Utilities & More
One day our beloved maid doesn't show up in the morning or our maid has extended her annual trip and will be away for an extra 5 days and thats it!!! All hell breaks loose. Its worse than being hit by a Tsunami or meeting with a head-on car crash.O god!!! Any punishment is good but not this. Such is the glum state of affairs..our lives depend on our lifelines, yes you read it right, our lifelines.
Cut to the Millennium City....hocus-pocus and voila what do we have??? Not one decent maid in sight...But isn't demand more than the supply???Yes Yes Yes but this is Gurgaon...If you have an average live-in maid/servant/cook...you are fortunate and blessed by the gods ( Say a prayer).
There is a huge demand and there is an even bigger supply but why the problem? The issue lies with our lifestyles and how we are super pressed for time and getting more and more dependent on our helps and this throws up various issues. In some cases, the work force is not competent enough and simply won't be able to learn her
KPIs and shrink work cause she knows there are 249 more homes waiting for her in your condo. In some cases, there are instances of fraud/cheating/hitting and manhandling kids and elders and so off they go from your house. Lets be honest!!! Most of the maids don't care two hoots about our wailing kid or our dog peeing on the carpet.They know that they are indispensable and in most cases get away with murder.There is however the flip side. Many a times we find stories in the leading dailies about the atrocities met out to the young and at times underage workforce and the torture they face. God bless these brave souls who at times are miles away from family and going through the worst ordeal.Poaching
If you are "the lucky one" to have a decent worker, BEWARE!!!The neighbour aunty or the sabjiwala has minimum 5 offers for her to be enticed with. So, you painstakingly get someone in and get her familiar with the jobs at hand but tomorrow someone will offer her Rs. 1000 more and off they go!!!
Some have become so smart that they want hikes on a monthly basis and eventually will leave as you will put your foot down. We cant even discuss the part timers here...if you have one sticking around, it means she hasn't been poached as yet!!! Usually, the average lifespan of a decent maid is about 4 months.MIA
You see the end of the maids when they go on their annual "Pilgrimage" leave to their hometown. Most don't come back to the city and if they do, you already have kept someone as you don't know when will they be back (if at all they plan to come back to you!)And if they are back, suddenly there is a fierce inflation in the wages demanded.
I had my first taste of horror when I realised my cook and cleaner suddenly had chicken pox during pooja time. I was so gullible that I paid them a months extra wage only to learn later on that they had pushed off to Calcutta for Pujo!!!I was oblivious to the sniggers of the other maids and was perhaps the laughing stock of the town. We can't control their choices and decisions and its is only our poojas and numerous totkas that can appease the Rekhas and Shampas of Gurgaon.
The very reason one enlists the services of a domestic placement agency (a self coined term) is to have some professionalism on board, smooth functioning of the basic model, accountability and hassle free replacements/monitoring. Sadly, there are huge issues faced by members as most of the agents don't even tick one of the above mentioned service and are out to con people and run away with the commission. The commission varies from 25k to 40k across the agencies and every other day one hears of the maid running away post commission being transferred or no replacement post 3 maids and the same workforce is rotated in another household.
Even if we know we are going to be cheated, we are so desperate that we still go ahead. Who will take care of our XYZ chores if not for them.The agents change names/sim cards/agency name too and start afresh in a different locality and start all over again. Some agents send long dockets over email with T&Cs and Whatsapp maid pictures to you. Way to go!!! Good to see technology helping them become smarter but it would be awesome if these were used to enhance the skill sets and provide basic training and standardise salaries.
We need to all come together and help each other out. Refer-a-Maid, a Facebook group aims at spreading numbers of workforce looking at possible employers and vice versa.Women post fraud alerts when something untoward has happened (usually all the bold points above :)) and help their workers find jobs for themselves and their kin.
We also need to follow police guidelines and insist on police verification and not employ underage people. More educated lots need to get into the sector and help start an agency which will be professional (Like The Maids Company) and bring some method to the madness.And my phone is ringing..."Yes Sunita, Yes yes!!! Please take half day off and come in the evening..after all its Shivratri and your fast is hundred times more important than mine" And it continues.
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