For those who are aware of my being maid-less for two months, there’s good news. I finally worked up the courage to ask the chowkidar to send me some maids needing extra work, something very convenient about living in an apartment complex, a place usually teeming with maids but which I didn’t avail of as it took me some time to mentally prepare myself for the invasion of a person other than Zahooran into my life and the inner precincts of my home. Either that or I’ve had it with doing all the work myself!
The first one that turned up at my doorstep was tightly wrapped in a black scarf and a svelte burqa and introduced herself as Shagufta. She worked at That Woman’s place… something that should have immediately disqualified her if I wasn’t desperate! She was young and giggly and seemed willing enough to take up the job offer, provided her ability to clean passed my exacting standards. 😛 That is, until she learnt about the existence of Fuzzy. Apparently, she’d had an ‘incident’ with a cat at someone’s house that caused her to break a considerable amount of crockery and ruin a carpet with spilt food, and that was enough to make her decide she wasn’t too keen on working in a house that housed a cat as well.
Next was an older woman with a pathetically woeful expression on her face from whom in the course of a 10 minute conversation I learnt her name was Aisha, that she had five grown up daughters and a bit of debt that needed to be paid off. Her husband died after being electrocuted two years ago, and she was searching for work that would be close to her home (in Neelum Colony) which paid her a decent amount for a couple of hours of work a day, and didn’t exploit her. She had just had a tooth extracted, which added to her woebegone look, and she talked with a palm pressed against her cheek. I told her to come and work the next morning so I could assess her and gauge her level of annoyingness (as of course, ALL maids manage to grate on my nerves a bit, through perhaps no fault of their own, just an occupational hazard I suppose).
The same day, another maid showed up, a nymph-like pixie called Mumtaz. She heard through the chowkidar and Shagufta that I needed help so came to enquire. I have known Mumtaz since the early days of living here as she worked as a part-timer across the landing at a neighbour’s place as a laundry and dusting maid. She came to my rescue once when I had been abandoned by Shehnaz, Zahooran’s niece. Looking at her you can’t tell that she is a mother of four, but you can easily tell that she is far more knowledgeable about surviving in a rough city and wise beyond her years when it comes to the occult. Yes dear readers, she can detect the presence of evil spirits from a mile away and can easily interpret strange occurrences as signs from the supernatural world. But more on Mumtaz and her powers later. For now, suffice to say that she superceded the forlorn Aisha in my preference. Perhaps because Aisha didn’t turn up the next day like she was supposed to. Or maybe the mention of debt, a large brood and a dead husband meant potential for me getting sucked into a cycle of pity and sympathy that might be hard to extricate myself from a few months down the road, when she would have borrowed money and further increased her general indebtedness.
So Mumtaz it is, and I’m quite glad of it, as she has an unobtrusive presence in the house, does her work quickly and efficiently, and most importantly, saves me from my own ADD and OCD. The question is….do I keep her for the long run…or only until Zahooran comes back from the village as she professed she would? Do I stay loyal to Zahooran for her hard work and her honesty, or do I betray her for being an annoying cow…? I know she is worried about losing her job here for being away more than two months and I am completely justified in employing another maid without any obligations to her…..
Or am I…? Is there such a thing as fidelity to hired help?