I can now confirm that the 'other woman' in the phrase often used in Hindi, "Pati , Patni aur Woh", which translates to Man, Wife and the other woman (mistress) is not what it seems like. I have experienced a Eureka moment after figuring out who this other woman is. One understands 'the other woman' a lot better and in clear light when one lives in the city. The other woman is none other than (.......drum roll......) the 'bai' , which is Bombay's term for a maid but literal translation is 'a lady' in marathi. The city is addicted to them. These Bais who come to your house for a meagre 12- 15 pounds a month are undoubtedly the other woman of every family. Oh my my, how the world revolves around these lanky, feeble looking women in traditional nauvari sari.
The true essence of Maharashtra..the colourful saris worn in a weird way, tobacco stained teeth, nose ring, tanned skin.. Naah i couldn't care less. Just come home, wash my dishes, mop the floor, clean the bathrooms and laundry and relieve me from household chores misery. In Bombay, the lady of the house doesn't care much if the husband is late from work or kids fractured a toe in school.. what they worry for is domestic issues in their bai's houses shouldn't disrupt a clockwork like schedule of house cleaning ! It works in a circle, if bai's husband doesn't drink alcohol, he doesn't ask for money and he doesn't beat her up and thus her kids go to school as normal and she comes to work. Hence, pray every day to God for peace in their Bai's homes [Dear God, Please help Saku Bai's husband give up alcohol.. ]
I find women on the streets/ lifts/ fancy cars/ posh restaurants/ cinemas talking only about one thing - their precious house help all the time. No one cares about dipping grades of their children in school, stock market, their husband's extra marital affairs or global warming. All they chatter about 24/7 is about their Bai woes.
Excerpts from some of my eavesdropping abilities.
- Mrs Tandon " OH Pinky, you know what, Flat 803 pays 1000 rupees more to her bai, no wonder mine has skipped work since two days. These women talk. I cannot afford to pay sheila bai more (teary-eyed)." Three other ladies waiting for the children's school bus to halt look at her as though its the end of the world from here. (BAi Politics)
- On Christmas Party celebrations "Oh Mrs Mehta, my Susheela bai's neighbour's sister-in-laws son was found unconscious in the bathroom.. when i learnt that, I quickly removed 1000 rupee note and handed it over to my bai.. something to keep her happy and motivated to keep coming to work. what if she goes away for his funeral. Main toh marr hi jaongi. " All the other ladies go "ohhh" "yeah yeah"... "tsk tsk"
- Two ladies meeting in the lift... "Ohh Sunita.... Didn't Kanta Bai come today ? You have dark circles" said One. "Arre Bhagwan, what to do, Kanta Bai is mother in law is unwell, i have sent my driver to Lilavati Hospital to get best medicines for her. I hate my life. Why does God do this to me ?"
Every Mumbaikar has grown to believe that life will not function as normal without them. They are on speed dial. They are constantly on your mind. If you see a woman looking out of her window, and you think awww, look at that woman waiting for her kids/ husband you are thinking wrong, she is waiting for her Bai and no one else. She knows the kids and the husband aint goin anywhere.. but god forbid something happens to the Bai or her family. A Bollywood actor fancied his Bai so much that he went to the extent of raping her (yikes) and coincidentally his name is Shiney. LOve for sparkly things and people who make that possible ehh Shiney ?When the doorbell rings, they all rush to open the door and when they see their bai standing, they break into a ear to ear smile, almost foreseeing the sparkle of white marble floor in their eyes.
For the past two years (only), I have done my own cooking, laundry, cleaning, dinner parties without any sort of help from anyone. Well I am single person, so maybe it is a lot easier to handle chores my way. So I cut some slack to all those yummy mummies out there struggling to balance their professional and personal life.Kudos. But for me, I prefer doing (MOST OF) my work my way. I hate it when somebody butts in when I'm in the kitchen cooking, or sorting out laundry *wink*. I often get cranky and agitated, one of the many qualities I have inherited from my Mom. Hence I find it strange that a housewife hires a cook at home to prepare one evening meal. How hard is it to make a meal for your husband ? In fact, why not cook with love and feed your family ? Maybe someday I could blog about ' how to cook the most easiest and quickest meals with love.' As a life's rookie, I might seem self -righteous, over smart, and immature but I feel I can manage doing this for my family each day everyday.Well time shall unfold what happens in the future. I am open to even appointing 6 bais, 2 cooks and 4 drivers in the future, being fully aware that all of the these people would be solely responsible for my obesity.
(Ting tong) Got to go, My bai is here... *yuss*