It’s a social responsibility here – as in all developing nations – I can afford to have someone wash the floors, do the ironing and cook for me sometimes. It’s nice, and having fresh cooked food in the fridge makes the whole working from home ‘oh I’ll just snack on this ancient bag of crisps I found in the cupboard’ a thing of the past. There is a steady supply of fresh homemade food in the fridge. Which is lovely. Repetitive, as her repertoire is limited, but lovely none the less.
It did take me quite a long time to call her a maid – I referred to her as my cleaner for ages. I was much more comfortable with that term, it sounded less spoiled. Although I didn’t have one myself, many of my friends in London had a cleaner come in once a week. So it seemed more normal.
But as Sudha now does the cooking, and she refers to herself as a maid, well I’ve given in and call her a maid as well.
However, I was less comfortable with a knock at the door from the security bloke for our housing complex who wanted a word with her about ID having expired. I opened the door, which in itself made him look a little stricken (why are you doing that yourself madam? was written all over his face). So once he’d collected himself, (small head bobble, gentle touch of the knot of his tie, another head bobble) he asked very politely if he could have a word with my servant.
I mean yes, she is – gulp – technically she is my servant. She comes twice a week and cooks, cleans and irons. Yes the word in English would be servant. But for me it is loaded with colonialisms, Victorianisms and a whole array of things that made my good working class Irish upbringing rise up and try and throttle me with shame.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not read more about my ongoing maid issues here:
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