Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This is Happiness !

We blew his 45th birthday candles – his age is only an assumption. He claims he is 36 for the last 5 years... i have celebrated 20 of his birthday’s with him personally. 16th August every year in my household is celebrated with Cake, Wafers, Pav Bhaji and Thumbs-up. All of which are his favourites.

He speaks broken Gujarati up until today and he refuses to speak to us in Hindi. He calls my sister Dhwani – Jhonny. He says my little brother Rishi is his Child and not my parents. He sat through my chicken pox with me. He smokes a packet of Biddi every 2 days. He loves Amitabh Bacchan. His favourite colour is Black. He hates wearing closed shoes. He loves Cricket with a passion. Each day even though he doesn’t read the English Newspaper, he will look at the pictures of the Times of India. Our family put him into an Auto-Rickshaw driving school, so that he could earn more money – because this man is very smart. But he refused to part with my family.

When I was little – he taught me how to ride a bicycle. He ran behind me for hours on end until I finally knew how to balance. He drew the X and the Y axis of my graph tables all through my school days, so that the only thing left would be the plotting. Even before curling irons came into the hair-care scene, he knew the right temperature to set on the house iron for my hair.. so that they wouldn’t get burnt.

His name is Tinu. He is a Nepali by origin. He was our house-help for as long as I can remember. We tie him Rakhi each year on Raksha Bandhan – we call her our brother. We like to believe that he has been with our family for the last 20 years. He left to take care of his ailing brother a few years ago. But our doors are always open to him – when his own life gets monotonous he comes back to a place he calls HOME. Come Aug 16th – his birthday, we all are present to wish him the best. It is the birthday of one of us.

Not to boast of my family and our values – but ask yourself this. When is your maid’s birthday ? How long has she been in service ? What’s her favourite colour ? What does she do in her pass-time ? Apart from her daughter and a beating husband that she complains of every time your mother asks, “Kaal Kyun nahi aayi” , what do you really know of her ? What is her favourite food ?

Many of us have Ramu Shamu working for us for years. Some even have generation after generation working with you. What is that one special thing you do for them that makes them love you ? What is that one thing that makes them want to be with you forever ? What is that one thing that they hold onto when their lives get tough ? Do you really know anything about them ??

In this day and age you know what food your dog likes – he doesn’t even talk ! You know because you choose to listen to his voice. Have you ever tried hearing the voice of those silent people around you ? Reach out ! And start by marking your house-help’s birthday in your planner TODAY !


  1. i know what you mean. there's this lady at my grandparent's place who's been a domestic help since before i was born and a family member for almost as long. i call her masi and we still play ludo with her whenever i go there. she still is my favourite cook... :)

  2. beautiful post and yes i can say that we have ensured that the boy who used to come to do our domestic chores has been educated as a result of which he got himself a job in the UAE,worked there for 5 years, came back with his savings and got a handymans job in an office in mumbai to be with his family!
    we have also ensured our 'bai's' kids were educated as we believe education is of prime importance!

    P.S. The alignment of your blog seems wrong and moved towards the right.

  3. I was told that when the school principal was asking me questions, to get admission into my school, she asked me about my family members. I told her I have a grandfather, a mother, a father, two sisters and an uncle.

    Domestic help, the ones that stay for long, are an integral part of the family. He still comes, on special occasions, to make the most amazing gajar ka halwa and kadhi chawal.

    Ah! Thank you for bringing back those amazing memories!

  4. they used to say in our house only and we used to celebrate their birthday and even used to give our books to their kids .... Papa and mumma even helped our maid's husband to get a new job ...

    And seriously they just need small gestures from our side, and then they can give their all to us.

    Seriously, this is happiness. :)

  5. Good attempt. As they say, "cleaning starts at home".

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