Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maid Service

I have been jetlagged and sick these first few days in India but I have had a chance to experience maid service to the nth degree. After spending 13 years in USA where daily maid service is only for the uber rich and weekly maid service is expensive and difficult to find, I spent the last week wallowing in luxury. I did have a cleaner who came once in three weeks and a maid who helped with the laundry and kitchen once a week and that felt like luxury back in Dallas!

DH and In-Laws have hired a nanny/housekeeper, a maid who comes daily and cleans the house and a cook. So, I have had to do NOTHING. The cook comes early in the morning and makes breakfast, lunch and dinner. The housekeeper takes care of packing lunches/snacks, getting my son's uniform and backpack ready, setting the table for breakfast which includes tea for DH, milk for the kids and different breakfast for the adults and kids. The maid comes during the day and cleans the house from top to bottom including making the beds! Can you believe that? I don’t even have to make the beds!!!

I got lucky with the maid and housekeeper. They are very good at what they do and they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. In fact my second day here, they offered to open up the rest of the boxes, clean up the kitchen, offering suggestions, following directions and even after I was tired, they kept going on! They cleaned up the mess from the boxes, cleaned the counters, the maid did extra dishes, the housekeeper kept up the pace. The cynic in me is waiting for the bomb to drop. I was expecting the maid to take the day off the next day but she showed up! Wanting to open more boxes! She did drop a small bomb on me today though, she asked for half a day off on Sundays J. Well, considering most domestic helpers get all day off on Sunday it wasn’t too much to ask so I granted it to her J. Do I feel powerful or what!

The housekeeper works pretty hard. My in laws trained her well so she has a list of duties lined up each day. She is also pretty god at remembering and following directions so no complaints there either. This happens to be her first job so I guess she hasn’t learnt the ways of the world yet. She will probably get there eventually but for now I am enjoying having good help. The only catch with her is the whole I am possessed to being haunted deal. Frankly I think she has a deficiency of some sort which is making her hallucinate. I have a mystery on my hands and I will get to the bottom of it.

I am sure all of them are trying to impress the “lady” of the house. (I couldn’t resist calling myself that :P) but it’s working! I don’t think I will need all three in the long run (Hey, I need to do something to keep myself busy!) but right now I am enjoying all of it J

Saturday, January 26, 2013

First Day in India

So, today was my first official day of life in India. I arrived yesterday but was so jetlagged, I slept the entire day. After 5 years of thinking about it, 2 years of trying to do it and months of planning and tying up loose ends I am finally in India now. How does it feel? A lot of people are curious to know how it feels to be back in India. The mother land! Do I feel all patriotic being back in the country? Especially since my first day is the 26th of January?
Well, honestly, I don’t feel any different than when I am here on vacation. Right now my in laws are managing my house and even though the rented house has all my familiar furniture from Dallas, it still feels very alien.
First impression of Bangalore is very good though. The people seem very nice; traffic was not too bad although I didn’t venture out during rush hour. Kishen tells me it is a very late city so rush hour doesn’t start until 9:00! That would take some getting used to. I don’t know what my schedule is yet so I am not worried about the rush hour J.Well, after moving a family of four across the world you can hardly blame me for not knowing what I am doing!
There is a long list of housekeeping waiting for me. Boxes to be unpacked, cupboards (translated to wardrobes for my uninitiated Americans friends who are reading this) to be organized, kids’ activities to be researched, Nakul’s school to be figured out, vehicles to be bought, maid service to be taken care of and an innumerable other things that were pushed to the list of things to be done when “mommy” gets hereJ.
Talking about the maids, the maid service in India is a double edged sword. To the casual observer, it might appear to be a lifestyle fit for royalty - having a maid who cleans your house every day, a cook who cooks your food and a nanny who takes care of the kids. Especially if you have lived in a part of the world where household help is a luxury not the norm and after handling all that and a full time job in the USA, it did seem that way.
Well, it is all good but you have to take it with a grain of salt. The catch is that you need to have the will power to deal with the madness that goes with it. You become so dependent on the help that the first thing you think about in the morning is ‘I hope the maid doesn’t take the day off today!’ I know it is sad but that is the ground reality here.
The maid is a fickle being with a list of at least 10 reasons up her sleeve of why she needs to take the day off. It ranges from being sick to an unexpected death in the family. It’s funny how they never seem to take a day off for a happy occasion. You would think the entire population of maid servants in India was wallowing in misery!
If you have spent any amount of extended time in India, you have seen it all and heard it all. But I bet nobody has ever heard the one I heard this time! My nanny claims to being either possessed or haunted by the ghost of her aunt and claims she needs to go through an ‘exorcism’ to purge herself of this spirit.
Since December of this year, she has been visiting an exorcist every so often (I don’t know the frequency yet) to go through a “treatment” which consists of lashings with a broom and a lot of ritualistic singing and who knows what else for a couple of hours after which the poor creature is bedridden for two days recovering from it! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this!
I feel bad for the girl because she needs to go through this but I am also worried about leaving my children in the care of a person who claims to see ghosts! Who knows what psychiatric problem she has and how it will affect my children in my absence! I think we will end up replacing her but the entire situation is so bizarre I couldn’t help writing about it.
I would be lying if I said I am not a little spooked by it myself. With all my high and mighty so called educated views I do get scared watching horror movies and when I listen to “true” stories about people seeing ghosts so yes, I am a little spooked but at the end of it, my children’s safety is at risk and regardless of how good the girl is with the kids, I don’t think I am willing to risk it.
I was expecting life to be very different in India but NEVER in my wildest imagination had I thought I would come across a real life example of a person who claims to be haunted and a group of people subjecting her to so called “treatment” to cure her. All I can say is Welcome home! Expect the unexpected J