the ‘Bai’ league.

I am currently in my extreme lazy moods. they occur from time to time when I refuse to cook, or make my  bed or write a blog or even pick up a phone. Mostly I think it is my time to visit home and that is just adding to the listlessness I feel nowadays.

To top it all my maid hasn’t shown up today. Though they are called maids they are really the ones who rule the roost nowadays. You must keep your maid happy to ensure good work and an appearance at work everyday. The day she doesn’t show up on time you will find the mistress of the house in a highly agitated state, mumbling to herself, straining to hear footsteps outside her door, making trips to the kitchen sink and giving audible sigh’s. The dilemma usually is whether she has decided to bunk work today or is going to come late. You don’t want to wash up only to then hear her pealing the doorbell, It gives you a very nasty knotty sensation in the pit of your stomach.  And if you leave it too late then as the day progresses and other things demand your attention the small pile of dishes seems to acquire a ‘mount Everest-like’ form. It may be realistic if you are adding to the pile of dishes but usually its just in your mind’s eye.

Everything gets pushed back,and your mood takes a turn towards the worst. The brunt of this mood swing is usually borne by the sleepy husband, as he is subjected to the ills being perpetuated on his wife. He must rally his foggy senses to sympathize or join the list of hateful people of the day. It is essential for the wife to give vent to her feelings onto her husband’s head as it would never do to try that tactic on the maid. It might hurt her ego and then where would we be. It is not really that difficult to check your anger because usually when the maid appears after an unaccounted leave and you open the door to her she appears to be emanating an unearthly glow and it swells your heart with happiness and brings to mind soothing mountain streams and chirping birds that has instantaneous calming effect on the frayed nerves.

Everyone has a ‘bai’ story to tell. Like my mother’s maid who is always late, not very willing to work and wants to watch the ‘english’ channels on the telly. My mum-in-law’s maid demands her favourite food, expects a set of gold earrings at least once a year and usually scolds her if she hasn’t cleared the table by the time she arrives. A friend of  mine who follows a diet, had one who loved butter and ‘ghee’ with her food which had then to be bought especially for her!!

80% of the time when you see groups of women going for their morning or evening walks and having a serious discussion it is about the atrocities suffered by them at the hands of their respective maids. But it is also essential when listening to such stories to remember that women lie most blatantly to each other about their maids because if you praise your maid too much in public she is liable to be stolen from right under your noses. And trust me, ‘Bai stealing’ is extremely rampant in our country and has led to all out wars in otherwise quiet, sleepy neighbourhoods.  The main protagonists in these wars are the wives of the opposing households but it is not uncommon to see the husbands and children also being dragged into it. Even the most sophisticated women have been seen to give in the impulse to hurt each other in the ‘Bai wars’. I remember a neighbour who got so incensed by the woman who lived above her flat for stealing her maid that she got the water supply to her place choked off by stuffing cloth into all the pipes.

Of course, they are tyrannical employers as much as maids but they are few and far between. In a fast progressing India where more and more women are working, the Indian maid is and essential and irreplaceable cog in the wheels of a smoothly running household. Though, a good maid is equal to her weight in gold. For example an aunt of mine has had a maid who has been working for her for more than a decade and is a complete gem.

As you can probably understand by my mellow writing, my ‘bai’ has just made an entrance and quite quite ‘maid’ my day.


4 thoughts on “the ‘Bai’ league.

  1. You have an elegant form of expression, intricate, tying many elements together.

    I like how you can speak so casually about having a maid. I also like how casually you talk about lying being customarily woven into your lives. In the US, to be accused of lying is a great dishonor.


    1. Lol! its not called lying per se but is being ‘diplomatic’. And it is a purely womanly thing to do whether you are in the US or a small island in Bali. Women will be possessive over the smallest things and unnecessarily paranoid anywhere you go my dear.
      Lying is dishonorable in every culture in the world my friend. If you are too rigid in life it will be very difficult to survive. Be flexible, and allow people their little foibles, those are the things that make life interesting. Open your eyes, everybody lies in big ways or small, for the right reasons or wrong. That doesn’t make them dishonourable or bad. That just makes them human.
      BTW, this long answer was prompted by your one sentence where you imply that nobody lies in the US and anybody who does is dishonourable. The world is grey; not black and white, love! Dishonourable is very heavy word, use it judiciously. 🙂


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