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Migratory maids

Of course, you have heard of migratory birds. But I'm no Salim Ali, the late 'birdman'. I have nothing to do with birds since I am made for maids, who work in your or my home. Harbans Singh Virdi writes

punjab Updated: Jul 25, 2012 10:10 IST

Of course, you have heard of migratory birds. But I'm no Salim Ali, the late 'birdman'. I have nothing to do with birds since I am made for maids, who work in your or my home. These women are migratory maids, because after working for every few months, they will tell you to look for another of their species since they are leaving for their homeland to meet their relatives.

Going by my experience and observation, they normally leave on the eve of some important festival in their home states.

Therefore, when my charming maid left on the eve of Holi, leaving me in the lurch, I was forced to seek another migratory maid. After a search lasting a few months, I happened to run into a very hi-fi maid, who used to work in homes of bureaucrats, ministers or MLAs.

Since a retired but romantic bureaucrat had recommended her case to me, I decided to try my luck. But before starting work, she made it clear that she would first inspect my house and then 'interview' me to see whether the house was work-worthy and the man worth taking a risk.

So before she came on the appointed hour, I switched on the AC in the drawing room and dusted the sofa and chairs, which had acquired a dignified layer of dust. But my plan went haywire. No sooner did the maid arrive than she headed straight for my kitchen. "Why does the kitchen stink so badly?" she shouted. "Madam," I meekly replied, "the previous maid did not pay much heed to cleanliness."

But she was a no-nonsense maid. She told me sternly that she did not like men speaking ill of their maids, since like marriages, maids are made in heaven. I lowered my eyes to concede the verbal bout. I could not scold her since she was not my wife.

Later, after chatting for a few minutes in the drawing room, she told me to produce a no-objection certificate (NOC). I was baffled. Making her terms clear and transparent, she said, "See, gentleman, once I start working, I do not leave midway like others.

In addition to the NOC from your previous maid, you have to fill a bond that you will not fire me at the sight of another beautiful maid." When I told her that the previous maid had left for her hometown, she told me, "In that case, you will have to submit an affidavit to that effect."

So, I ran to advocate Kanhaiya Lal in the district courts, who produced the relevant document, stating that "so and so… was a bona fide liar, whose fake matriculate and 10 minus two (middle class) certificates I had been verifying for years without my stamp and his signature." Now, with the document in hand, my new maid seemed visibly pleased and relieved.

However, the 'interview' was still not over. When I finally asked her as to when she would grace my home, pat came the snub: "Have you got your character and innocence verified by the police?" I was stunned. "I think owners are supposed to report about their servants to the police," I stammered.

But the knowledgeable maid told me that the police had amended (read reversed) the rule after the Guwahati incident. She told me clearly that she would not work at my home unless the police verified my credentials. I had to give in.

Now. while you are reading this piece, I'm at the police station, waiting for the 'character-clearance' certificate from the SHO.