Domestic issues

My house is run by a bevy of female domestics and this has played havoc with my routine.

The state government recently issued guidelines for recommended wages to domestic helps. I am afraid, the mandarins in the secretariat were ignorant of the ground situation when they fixed a rate of Rs 224 per eight hour day. This constituted all kinds of work including taking care of a child. I reckon they did not consult any housewife before making the decision.

For several years, we had one maidservant who practically handled all activities of the house. Unfortunately, she pushed her luck a bit too much with her boss – my wife – which resulted in her being given the pink slip. Since then, my house has been overrun by a bevy of female domestics. We have a 24-hour maid, a morning maid, an evening maid and a cook. Obviously, this has played havoc with my routine and I have been confined to my study most of the time.

A couple of months back when my wife and I were on an extended holiday in London, politics reared its ugly head in a so far peaceful household. Thanks to her superior designation, the cook had become the self-appointed head of the worker clan and had begun giving the general work orders. Somewhere down the line, the morning and evening maids seemed to have had a conflict-of-duties disagreement that simmered till our return

 The morning’s help who had had her lunch at our place for the last two years, seemed to suddenly develop a dislike for our cook’s creations and decided to eat at her afternoon employer’s house. 

On returning, we could sense coolness in the overall atmosphere of our employees. Panicking at the situation, my wife followed an age old corporate formula and declared a ‘loyalty bonus’ to all of them, plus some gifts from London. Peace reigned after that.That men in our family have problems with domestics also has a historical perspective. After my father retired from service and settled down in Mysore, there was a need for a cook. Based on a recommendation, an old lady came on board.

Unfortunately, she happened to have served in my father’s household when he was still a youngster. She took this old connection rather seriously and made herself at home, including having her afternoon siesta on our drawing room couch. However, what bugged my father was her regular commentary to my mother about the episodes from his younger days. At an opportune moment, he found a valid excuse and packed her off.

My wife is always on tenterhooks over when one of our staff will defect, as there is a big demand for maids in our apartment complex and cases of poaching with enhanced lucre are quite common. Further, she may need to find a substitute for our morning maid who has recently got hitched to a guy whom she claims is a ‘parantha expert’.

In this nebulous situation, as the sole male member in a household of seven, domestics included, the only loyal associate I have, is my computer. And somehow, we manage to go through the day.

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