Life turned Topsy-Turvy..

Over the last few days life has turned topsy-turvy for millions across the country. While the lock-down has been particularly harsh, caused unspeakable misery to the poor daily wage-earners who lost their livelihood, it has thrown a different challenge to the Indian middle class. How to cope up in the absence of the domestic help is a major issue.

It is a challenge unique to India. Elsewhere in the developed world people do everything on their own, extensively using the gadgets like dish washers, vacuum cleaners. They even manage to do themselves the minor repair work -electrical, plumbing, carpentry, painting and polishing. Home-confinement has restricted the outside movement of the people in the west, but made no difference to their household routine.

However, here in India life has turned up-side down for the middle class that is accustomed to domestic help for almost every household chore . All hell broke loose in most middle class homes when the domestic help stopped coming.

Lock down is driving the women crazy cleaning , sweeping, mopping, cooking , laundry, dishes…. It has really been tough, stressful and exhausting for women as men generally don’t share the burden.  It is even more stressful for the working women for whom it is not just ghar se kaam ‘work from home’ but also ghar ka kaam ‘work at home’ that includes taking care of the children.

Perhaps this is true of all women, much worse for the maids. With their grueling work schedule and living conditions, life has always been tough for the maids, but now the lock-down has made their condition miserable. Ever since the lockdown my part time help has rung me up so many times to share her concerns. Though everyone has paid her full amount for the month of March, she is anxious about the coming months. With her money drying up she is desperate to join back, but that may not be advisable in the near future.

At a time when many NGOs and philanthropists are coming forward to provide food and essentials to the poor, we can do our bit; help our staff in the hour of need. If we can afford, we must support our casual employees whether our maid, gardener or the dhobi during the lay off period. Perhaps the best way to express our gratitude to the almighty for protecting us and our loved ones in this crisis is to protect the income of the people who have been serving us.

(Published in Momspresso on May2, 2020)

15 Replies to “Life turned Topsy-Turvy..”

  1. Very well penned down mam.. Loved reading it..

    Besides the maids, underprivileged kids are also feeling the burn of food n violence..

    Middle and upper middle class is very still very supportive so far but the question is till when as Government is not looking at their challenges until now.. Their jobs, rentals, school fees, household expenses, loans, installments, taxes, electricity water phone bills everything is still active with no rebate…

    We must secure all segments than just extremes. Conducive help can only be sought if help hierarchy is maintained too..

    Thank you for an amazing read

    1. Thanks Jas. You have a very valid point. It is a challenging time foe everyone. All business is down, there is no inflow ..Even for high income salaried class there is a lot of uncertainty..salary cuts , lay offs ..
      Govt too has its limitations -huge resource crutch- revenue drying up, mounting expenditure

      Indeed it is the worst crisis of the century- medical emergency combined with economic catastrophe .
      God bless the people like you for doing selfless service .

  2. Yes madam,life is very difficult for everyone these days-business men,salaried class and labourers. I also feel very sorry for migrant workers, walking with their families on foot to their villages.We were unprepared for this pandemic. It is a tough phase.

    1. Yes Garima, It is the worst catastrophe of the century, and every one across the globe- big and small , rich and poor has been affected, but as always the poor suffer the most.

  3. Yes Rama life has turned topsy bur still managable for people like us.My heart goes out to those who like our maids, malis ,dhobis etc are depenent upon daily earnings. Our hardships are nothing as compared to theirs.On top os it the labourers whose work place is far from their home state.They are emotionally and physically starved.This is a tough time for many covid stricken countries but tougher for a poor country like India where there are 20 crores daily wagers away from their parent have given the right message.It is time to be compassionate.Three cheers

    1. Yes ma’am , even I feel we are far better off than the poor, especially the migrant labourers who are the worst sufferers physically, financially and emotionally.You have rightly said it is the time to be compassionate.

  4. It is a very well written article.
    We are privileged as we have a roof over our heads and money to purchase the necessities which are provided at our doorsteps.You are right that the least we can do is to contribute towards this national crisis is to keep on paying our domestic help for the months they were able to come to serve us.At the same time my heart goes to millions of people not only the daily wagers who are walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home to be with their families,even when they don’t have any money on them and on top of that no food to eat. Apart from these people there are so many self employed people like tailors,dhabha owners or persons who were employed as drivers or at gyms,spa, lawyers and private clinics and still others who had small businesses who were earning just enough to look after their families in a respectable manner have suddenly become helpless.

    1. Thanks Mrs Rahi. Always a pleasure your deep analysis.
      True, the list of the people rudely affected by the pandemic is endless- daily wage earners , self-employed, lakhs engaged in the informal sector.It is indeed very sad to see the people who had been making a living , howsoever small ,have almost turned into beggars at the mercy of others.

  5. Very nice articles reflecting the current situation but what is more disturbing is the fact that this situation is going to continue for a very long period of time affecting almost every section of population. Most problems seem small when we can be almost certain that this particular time is bad and everything will be fine after that but in the current scenario nothing is certain… the time, the extent of problems, the section of society that is affected, and most of all nor the outcome of all this meyhem. The uncertainty of everything around us like our life, our work, education of our children, household work, care of our elderly, money and salary issues whether being an employer or an employee, risk of infection even while buying groceries or simple fruits and vegetables etc etc……it’s actually affecting the mental well-being of almost everybody and God only knows for how long we’ll have to be like this.
    Praying n hoping are the only options left for mankind. Imagine … simple things like parents hugging their children or grandparents hugging thier grandchildren raises a concern among all of us of whether we are infecting the other or vice versa…..all this is absurd n weird and brought the whole mankind to standstill. The important question is FOR HOW LONG……..????

    1. Bhanu , your concern is genuine ..challenging times … but mankind is resilient … there have been crisis and epidemics in the past and man has bounced back… let us have faith …this will also pass . Even the darkest night will end and the Sun will rise.Let’s pray the crisis gets over soon.

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