her husband of her own murder! We decided it was just safer to have a break up with her!
Oh and then there was this Mr. Perfect! A very highly efficient guy, who came home at dot 6 a.m. and did everything perfectly. We thought God is so kind till we discovered that he loved to take weekends off (which is when instead of resting, I ended up doing household chores). The last straw was when he cut his finger a bit and refused to turn up for about two weeks.
We also tried the straight from the village types, thinking they may be easier to mould and train (also cheaper) – but gave up quite quickly after realizing that training them was no piece of cake. Right from teaching them how to stand straight (and not lean on every wall), how not to clean dirty hands on the nearest curtain, how to sit on the western toilet, how to close the refrigerator properly and of course how to do the tasks they were hired for, we realized it is probably less stressful to do the work ourselves.
More recently we hired a Bengali lady (barely knows hindi as well as most of the housework) who also eats niramish (strictly vegetarian and no onion garlic) and that also became pretty nightmarish. Between having to explain multiple times to her what we wanted to get done, her slow speed and the three times separate cooking, we realized nothing was getting done. My mother was ending up looking after both the babies! We realized soon enough that this relationship was also not going to last.
And finally, I recently thought, I had found the ONE! A young girl, very pleasant, very nice with the babies, fairly efficient – what more could I ask for! This one was definitely a keeper! But god had something else in mind. My dream run lasted till I discovered that she had been robbing me behind my back! (chhann se jo toota koi sapna….)
And we are back to square one. But believe me when I say I am not promiscuous. I just haven’t found my dream girl. And I am not the only one. When a colleague told me that she went through some 20 to 30 maids in the last one year – I realized I am not alone. And I got strength. And I got hope. And I decided to restart my search with vigour.
And while you get some strength and inspiration from my words let me just go and clean my drawing room. You see another prospective “match” is coming to see (meet) me – please wish me luck that this time I get my dream.
Do like and share this post and tell me your stories too!
Sakshi ..loved this one too.
Your writeups make me smile.
Chaan se jo toota koi sapna..so typically our khandaan style ..filmy and appropriate…
Glad to discover that these traits have permeated in our next generation too.
Praying …You do get a CALM karne CALM rakhne waali baai
ha ha ha ha !!! Thanks so much!!
Loved the title dream girl . Really no one can match this naming idea of yours . Each word , each line can be correlated easily with our day to day life . indeed we can manage with shoddy in-laws , kids & husband but not our helpers
too good – we can manage with shoddy in laws, husbands and kids but not our helpers!! Thanks!
Interesting! You have to be very very lucky to get a good maid!
yes, and I haven’t got lucky yet!
Sakshi. This is so realistic yet full of humor. A must read. Keep writing.
I completely agree Sakshi! Apparently a book published recently “ maidless in Mumbai” has become a big hit.
yes, i heard about it too!
Your blog glued me, all the threads are well arranged and it took me to flashback when I was into the similar situation and believe me for some good 6 months me and my husband had done all household chores on our own… But it became self-pity for us then we finally hired two part timers. thier absence from life had made me patient and at times i try to blindfold myself 🙂
Thanks for sharing! Can’t imagine those 6 months!!
You had written “I wanted to start my search again” I read “research again”.. No less than research. I still feel a good business idea around is a still a brilliant idea .
The topic is so close to our heart that I forgot to mention that you again expressed it so beautiful and with perfect humour!!
ha ha true – this is a great business idea! and yes you and i have been in the same boat!!
Exactly my thoughts..I have shared this experience innumerable times with friends looking for helps. We are in the same boat:-)
[…] and thin – and maybe secretly happier that I am more like his shape now!! Well that aside, the maid situation has improved and just before I started to travel, I managed to get two good domestic helps – and […]
Oh wow, What a Story Sakshi. You had me hooked till the end. God bless you and your family.
Sakshi, you echoed my dilemma of searching the HELP . You blended it beautifully with hilarious takes. Truly, the maid in heaven is rare to find. Let me know if you finally found her. haha..
Ha ha well things have been much better since I wrote this post! And hopefully this will continue!
I can relate with many points, my experience was also not so good with maids so now I am managing all the chores by myself only, yes it is frustrating and tiring most of the time but I think this frustration is far better than those ones in which she called me one hour before that I will not come and I found myself in the stage of shock.
Hahaah! I feel you! Even the maid going on holiday is a real stress factor for me!!
OMG my heart goes out for you dear. Seriously hiring a maid is not easy. Love your writing style.
Funny post! 😀 By the way we dont have a maid out home and never even hired one. I dont know how my mom handles everything on her own. 😅
Haha! Do you have some great material for a novel here.. I am in the zone of turning a blind eye to shoddy work till I have time and hiring a maid just because she comes on time and takes minimum leaves
I do not know , laugh or cry on this truth because even i am bearing same painful story of calm wali bhai, my full-time maid went to her village for 20days and never return. It’s being 40days I turn out to be full-time maid now
This is hilarious. Even I can relate it too. Thanks for sharing.
hahaha! har ghar ki same kahani. You know i joke with my friends that it was easier to manage a house without any maids when we were living in sg even after karma was born and we had zero help than it is here with multiple part timers. Your post made me laugh because i felt i was discussing maid problems with friends. We all go through this!
Finding and keeping a maid is a punishment we ask for ourselves. My maid’s on vacation and the spare decided to not show up too. What to do!
I laughed through this post though. 😁
I could relate with your post so much buddy, hve been there know it all kinds and it truly is tougher than finding a perfect groom 😛😛
Ghar ghar ki kahaani…..I think nobody can get a perfect dream maid :))
hahah i could relate we were DINKS once and now i just like you i kept looking everywhere.
Ha ha that’s story of every house..I am tierd of searching good made .infact here their is big language issue..we can’t understand what we both say 🤐
Every one reading this post will find themselves in the situation, if not already. Haha very nicely writtem
omg ! i went through this 3 years ago. one after another, and still could not find the perfect. thank fully the one i have now is a good one.