Domestic pain

Before the maid malady spirals out of control, the whip should be cracked on the wily brokers.

Agencies or brokers, are the ones who procure maids and other domestic staff on commission basis. They generally sweet talk the employer and employee into an unwritten contract, which is none too beneficial to anyone, but the broker.

An innocent woman usually from a village, is brought as a prospective candidate. She nods in acquiescence to every possible skill the broker professes she has. Her native intelligence has understood only the rich pay packet promised at the end of the month. She commits to a year’s tenure to the household. The broker leaves with his commission of a month’s salary, an amount hiked to suit, not the job or the efficiency of the candidate, but his wily scheming ways.

In a few days, you will find she knows nothing. She marvels as the gas flame comes to light. The whistle from the milk cooker scares her. The microwave fascinates her because the turntable turns! Wow! That’s when you know you’ve been had! It’s okay you try your best to teach her, she loves your curries, and the clothes you wear. There is an earnest desire to be like you some day.

Then as a week goes by, her eyes eagerly look outside the window, for those bucolic pastures, the grazing bovines and the distant echoing of loved and familiar voices... “Amma I need to go to the village!” she tears up. It’s the most inopportune time. You have scheduled a meeting, you have invited people over... “Amma I need to go to the village!” she begins to despair. You understand her agony; you let her go, much to the chagrin of rearranging the schedules or overworking for the prearranged occasion.
The woman never returns. The broker is unreachable. Realisation dawns, you’ve been cheated. The girl was innocent and could not cope so she left, fair enough. But the brokerage paid sees no replacement. The broker is happy with his shoddy work and the booty from it because he doesn’t care about the woman or you. It’s his way of making a living.

The same guy will remove well grooved maids from houses just so he gains a commission. He destabilises households because he has found a new way of earning without hardship. But for the paucity of domestic help we endure all this much to the delight of the broker, who does not in any way make life easier for the maids or for the employer. In fact they are tenacious; they assure candidature without even knowing where they come from. They recommend without verifying their character.

I think the police should crack down on these brokers, because even if we are not the type to employ through them, they take away tested maids and mislead them. Some innocent village girls get stuck in employment because they are scared to leave the job fearing the broker’s wrath. You are a good person and hence the maid is safe, but it’s not always the case if it goes to inhuman proportions. So I think the authorities should step in and take note of today’s social malady, which will be tomorrow’s scam embarrassing the country on the international forum.

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