Being born and brought up in India, one tends to take hired help for granted. The time a toddler learns to say his/ her first words, chances are it's not the traditional 'mama' or 'papa', but 'didi' (sister, typically elder) or 'auntie' instead. Because that's what the Nanny would be called. Growing up, you're convinced that your house help is dearer to you than a cousin. More familiar, too.
I don't remember ever having to lift a finger. Sure, Mum made sure that my sister and I did routine chores like making our own beds, dusting and setting the table for dinner and such. But that's because, according to her, those were things you needed to know and were consequently non-negotiable. As also doing the laundry and cooking, both of which my sister happily complied with - while I didn't.
Result: much to Mum's consternation, I couldn't boil water for the longest time. Not even for a cuppa tea. My idea of the ideal cup: a teabag popped into a mug, which was then zapped through the microwave. Still is, actually. Had a friend over a couple months ago, who swore that he'd never had tea as bad as the one I'd made and offered him. Think he was traumatised, really. Won't be surprised if he's stopped drinking tea altogether. Must ask him sometime. *makes mental note*
Ditto coffee. Where would I be without the coffee maker? Given the title of this blog, it's obvious that I have coffee flowing through my veins. But nothing makes me wanna edge up to the gas stove and make it the traditional(?) way.
Did you ever manage to burn Maggi noodles? I did. They stuck to the bottom of the pan so well, that a new pan could've been lifted off the actual one. You know, sorta like a pie crust. Then there were times there was so much water left, that the noodles aimlessly floated around in it. They're now called soupy noodles, and packaged and sold. Since I didn't patent it, I'm still waiting for my first million.
Of course, to have survived, no surprises to know that the mother is the World's Best Cook. Period.
Coming to housework. Again, there's help at hand, so at the most the Dusting Fairy needs to be appeased, off and on. And the Wardrobe Monster, because there's no way that I'm responsible for the way my wardrobe looks, minutes after I've organised it.
As with most things, there's the good news - bad news setup here as well. There are times you're thankful for the hired help - it makes it so much easier to juggle both work and home. And children too, I'm given to understand. The bad part - in a lot of homes, the help isn't treated well (never mind fair), and sadly, that's because labour is ridiculously cheap. Terminating the services of someone is as easy as changing clothes, and there's never a whiff of a contract, formal or otherwise. The lame joke that does the rounds is, wives are more concerned about the well being of their house help rather than the husbands', because they're the ones who keep the house going. Meh.
That said, it's true that I've never washed my car.