A collection of write-ups from experiences of life that inspire, empower, influence & trigger positive values, habits & mindsets.
A day in the life of a maid
Those that make our life easier and simpler, do our daily chores so that we could focus on the other things that are important to create better lives can't have a simple life themselves and certainly can't go unnoticed. Easwaran presents his perspective on a day in their life. Read ON!
At 40, she had to give her best at work, outgrowing her age. Her landlady was a kind woman. But she is a maid in 5 homes in the large residential complex. Some times she worked in 6 homes. All were treating her like a family. Starting her day at 8 am, she works very hard scrubbing, sweeping, mopping, washing and cleaning.
Only break is the time she walks to the next house. Tired and exhausted her last chore finishes at 3pm. She has to be very flexible on the timings as each home have changing schedules due to their own requirements unlike office work. Some homes had both husband and wife working. Some had babies and some old people. So her work slots and requirements differed.
While at work in a home, her small mobile phone would ring several times requesting her to change time or do extra work etc. from different homes. After her last home, she punched her card at the building security thinking hard about her little kids birthday falling the next day. What can she do to make it memorable?
She has attended all her employer’s birthday parties when at work and now she does not have enough money even to buy a cake for her kid. She did not want to take help from anyone as they have helped her in many ways. Unlike regular jobs she does not have allowances or holidays. Only when she gets very sick she tries hard for someone to take her place. But it has never been easy that way. She has no credit card or bank accounts. Her pay from 5 homes barely goes towards paying for small one-room home and kids schooling fees and grocery.
Her husband was a daily wage construction worker. Money came only on the days he had work. Both husband’s and wife’s income together took care of minimum needs which did not include yearly promotion, bonus, retirement benefits, vacation, enjoying a bite at the restaurant, movies, visit to malls, saving for future, new dresses. She accepts the old dresses given at the homes and puts them on her kids and feels happy. She feels sad when everyone celebrates festivals but not very big in her home as it would never be affordable. She never take her kids to any of the homes that she work as it would affect the kid’s feelings. In the past she had to take one of her kids and it filled her eyes to see her kid staring at the toys, electronic games, well decorated homes, nice shoe racks etc.
But her determination to achieve her dreams kept her going un-wavered. She wanted to give best education to her kids. Her oldest daughter was in second Year College. She reached her small home and reached out to the safe box she had kept to use in case of emergency. She had made a small safe box from a milk powder tin and kept dropping some cash that she had left every day. She counted and it came to 525 rupees. But the minimum required to pay for a cake would be 1000 rupees. Her heart sank. From where will she get another 500? Her throat choked as she held the tin in her hand.
Her little son, youngest of her 3 kids woke up early to see if anyone has sent any gift or wished him happy birthday. He called out, “its my birthday. Sure we are going to cut cake and call my friends? Right mom?” His innocent question pierced her heart and a tear welled in her eyes. All she could do was to grab him and kiss him on his cheek. She said, “yes my darling, I will bring you a cake in the evening” All she could give him were some toffees she had managed to buy last evening. Wiping her tears she calls every one and sings a simple happy birthday song.
The week earlier she had seen how her employer had observed birthday to her son. The home was decorated and they had a party in the evening to celebrate with kids in a large 3-bedroom apartment where she worked as a maid. It was 7am and the kids have to get ready for the school. All would leave the home at the same time. While the kids walked up to their school she walked up to her employer house. She could not afford transport for her kids. So they walked long distance everyday and back. Kids came home after school and a small cake was ready and some gifts for the little one. He could not control his joy and tore open the gift to find a nice pair of shoes. She had managed to buy a pair from a shop that sold duplicates at very cheap price.
This was not new in her life. She has lived through this heavy feeling many times. She only knew one thing in her heart that she love her kids and she wont mind working harder to make them study well. She also worked at the coffee shop down the road for some income. It gave her immense joy and made her so proud that her oldest kid is in college and tried to give her best of dresses but always fell short. But her kid understood and never complained, but would always be willing to give a helping hand.
Her only reason for living was to see her children get educated and take up good jobs and live in those three bed room apartments unlike her washing and cleaning. She never felt bad about her work even though her back and knees hurt when bending to work or standing too long to wash vessels. But when she gets too tired it hurts her deep with the lack ,that wish she had better pay and an office job.
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Her kids do not have smart phones or computer games or they don’t have a big house or car. But they had what many houses don’t have in this world. She had a real home, a home that was filled with love, faith, sacrifice, understanding and most of all a purpose to live. She never talked about her work or the experiences of the homes she worked.
Hiding her tired body and worries about future, she would be cheerful and teach her kids good things about life. We get vacation and other holidays in our work. But can she ever take a break at work? Does she ever rejoice at the release of a new movie or be worried about the political scene in the country?
Can she ever have a Facebook account and post selfies? But her determination to achieve big things in life is more powerful and driven by strong purpose fortified by emotions. What is your perspective on this?
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 4th July 2019.