Monday, October 3, 2011

For those who care for us

Pujas remind me of happy families, khichdi and labra bhaji, plays in the evening, ram lilas and more.
Pujas also remind me of the young girls in their new dresses and ribbons, going pandal hopping with their families.

These girls come from different regions, speak different languages, but seem to be tied by a common thread.
The first common thread is their outfit.
If it's a dress, it is usually slightly loose, especially around the bust and waist. And has a low waist.
The shoes are a bright coloured pair.
If it's a churidar, it is usually   a poorly mixed mix and match.
While of course, new.
The eyes are darkly kohled. Usually bindis adorn the forehead.
Nowadays we do see a pair of loose jeans and kurtis or long skirts.

Do these girls have a poor fashion sense?
 We will never know.
Because the outfits have been picked up by their families.
Who they work for.

These are the "household help" in India.
Young girls who look after our kids, clean and cook.
We take good care of them. And they are like family.
Yet we go to great pains to ensure that what they are wearing draws the line very clearly.
The skirts and the jeans should not be mistaken for the mistress of the house.
So the poorly matched colours or the slightly ill fitting outfits.

There are more ways in which lines are drawn.
They sit in the middle of the rear seat in the car- usually no window viewing- if there are three people behind.
They get  a  stool in the kitchen or children's room  when we go  visiting friends .
They usually have their own plates and cups and mugs at home.
Their meals are usually in the kitchen.
They feel awkward when we go dining- where do they sit, stand...

But we love them.
We pay good money.
We look after their families.
And their lot would have been worse if not for us.

And they seem happy.
They are happy.
Or are they....

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