The sense of rumour
Gossip is one of the things every household maid is associated with immediately. And it’s quite true. All the helpers I ever came across were pro-gossipers. Not this one though.
Shraddha, that’s what the lady who cleans our house is called. By everyone, including her 4 year old kid who manages to call her “Saada” followed by humourous “dosa”. And unlike most maids, she is absolutely gossip averse.
She never tells me how the unmarried neighbour couple came drunk on a Sunday afternoon or how this one girl spent the entire weekend with the four guys who live beside and wore “only shorts” around the apartment. All of this I get to know from my cook. Who, at the end of it all, nonchalantly says,“Why should we care? It’s their life.” and yet turns up with something more the next day. She is such a huge gossip lover that one of my recent guests became the victim of her useless bashing for 20 minutes while I went for a shower. (Poor guy.)
But this woman. She started working with us last month. And, she is not much of a talker. Every morning she turns up at 7.30, begins with cleaning the litter boxes of cats, makes herself a cup of chai, plays with the big cats for a while before heading to knock our doors. The kittens are usually in my room (because they sleep on my mattress or my hair or my pillows while I roll on the floor). She playfully heads them towards the balcony to clean the room in peace.
The first conversation we ever had was when she discovered the cats and their newborn kittens. She asked if she could take some milk and feed it to them. We later adopted them. So yeah it’s basically because of her, I found those little furrs of wonder.
The next conversation we had was last Friday morning. She came in as usual and I told her to be a little more careful with the cleaning because the house was to guest 17 people.
All shocked and confused, she asked,“Didi, where is the space? Where will so many people sit?”
“Arey we’ll adjust, don’t worry. We’ll put the plastic chairs in the balcony and some rugs around in the living room. If nothing works, we’ll move to the rescue area where you’ll have to help with cleaning later.”
“Okay, what about food? Have you told the cook or you’ll bring it from outside?”
“We’ll manage from outside. They are only coming for a few hours. And don’t worry, I’m getting plastic plates and glasses. Empty alcohol bottles — I’ll make sure — go back in the crate. If you have to do some extra cleaning tomorrow, we’ll pay you later. Okay?”
“Okay but who are these people, didi?”
“They are some friends and also poets. Remember how I was shouting loudly (was rehearsing, actually) the other day speaking something? They also do that but way better than me.”
*giggles* “Acha. Can I also come for sometime?”
*awkward pause* *my friend and I stare at each other, confused*
“Sorry, ignore I asked that. What will I do after coming anyway. Sorry, please ignore me.”
“You can actually come if you want. But what do you think you’ll do?”
“I just want to sit and watch. I always hear you all giggling and wonder what is so funny about your lives.”
To this, my friend and I, both broke to laughter.
“Fine, drop by. But I’m warning you there will be times when you won’t understand anything. Just don’t be awkward about it, okay?”
She agreed. And she did come. She laughed. And she clapped wherever needed. She was in awe of the guitar my friend played. He even dedicated few songs to her and she enjoyed all that not-so-minute attention she was getting.
The next morning, she came at her usual time and I got a chance to ask her how she felt. Giggling, she replied,“I used to think there are limited reasons to be happy but yesterday, you all changed that. One can be happy as long as they want. Thanks for letting me join, didi.” She continued to praise my friend for being so good at playing the guitar. We both were so touched by this that my friend wrote and recited a poem about her and I wrote this post.
To “Saada dosa”! 😀