Apart from being a mere domestic help, maids in India play myriad roles.
The chief one being the unofficial communication channel between women of a particular locality. This unorganized and apparently rag-tag channel is infact better and faster than most of the other traditional medium. Even the breaking-news-by-the-minute tv stations. In fact, more than mere messengers, these maids are like clearing houses for all the gossip. It also helps that these maids often come with life time warranty and terrabytes of gossip storage capacity. They can store specific pieces of gossips for decades and retrieve it at any later date with an uncanny ease. You can nudge them on shoulders and drop unconnected word and they would weave a story around it. The impact they have had on the peace deserves some gallantry award. At times, its this intervention of maids that has prevented those intra-locality battles.
Then, these maids often serve as advisers to our housewives. Ask them about cheapest grocery store around, ways to clean those ziddi daags, projection of gold prices over the next ten years, plots of ANY of those million saas bahu soaps (where the story, the richness and fancy clothing remains the same), reasons for corruption in India, spat between Ambani brothers, performance of Dhoni and his boys (and grown up men) in the test series against England and all other things that a woman of substance should be knowing.
Coming closer to home, all those times when you thought that your wife made that extra spicy gravy, the way you like it, it is your maid at play. Every time you spill that gravy on the cushions, and you thought your daadi maa ka nuskha shall clean it, its the maid. She is the one that ensures that your pot is clean. She is the one to wipe and dust those shiny surfaces that you otherwise know as television, ref, music system etc. She is the one who would more often than not carry your letters (if you still get those) up to your place. She is like that invisible hand that you always wished you had!
Of course our dear maid is one those those unsung heroes who end up remaining anonymous, not because their contributions are miniscule, but because they always work under the shadows of larger, more powerful allies. Its time we give them their rightful share of respect that they have always deserved. Lets stand for them. Lets do that candle night vigil, that walk to Jantar Mantar. Any anna's, bedi's, political parties want to take lead?
This is day 14 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
Once upon a time, I used to be an account planner with an advertising agency. I may have actually used this as a briefing document for the creative team. Gosh, I miss those days!