This morning, my domestic help informed me that she wants to go abroad.To America.The land of milk and honey, where the footpaths are paved with gold and money plants are made of real green bucks. I suspect her sudden migration plans may have a lot to do with the tongue lashing she received yesterday, when a leisurely tour of the house yielded several strategically located cobwebs, a battalion of wide eyed spiders and even, a few red millipedes undercover..It appeared that we had foiled an Arthropod coup in the nick of time.
Needless to say, my maid was not too pleased when I trained my guns on her right after. So in she stomped today, mumbling under her breath as she went about her chores, occasionally threatening to vapourise me with her glares. Just as I was settling down to work, she wiped the self-congratulatory smirk off my face with her announcement.
For many moments, I did not know what to say. I knew Destination America had become a national obsession, but not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined that the dollar dream could permeate down to the grassroots level. Visions of my swarthy maid with her oil slicked hair in jeans, over-sized glares and a pile of US tagged bags at her feet floated before my eyes. When I came to, I found her staring at me with a little more hesitancy and a lot less defiance about her.
' Why do you want to go to America? ..how will you survive there?.....How much have you studied?'
" Akka (sister), I have not studied much but can't I do house work there also?...I have heard that servants are not easy to find there and that I can earn good money there..."
" How do think you are going to America? I mean the air tickets are expensive...And it is very very difficult to get permission to even visit there...."
" I thought I could go with some family...I mean some Indian family who wants an servant from home...I can cook, wash clothes, wash dishes, sweep and swab....and even take care of children. You know I do good work..."
Words failed me. I was in shock!!! It would seem that my maid had conveniently forgotten the dust, cobwebs and critters the house had accumulated while I had been travelling on work. Or the fact that she had broken so many of our glassware and trinkets, that Dsk and I had no alternative but to bubble wrap what was left of our treasures and stash them away in the larder. Not to mention the odd hair clips, scrunchies and other such decorative trifles of mine, which would appear on her person at periodic intervals!!!
" Its not as easy as you think...You are unable to satisfy us with your work and you think you can manage in America? Nobody there will stand for bad work. And besides, they use a lot of gadgets there for work...You don't understand English...Even if you wanted to learn, how would you manage?"
"Just like we talk to each other...you don't know Tamil and I don't know English but I still understand you...especially when you scold me"
The nerve of the woman!!! For months, she mulishly refuses to make an effort to understand English, Hindi or even my pidgin Tamil, and now she says we converse???
" If you find someone in America who wants an Indian servant, you can teach me English daily till it is time for me to go.....And, I can also join a English speaking course if necessary..."
As I gape moronically at her, she simpers.....and, swoops in for the kill.
" Akka, would you be able to find me a family in America?.."
*eye brows vanish into my hairline*
Talk about having the cake and the bakery as well!!!