Managing maids

We were suddenly projected to being upper middle class from middle class when we acquired a big house. It was essential for us to have more than one maid as my wife had had major surgeries in the past and was badly in need of assistance.

Wife being a great enthusiast of cricket has nicknamed our two maids as Opening maid (OM) and Tail ender maid (TEM). This comes in handy when we have to discuss some issues about them when they are present.

We will never know when OM has entered the house. She comes like a ghost and suddenly you come across her sweeping the house. She does not speak to the other maids on the roads and exchange gossip. She is very prompt and reliable. Many a time she has checked the pockets of our clothes kept for washing and returned wet currency to wife.

TEM is the cell phone toting kind and always enters the house while speaking loudly. She had earlier worked in a beauty parlour and has great plans of having her own some time in the future. Once a month, she will convince wife for a pedicure and buy a nail polish of her own choice. After applying, the remaining polish, however, is knocked away by her.

She often returns home carrying vegetables/ provisions with a slip of paper, slightly larger than a postal stamp, with figures written in a blunt pencil the cost of each item she has purchased and knocks off some change. Once she crosses the limit of helping herself to Rs 10 or more, wife clamps down on her shopping. This is her way of keeping TEM under control.

Other than this, wife does not control them with an iron hand. Instead, through her great sense of humour and by gifting ‘not-much-used’ saris generously (it is scary sometimes when both wear wife’s saris roaming around the house), she has created a good bonding among the three.

It is quite common for peals of laughter emanating from the kitchen often, when all three of them are there. I plead with wife after the maids leave and ask her to tell me about the ‘jokes’ of the day. One more ‘Maid Retention Technique’ of hers.

The other day I noticed all of them laughing uncontrollably, bringing the house down and TEM was holding her stomach and rolling on the floor with tears in her eyes at the ‘best joke’ of the day.

I was waiting for wife to narrate as usual. She said she cannot reveal this particular one to me. I said “I am your husband and you have shared the naughtiest of jokes all these days, so why not this?”. She refused with one word, “Sorry”. Were they talking about me and my thin scrawny legs? I will never know.

Anyway ‘Long live the maids of the world.’  By the way, is there a World Maids day?

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