In the recent past, maybe because of somehow getting to discuss domestic drudgery and related ideas, somehow discussing house-help came up.
Now, like some of us unfortunate ones know, finding the right drivers/househelp must be a thing of destiny or pure luck.
I met a colleague, who happened to mention that she had ended up cleaning and maintaining her independent house, plus taking care of kids, cooking for the husband and family all by herself for years. And she is one of the sweetest, most soft spoken people I have ever met. She happened to joke saying that this must also be written in our horoscopes or there must be a 'kattam' which pertains to finding the right househelp. I couldn't but help laugh along.
For the longest time, i.e. after the lady who used to work in our family since my grandfathers time retired, we have hardly needed people to help us clean. We never employed a cook. Somehow, mom was never keen as it didn't make sense with us eating out often. And I guess for cooks, it is boring to cook for 2 people with a measly appetite. Also, being a vegetarian isn't cool for many cooks in the market.
We recently were able to employ a really sweet girl who worked for us for a short while - that is, until she brought in a "Swamiji" into our house, un-announced during Diwali. These saamiyaar types we have an allergy for. She somehow thought, as single women, we required divine help. As respectfully as we could, we sent him on his way after small-talk and had to show her the door literally.
Interestingly, I have come to know how our employing househelp/not employing them, how long they stay is a judge of character. I came across one such profound theory of how someone we knew was supposedly not nice because some maids didn't stay to work with them for too long. That's when I realized all over again, that many in the world are so jobless that they'd be busy figuring out how someone is all about based on their maids. Now why would anyone even keep a tab on the maids of some other house, especially when they are people who they don't even know? Beats me.
Anyway talking of those who have worked with us, I remember Jeeva-mma, from my childhood, when we'd just come down to Chennai from Mumbai. I was falling sick a lot, my mother was having severe slip-disc issues, and she took to us, nursing us to health, cooking for us and even bringing her kith and kin for help, when she thought we required it. One birthday was a party with my mom, grandparents, an aunt, cousins and the entire Jeeva's family. Even after we moved out from the area, for years did I keep going back to meet her, we still do. Her daughter had become a professional photographer and she even shot a portfolio of me several years ago.
Our 'iron' man is the same for the past 18 years. We have shifted out from the area we once lived in, but mom or I drive 20 kms to give him the clothes and take the ones that are ironed other week or so.
Somehow, there are some people who are special. There have been people in my family who continued to work with us even after their children settled into white collar jobs, purely out of love. And I'd rather drive 20 kilometers to get my clothes ironed by a gentleman who'd always been doing it for me rather than give it to someone new, who also, can't really hold a candle to anna's outstanding ironing.
To you, I wish that you find the right people to employ who'll help you along whenever you require them. May they be sincere in their work and not bring you weird saamiyar types ;)