Saturday, November 11, 2006


We call her akka.
As I write this, I am trying to recollect her name. After a while I realized that I didn't know it because I haven't asked her that anytime. Oh man, our maid, she has been cleaning our house and washing our clothes for about six months now and still I haven't asked her name! On second thoughts, it shouldn't come as a surprise to me as I hardly know the name of our maid while I was at Mumbai and that too in spite of my stint of about two years there. Probably I wouldn't have asked her name too!
We called her baai.

When we came to Bangalore and got bumped into our current house, we were looking for a person who would keep our house nice and clean. We were more than happy when akka, who used to clean the house for its previous inhabitants, agreed to continue the post.

Akka, like many other akkas who work in various houses of the IT city Bangalore (Those who read this post after November 1st, read it as Bengaluru), is also from Tamil Nadu. Most of them have come to Bangalore for a living and usually go back to their native once or twice a year. Many of them have settled with family in one of those shady alleys of Bangalore. In semblance, bai like many other bais who work in various houses of the economic capital of India, Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay), comes from Bangladesh.

Many a times I have felt that they are the most underpaid group. I guess their wages range from 200 – 400 for a one bedroom house a month. Most of them work in four to six houses and earn around 1000 – 3000 bucks a month, well set to meet all the expenses of their families including food, clothes, children's education and all such. Sometimes I wonder how they manage it out in the costliest city of India! Hmmm… everyone is happy with their own means...


>|' ; '| said...

is everyone really happy? :)

Anonymous said...

hmmmm people manage with what they have... it's simple as that. Of course it is more difficult for people like Akka, but if you read this post you will realise that there is an industry existing to cater to the need of the poorest. Good thoughts!

Anonymous said...

hmm.. this is one question i used to ask my mom all the time. How do 'they' live..
Also, there was one forward which i recieve a while ago.. It highlighted the importance of being a social animal.. This one question struck me though... It was "Do you know the name of ur servant/maid". I didnt.. We call her 'chechi' ... but now I do... Somehow it seems important to me now..

MadV said...

Hmmm.. Quite true that they are underpaid... But well, a little praise/concern from the house owner makes them happy. If they get some extra money from you or anyone, they feel overwhelmed.

Will you be that happy if you receive an incentive?

I find them as too simple people who work hard and try to find out happiness from the small world around them..

Jithu said...

> >|' ; '|<
a question to be asked. bt i feel they are more happy than us..

> silverine
hey i read that post. good one yaar. i missed it in btn.. hmm.. yes, there's a place for everyone to live :-)

> anon
:-) thats good.. i have yet to know though!

> madv
thats true.. in the way we behave to 'em.. it makes a lot of difference.. i gave her a bonus during onam :-). the last sentence, indeed...

Anonymous said...

Good insight, but i do know that the more enterprising maids do make more than Rs 1000-3000.For eg: a maid who cooks too; makes above rs 1000-1500 at a single house. And cleaning alone many others do manage upto 10 houses a day. If lucky to have a earning husband who doesnt spend everything on alcohol - the household can earn upto 9-10,000 and many even send their kids to English medium schools- I rem'br an India today article on that...Guess ive once told you the story about the maid in my building who whipped out her cellphone and confirmed that motorola doesnt have enuff range in my neighbour's flat!

cheers flaash

venus said...

I feel your pain Jithu, These people are quite underpaid, they deserve much better wages. Why all these multi national corps are racing to india, cheap labor! and this fact is also reflected in your this post. These akkas are the backbone of middle/upper middle class's luxury. Have there been no akkas struggling to meet their two ends, no middle class family would have been getting taste of what is called luxury. It's very sad that it is not fair.

Geo said...

pls dont remind me abt our mumbai baai :)

venus said...

hmm what's such a bad (good??) memory that u don't wanna be reminded of ;)