The way I care for my househelp etc., makes my hubby wonder whether I was born a housemaid in my previous janam. I don’t know about that. But I merely think I can become that voice for those unheard, unseen people that’s all. And where can I share their agonies. Only here in my blog. The way they struggle for their livelihoods, their tough survival conditions and their simple way of life touches me most. The injustice of it all angers me. I honestly feel connected to lower middle class lot, I don’t know why. May be because of my mother who used to take us girls to her school until she was around. Growing up with blind and deaf-mute girls who we got to meet and play with as kids every month and during vacations, watching the girls in running and sack races, lemon and spoon etc., all that must have touched something in my heart. Many of my friends find this empathy of mine unusual. Never felt, the girls in mother’s school were different. The notion of disability never entered my mind for decades because I was used to treating the handicapped as pretty regular from early on in life. Same applied to the poor. My mother got our housemaid, a teenage girl, married a mere few months before she passed away. She footed the entire expense and treated the girl like her own daughter in our presence. No special treatment for us daughterss over our maid who mostly lived with us. We two daughters ate our food or snacks with our maid Kanniamma who was mere few years older than us. That sense of equality probably got deep-rooted in my heart.
Most of all I reckon that those who work as housemaids etc., are there only because of their birth conditions. We only have to do a quick stocktaking to realize the injustice and unfairness of it all. Is anyone from my circle/community working as housemaid? driver? plumber? grave digger? scavenger? How come I and my family have a good birth? How come we have access to finest things in life that we take for granted? How come we are privileged and we assume we are born to this. On our way to here, who did my forefathers suppress. Whose livelihoods and dignity did our ancestors tread upon. At whose expense am I here at all.
These are the exact thoughts that I harbour which makes me go soft to the poorest. Sometimes their ignorance and helplessness can make me cry. Their mere unquestioning of their state, mutely submitting to injustice can depress me.
Reservations etc., can improve lives but the stigma attached to generations of oppressed will take a millennium to clear. Not a favour, we are paying for damages.
If my words can stop even a single soul to pause and reflect, that I shall count as my greatest victory.
I write for my own feelgood factor, not to impress.