A Chat With My Maid

By Sneha Barua

What is life to you?

Is it about hanging around with buddies, partying like crazy without having anything to worry about or is it about working your ass off to earn a meager two square meal everyday, struggling to survive?

Everybody has a different perspective to life which is based solely on their experiences since the day they are born.

I viewed life more or less the same way a young girl belonging to a decent middle class family would look at it – with a fine educational background, a lovely family to look after me, a handful of friends to rely on.

Life has always been a warm ray of sunshine (with a few cloudy days of course).

All that changed in a dizzy when I had an intimate chat with my maid few days back which ended up with me looking at life from a totally different perspective.

Her Life Narrated In A Jiffy:

Few days ago, I was busy doing my stuff when my maid – a middle-aged woman, thin as a stick with a face that hasn’t been taken care of in a long while, came to my room to clean it.

Despite of her many issues, she has always been a jovial person, laughing at my pathetic jokes and making her own ones.

A Chat With My Maid

I had no idea how hard her life was until I asked her about her kids and she said:

I am worried about my son. He doesn’t study, has already wasted my money on admissions but never goes to school. He is 20 years old and still hasn’t passed 12th standard. He keeps bad company despite of me warning against it. My kids keep demanding expensive things that I can’t afford and that makes them not listen to me even more.

On asking about her husband, she made a shocking revelation that upset me a lot.

My husband abandoned us several years ago. Hasn’t tried to contact us ever since.

On questioning further and continuing the chat with my maid, I got to know that her father married her to a man twice her age at the tender age of 16 without any background checks.

After having three kids with him, she found out that her husband already had a wife and a daughter hidden away.

Also Read: If You Can’t Pay Well, Your Child Won’t Get Good Education in India

For the sake of her kids, she continued to live with that spineless excuse for a man who one day decided to leave this family and return to his first wife.

What on Earth is this? A game?

Her world came crashing down but she had to pull herself together for her kids. Hence, she started working as a maid to make ends meet.

“Yeh toh kuch bhi nhi,” she continued, “My sister, who lives with us, comes home drunk every night and insults me in front of my kids and my parents just stand there watching.”

More than her life story, what made my heart wrench is that she told her ordeal with the same nonchalant look that she usually has on her face!

Her revelation not only made me respect her even more than I already did, it gave me another perspective to look at the meaning of life. As if I have been shown a thorny path to the same destination.

The Other Side Of The Coin:

After that chat with my maid, I realized a few things:

#1. Although there has been remarkable improvement in women’s status in the society, but underprivileged women continue to live a life we can’t even imagine.

#2. My maid’s story is tragic but this is not even 0.1 percent of the hardships the destitute face in our country. Therefore, we should always be grateful for whatever we have even if it’s not enough.

#3. There is an urgent need to spread awareness among the underprivileged emphasizing on the importance of education in building a better future.

#4. All of us think our lives suck because of any minor inconvenience we face. I urge you to think again. Believe me, we are in a much better place than most of them out there.

Anybody who thinks that they are on the verge of giving up should read this story again and think that if she is able to go on after such an ordeal, so can we.

We can’t help everyone financially, I agree, but what I feel is that if we are able to show even a little bit of compassion and generosity to these human beings, helping in whichever way possible, it would mean the world to them.

After all, you haven’t really fully lived until you help change somebody else’s life for good.

I sincerely hope that as I sign off, I am able to move a few hearts in the least.

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