And they do have a point – I spend a lot of time whinging about her.
So why keep her then?
And this is a little difficult to explain in the West: though it makes perfect sense in India.
You see – although she’s crap at dusting – she’s honest. And that means a lot. I never have to worry if my jewellery will be there when I get home.
She turns up on time (well mostly) and she reads English. This last is the really amazing bit. It means I can text her the food I want her to buy and it magically arrives in my kitchen with no effort at all on my part.
If I’m lucky it also magically washes itself, chops itself and flys into the fridge to await me nibbling on it. As I work from home, there are times when my legs could atrophy completely and I’d not really notice as food would still magically appear in the house.
Maids that read English are very rare. She not only reads it, she’s actually better at reading than understanding my spoken English. Often if we’re trying to get a specific point across she’ll ask me to text it to her so she can understand.
Also she is, frankly, a very pleasant person. Sure she’s shiftless and lazy, but she’s not going to steal things while I’m away and although she’s really lazy at housework, she does have a way with grapes.
And not just grapes, she enjoys cooking. Though right enough she’s not that inspired a cook. But she does it well and I now use her as a sort of sous chef – she washes the spinach leaves I eat daily in my raw smoothies, she picks all the mint leaves off the stalk for me so that I don’t have to face the tedium of that myself and she grates endless carrots and beetroot. And for me that’s just brill.
Sure, she’s lazy and only does exactly what I ask her. And if I ask her this week to do something, she’s sure as hell not going to do it automatically next week. But she’s kind, pleasant and since her husband died… well times are a bit harder for her and I’m going to keep her around.
I don’t have a great deal of choice morally, but there you go. More of that awful tale about how her husband died next week. India can be heartbreakingly tragic sometimes.
This is one of many posts about my maid, Sudha. You’d think I’d have grown tired of them – but somehow locked in a domestic battle with her, dust and me working from home… we have endless material. Read more about it here:
As ever, do please share your thoughts in the comments below.