Ever since I had the baby, my life and world have been transformed in some very incredible ways! I have had to deal and work with multiple life changes, one of them being dealing with domestic help. Before the baby, I just had one maid who would come in and do the basic cleaning. After the baby, I had to employ another maid who would do the cooking, helping with the baby, and other household chores. And having the second maid, while it’s a major blessing, is also a pain in the you know where!
Now I have to manage the baby, the house, and the two maids! But that’s not the bad part. I have had a rude awakening to the politics and drama of hiring maids in 21st century Mumbai, where the demand for maids are so high and the supply is beginning to dwindle. Beginning to dwindle because a lot more of the older maids are aggressively educating their children, wanting them to not continue in the same line of profession. Dwindling also because, maids are now marrying into families where the husband (even if he is from a lower class), can still put food on the table and a roof over his family’s head. Thus, the generation of maids that I grew up with, who were loyal, faithful, hard working, and ethical, are now only a rarity. The maids of today, are mostly entitled, aloof, arrogant, and sometimes even outright obnoxious. For example, I had a maid, last year, who had the audacity to accuse me of talking on the phone, in my own house, when I called her out on her being on the phone multiple times in the day, because of which her work was suffering. My jaw dropped when she opened her mouth to say that I had no right to tell her off, when I am talking on the phone. I got rid of her, the very same day. Another maid I called, to inquire if she was interested in working for me, outright told me, “I don’t work for Indians, only for foreigner families.”
Finding the right maid, is like finding a diamond in the rough. It’s a process of trial and error, and it’s not an easy process. In the last one month, I have had to look for a maid, after firing the cocky one. It’s been a nightmare. When my grandmother asked me how the interviewing was going with the maids, i retorted with the response, “It does not look like I am interviewing them, they are interviewing me!” And I am not kidding; they want to know what holidays they will get off, what paid time off they have, when can they expect a bonus, what other perks will they get…..it’s amazing how the tables have turned, and how today’s Mumbai maids are calling the shots.
This is one of the sad and painful realities of life in Mumbai. While having two maids may sound glamorous and exciting, the average Mumbaiker is constantly faced with the agony of dealing and managing maids……and if you have more than one, the internal politics is another layer of complexity to deal with…..that story for another day!