Monday, August 31, 2015

The logic behind maximum wages

Our women are logical beings. World over there are discussions on minimum wages. Even in India, there are plans afoot to regulate wages and leave for maids who do house work.
But in our locality, women got together for something totally different. Same topic, but with a different spirit.
While social minded citizens want to ensure that minimum wages are paid, middle class women met to ensure no one paid the maids more, and create an increase in their pay. In other words, they want to fix maximum wages. They requested everyone in the locality to pay the same so that some maids will not compare themselves with others and ask for an increased pay.
Now I am not taking a superior position here. I am not a benevolent mistress. I don't have a maid. I did try hiring one, thinking that I was providing employment to someone, and it was a good way to keep house. But the maid thought I was too soft, started coming very late, at odd hours, starting from two in the afternoon, to any time later.I would have cleaned and washed up before she came.I felt that she and her girls were laughing at me. So I realized I did not possess enough mistressing skills, and got rid of her.

I am a mere  observer from far away, of this drama, and not a qualified commentator.From what I see around  me, in spite of all the houses in our gated community being identical, the work in each of them is different. In some house there are just two people, while in some there are three generations of extended family, that plays hosts to a steady stream of relatives. Lots of activity in some, very less in others. Cooking, tea making, cooking, juice making more cooking, lots more of cleaning and washing up. Some yuppies and really old people just order in or eat out. Not much work there. Some people adore their homes, gardens and get people to clean it better than professionals. A few people like me think talking to maids and getting them to work is hard work, and let them do stuff, as they wish. Some very hard working pros may want to pay more since they want to ensure there is help around.

How can we have uniform maximum wages?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tragic with very little magic

Santara or Sallekhana is a practise by which people of a particular religion stop eating food when they feel death is near. They do not eat till they die. Nearly two hundred people adopt this practice in India every year.

Today I read an article, which says that the government's ban on Santara is a misunderstanding of the practice. The supporters of this kind of starving say that during this period, the one on a fast has risen above desire.

I know a tragic story about this practice. A young girl from this community excelled at school work. She started talking to her parents to permit her to study in college. Her grand mother condemned the very idea, and strongly protested against the girl going to college. She insisted that the girl should be married in her mid teens. But the girl continued to beg her parents and kept at her studies, scoring full marks in nearly all the subjects in school. Her class twelve exams were about to begin.

It is with a heavy heart that I continue this story. Ten days before the exam, the grandmother of the girl declared that she wanted to start her fast unto death. Twelve days later, on the day the girl was to write her exam in mathematics, her grandmother died. Before she started her fast, she made here son promise that the whole family would travel a thousand miles to her birthplace with her dead body and cremate it there. So off went the family with the dead body, as the school authorities fumed at the loss of one of their star pupils.

She was forgotten by everyone soon. She still is forgotten. Married of in a year, she works from four in the morning till nine at night, cooking and cleaning in a joint family and taking care of her kids whom she delivered while still in her teens. She is like millions of women in this county, not totally unhappy, leading secure, predictable lives and feeling that they have somehow missed out on something. Men in such families feel the same way too, but they enjoy a better status and think it is cool to blame the women in their lives for their situation.