Two days ago, my maid, who has been working for me since the past three years, came to me and said that she wanted to talk to me. In the middle of some work, I paused, smiled and said, “Advance chahiye ya Chhutti?” She said with a sad tone, “Nahin, didi, mujhe kuchh aur bataana hai aapko.” I looked at her face. Her eyes were moist and she looked pale. She said, “Didi, mera pati mujhe kaam karne se manaa kar raha hai.” When I asked for the reason, she spoke taking control of her emotions, “Wo kah raha hai ki tu 3-4 din se badal gayi hai!” Curious, I asked what made him feel that and object to her working in just these couple of days! Tears rolled down her eyes and she said, “Wo kehta hai ki tu raat ko mujhe manaa kar deti hai! Ya to tu kaam chhod de ya phir main tujhe chhod doonga!” To which the maid replied that her kids are growing up and sleep in the same room. She is not comfortable with it until they are fast asleep, and the 10 year old son doesn’t sleep before 10 pm. For a woman who wakes up at 5 am and works hard all day, without understanding her feelings, he accused of her coming back home at different times – “Kabhi tu jaldi aati hai, kabhi der se! Mujhe kya pataa tum kahaan jaati ho, kya karti ho aur kis se milti ho!” She helplessly replied, “Ab aap hi batao, didi, main kya karoon. Jab kabhi main aapke ghar se jaldi free ho jaati hoon, ya kabhi-kabhi doosre ghar mein der tak kaam karna padta hai, to kya karoon? Mere bachcho’n ki padhai ke liye mujhe kamaana to padega hi.”
Her husband told her strictly over a phone call, not to take his instruction lightly.
The next morning, she didn’t come for work.
Today morning, she came and started doing the work normally. I asked her what had happened yesterday. She said that her husband had not allowed her to come yesterday, so today morning, she told her chacha-in-law that she’s going for work. He said, “Beta, tu ja! Main use sambhaal loonga.”
I saw peace on her face, which further made me feel peaceful for her.
I don’t know how to end this article. This is an ongoing plight of women, deeply dominated and conditioned to live bonded, abiding in accordance to the husband’s T&C’s, at various levels in different strata.