Monday, July 23, 2007

The day when I disagreed with Shobhaa De!

I’m an ardent fan of Shobhaa De. Not the writer Shobhaa De. I like the columnist better. But I must admit, it’s her persona that makes me her fan. I simply love her way of that no nonsense talking style.

However, I didn’t and couldn’t agree with even Shobhaa, when she said in one of her magazine interviews a few months back, that Bais are the great time managers.

But then I didn’t meet Manisha, my part time helper. I cannot call her Bai because she simply doesn’t fit into that term.

I first met her when I shifted to South Mumbai from Malad about a year back. As my friend introduced Manisha to me, my first thought was ‘could this pretty face with a fragile frame deliver’? Moreover, she was already working with four families.
As I expressed my doubts, my friend assured me ‘She’s the best in this building and she doesn’t even do chuttis. She wants the money also.’ I gave in.

As Manisha started working for me. I gradually came to know her routine. Her day starts at about 5-30 in the morning every day. She finishes all her chores at her own home, including cooking for the day, before starting her work at our building. She’s at my place sharp at 8-15 after finishing her work at my friend’s place.
In between her work, she makes three trips (you got it right…three trips) to her daughters’ school, which is about a kilometer and in the East Grant Road, because both her daughters have different timing in the same school.

As I see a tired but smiling Manisha finish her day at about 10-30 at night, I wonder each & every night--where does she find those stamina?

I’m flabbergasted by her expertise, the flair with which she delivers her duty to the satisfaction of each and every member of five families. It’s awesome—something I never experienced anywhere in India and trust me-- I’ve been going to many parts of this country with my husband’s posting.

There must be many more Manishas in Mumbai---who become like a friend and also a source of encouragement to many like me.

I salute them all for they can actually beat any top management company with their skill.

You were right again Shobhaa!

Thursday, April 5, 2007


The tussle between my head & heart
Is getting more & more intense

I try to go up the ladder
I want to listen to all that my heart says

But suddenly head pulls me back
Scolding gets from bad to worse

As I weep…
Both head & heart stand by me—
Hand in hand

Both embrace me.
Serenity reinstated
As they make truce

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The assault on my honesty

My niece was astonished that I offered to sit on the bench outside her ATM while she withdraws her money.
“Why should you sit there? Come, come. Come inside with me.”
I reluctantly went into that glass cubicle remembering how I enjoyed watching my friends and relatives as they inserted their magic cards and saw the fascinating machine giving out the amount of money they needed. I was truly captivated by the act of that machine. I still am. But I’m equally impressed by all such machines, including the one which give out colorful bubblegum balls. Somehow, whenever I see them, I always remember the story I heard from my nani about that forest which had full of gold trees with diamonds and pearls as their fruits.
It’s been a while since I’m inside this cubicle. For a long time now, I prefer to sit or stand outside ATMs while the card owners go inside and get the money.
It was a rainy day. I accompanied my best friend, who’s new to the city, to help her find an ATM. As our taxi waited outside, I ran behind my friend to the machine to watch her withdraw money.
“You needn’t come. I’ll manage.”
“No, no. I just want to watch you withdraw.” I was too excited to see her disapproving face.
The assault on my honesty and integrity was severe. Unexpected and absolute. The manicured hand that blocked my view from reaching the keyboard was too heavy on my heart. And my decision about not entering an ATM with anybody was instant.