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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Death Of A Housemaid!

Almost all of the housemaids who come to your homes for work from the nearby slums of Mumbai have a similar tale to tell. They work very hard throughout the day in different homes to make some monthly pay package. But at the end of the month they get nothing for their comfort. They have to hand it over to their mom-in-laws or husbands. And, their husbands unfailingly spend their hard-earned money on drinks. Most of the husbands do not work at all, so they need the money all the more for their indulgence. The housemaids go on suffering silently and very soon it impacts their health.

A deathly pale and skinny maid worked in our place now and then for the last two years. She always looked tired and took a long time to finish her work. From others we knew that she was always sick and visited the government hospital daily to take some booster injections. We also came to know that her in-laws and her husband were very cruel people and not only took her money away but also deprived her of minimum needs like two meals a day. Her father-in-law and husband indulged in drinking sessions with her money and mother-in-law robbed the rest away.

We really cared for her and my wife Ragini often helped her with essentials like clothes and gave her tea and snacks everyday. But the problem was that she was horribly irregular apart from taking eternity to finish her work. It just did not match our schedule and so she was on and off with her work. Though we felt bad there was no other way to go about it. A month back she came again for work and we kept her. But the same problems followed. Ragini even offered her work and pay on a daily basis. She did not agree to this, maybe because she had to give a monthly lump sum to her family. So we let her go one more time.

Today she died. We were shocked to hear the news from her neighborhood maid in the evening. She came back home from the hospital around noon and collapsed dying instantly. We offered to help with some money, but her friend said that the money would again be spent on drinks. ‘Don’t help her family people, they are very bad. They tortured her everyday.’ She said.

We had no option but to feel very sad and dejected. Maybe we could have helped her in some way. But even today we did not know how. What to do? This is reality and reality is very stark most of the time.

We just prayed for the eternal bliss of her soul. At least she got released from her miserable existence. How many more and how to help them?

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