Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Mission Impossible : The Maid Hunt

Yes! This is an impossible mission to achieve. Getting that perfect maid in your dreams! In case anyone has made this 'Mission Maid' possible, hats off to you guys! We envy you so much. 

My maid hunt began only after I had kids. As just  married couple we both managed cleaning and doing dishes well. But the plot changed once kids came into our lives. And once in every two years or so we had to shift house as we were the usual Bangalore IT professionals who aspire to go back to native and settle at any given opportunity. 

Fortunately my first two experiences with maids in Bangalore were quite good. They both were South Indians and worked really hard with least supervision. We gave food and took care of any medical expenses which were serious. It is a win-win situation for both. They were honest and trustworthy. Only now I realize their real value and how lucky I was! They never complained about salary. Thousand five hundred was minimum wage for 'jhadu pocha' and doing dishes, cleaning the kitchen. Bathroom cleaning happened twice a week. (Cooks I haven't tried yet). They took care of each and everything pro actively. Shanthi Akka and Shaarda Akka, I am very much grateful to them. We gave hikes every year more than the hikes we used to get from our so-called IT hubs. Happy maid, happy home!

Again plot change... Now we have two kids. The dream of settling at native has become a mere dream itself. Enough of this shuttling. We decided to settle in this much cooler city and bought our own house in Sobha. Even kids are grown up and they are like "we are ok with visiting visa to native but no permanent visa mom and dad". They speak as if they were in Bangalore for 50 years and we are asking them to leave everything and go somewhere! It's been four years in Sobha, the real challenge began. 

I was in the hallucination that all maids are the same and they will be like my previous akkas. But after reaching Sobha I have learnt many lessons. Let me explain. I haven't changed my maid in these four years. I have enough reasons for not changing her. In Sobha 90% maids are Bengalis. For them this is like a gulf job. One comes first and then they bring the whole family here and send money to native. They have great respect in their village as they are the rich ones in the family and made a concrete house with tiles on the floor. 

Firstly let me tell you the challenges I had with my dream maid.

Language barrier : I knew Tamil and Hindi quite well so I thought it would be easy to communicate. But she is a pure Bengali and her Hindi also sounds like Bengali. Actually it is Bangla they speak. We all know from where they migrated. Now, whatever I tell she understands half and the rest half is guess work and vice versa. I am still learning. I understood one trick that you need to add an 'O' sound to the words, then it will become almost Banglandi (Bangla+Hindi). Shakthi becomes Shokthi, Darr becomes dorr, bus becomes bos etc. Some words are even separated while spelling it. For example: Brush - Barash, clap - calap. These tricks might help you to communicate in a better way. Thank me later ahh ;-) Meanwhile try not to forget your original pronunciations as it may create problems at your workplace. 

Supervisory role : This is a dirty job which I used to hate even during my working days. I really can not rule people nor be strict/rude with them which I am still learning and getting better at it gradually. My husband is top at this though he hates people management. In turn he trains me in this field so that I can manage my house help. Most of the maids here are lazy or too busy as they are working in more than 10 houses on a daily basis and time management is very important. So, if you are not supervising (minimum once in two days) them and giving out instructions they will just flee away leaving half the job for you to do. If there is a chair or chappal on the floor they will clean perfectly around that as if that is glued to the floor. Kitchen will be half clean. Dishes will have residues of food. Bathroom will have all the dirty water flowing all over. Some will use the cloth only once dipped in the bucket of water to mop the whole house. Hence the floor will have stains. These are all common issues. But if you have time to manage, then you can effectively train and change your maid to an average one. Time and patience is also important.

Attrition/Ghosting : This was not so popular until the last two years. Now comes the new gen maids who are postmodern and do not encourage the above mentioned supervisor madams. If they feel we are trying to control their work or salary is less according to them then that will be the last time you will see them. From next day they will neither come to your doorstep nor pick your calls. As Sobha is a big community (around 6000 houses) they are sure they will get another house in no time. If someone is ready to pay them more than you pay, ghosting happens again. My friend has changed four maids in three months! Listening to these 'ghost' stories I got scared and decided to keep my old maid itself. Something is better than nothing.

The great attitude : This is something that irks all of us. You correct them/give suggestions and they pout or talk back or ghost you. There was this nanny with my cousin for years. She is good at work but over the years acted like her mother-in-law. She was fed up and got rid of her recently. Same story with another friend. Do not even ask me about new gen nannies who are quite busy handling their social media reels and if you have a word, no looking back...you are cursed!

Give me a break! Let's listen to the cooked up stories of our Master Chefs. I do not have much say on this as I have tried none till date. I decided so, seeing the cooks of my friends. In Sobha, they come home with a hashtag "I am the best cook here". The package is also overwhelming. Dinner is more costly. Once they start cooking only then you find out that they are not real cooks but aspiring cooks who fell into this category only to earn an income easily. According to them, if you know how to make chapati/paratha and aloo curry then you have passed for a cook's job (Don't you feel like a Master Chef now?). If you are ready to take risks you can ask for more and explore their skills. Never ask the name of the dish though! Sambar may look like Chinese curry, vegetable curry may taste like sambar. Try at your own risk.

Apart from all these challenges they create, I must point out the challenges we create ourselves for reasons I still don't know!! I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings but I have to say this. There are people who want only Hindu maid, Vegetarian maid and the list goes on. Do you have any idea that you have only 10% where you can select from and you are doing the elimination process in that too. Your chances of getting a maid ( I didn't say good maid) is likely to be 0.0009%. No offense but I really wish to say more but it is not safe considering the current situations, you know…

Let me conclude. This is a never ending hunt. If you are a working couple I pity you in this matter as it will be difficult to supervise as I said earlier. All the best and try more options. If one of you is not working then you have fifty percent luck to train, mold into average and make them stay as long as possible. Hope you all run into your dream maid one day! 

Happy maid, Happy home... :)






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