Interpersonal-Maid servants

He was newly married and he took his mother and his wife to Kolkatta. He used to pay the maid 10/- every month to do the house hold work.

Date: 19 Nov 2010; Time: 4 p.m. To 5.30 p.m.
Venue: Banjara Academy; No of people present: 9
Topic: What motivates maid servants and how to build a better relationship

man milanRamaswamy: Ramaswamy shared his experience about a maid servant at his house. Once the maid did not come to work for about two days without any prior notice, and when she came back Ms. Ramaswamy was very furious and scolded her. The result was that the maid never came back the next day. So they had to search for another maid who could work for them. When they appointed another maid they decided to treat her differently. She was given clothes and good food, she was also given sweets for festivals and was treated well, they also showed empathy towards her and helped in her daughter's education. Now the maid was very happy and was always regular with work and completed the work satisfactorily. Ramaswamy felt that this method may work with some maids but will not work with all.

Partha: Partha said that the concept of 'Domestic servant' has undergone a lot of change. He shared his experience about how two servants had changed his view of looking at life. He recalled an incident that took place a few years ago. A couple Muniswamy and Muniyamma had come to Bangalore 40 years ago and since they did not have a home they decided to put up a small shed on the empty land in front of Partha's house. The couple were very cooperative and aways helped Patha and his wife with their works. Muniyamma was very fond of Ms. Partha and always would look up to her for any advice or help. Unfortunately they were also responsible in shattering the peace in Partha's family. A problem arose between both the families and the effect of this is still experienced by Partha and his wife. After a few years of this dispute Partha discovered that Muniswamy's family had become quite wealthy and had the same respect for him and his wife, they had also offered help to Partha. He also understood that when he had taught his children to develop a Goal in life and work towards it, Muniyamma had raised her children by teaching them how to look at life. He compared both the families and said that Muniyamma's family was much more peaceful when compared to his family.

Sapna: Sapna shared her experience about her maid who had come to her house when her son was 3 months old Man Milanand worked for her for 16 years. Sapna said that she was very satisfied with the maid's work and felt happy that she got such a nice person. She also mentioned that their were no confusions at home since the maid had kept everything very organised and in place. She said that there was always food ready at the table which made her very happy. Sapna also recalled how the maid used to punctually come to her house everyday at 6 o'clock in the morning irrespective of how late she went back the previous night. She also told that the maid showed a lot of interest towards her son than towards her daughter, she would always cook her son's favorite dishes. Sapna sadly mentioned that she had retired her maid when she was 85 years, but Sapna didn't realise the age until the maid's grand daughter told her. Sapna also feels that she has not paid the maid enough for the services that the maid had provided. She always compares her new cook to the previous maid, telling her how the old maid worked.

Surekha: Surekha mentioned about the man servant at her house. His name was Raju and he was 27 years old. Raju came to Surekha's house as a 15 years old boy and has worked for her for 12 years now. Surekha mentioned that Raju was a very talented and creative person, but at the same time he was very self opinionated and short tempered also. He always wanted to do the work in his manner. Initially Surekha felt very difficult to adjust with this behaviour of Raju. As she was paying him well and giving him all the facilities she could not understand why he behaved this way. She then decided to speak to him and discovered that Raju was orphaned at a very young age and was brought up by his grand mother. Surekha then understood that Raju had grown up with his own ideas and his own set of rules. She then changed her approach towards him. Whenever she want him to do a work she would give him only the basic guidelines and let him decide on how to go about doing the work. She would also involve him to prepare the menu for important occasions. After this she started to notice that Raju grew to be a very efficient helper. Surekha mentioned that it was a basic common sense that when people are treated the right way and are given a sense of belonging they would start feeling good about and it and work productively.

Veena: Veena said that she had about one or two servants who used to take care of her son, but they were not very efficient. She then got another servant who empathised with her and stayed for sometime. But Veena could not keep her employed due to some circumstances.

S.R. Krishshnamurthy: Krishnamurthy recalled an incident that took place when he was in Kolkatta about 35 years ago. He was newly married and he took his mother and his wife to Kolkatta. He used to pay the maid 10/- every month to do the house hold work. His mother, on learning this insisted that she would do the work instead of unnecessarily spending on the maid. But when he came to Bangalore in the year 1987, he realised how different the things were. He also mentioned how times have changed and now he has to pay the maid 1000/- for the little work that they do. He also mentioned that he had a servant who had completed her P.U.C. And always carried a mobile phone, she would do the work and simultaneously speak on the phone. He also mentioned that he paid the maid a Bonus for Diwali, only to motivate her to do the work. Krishnamurthy mentioned that the best thing to do was to be self reliant, by doing the work by ourselves one need not depend on another person for help.

ManMilanReema: Reema mentioned that she has been observing laborers from a very young age. She had been seeing them in her father's factory, and shop. There are also half a dozen of workers at home. From the observations she concluded that they have to be paid a salary that is very competitive. If they get a better salary but the employer is very abusive they are still ready to do the work, rather than work for someone who will pay them with a lower salary but treats them well. So the core consideration for them is their salary. She said that 80% of the workers always think of changing their work place even though they are paid well or treated well and 20% of the workers stay in a particular work place for a very long time. Reema told about three laborers who used to work for her grand father and worked for her father too. She also shared about her experience when she first came to Bangalore, she was with her cousins who were addicted to tea. Hence there were tea cups all over the house, so the place looked very untidy. She recalled how her maid would always complain about the house but also worked well. She said that she had used all her counseling and life skills on her maid and in-turn she had learnt how to manage the work. She also mentioned about the stealing habit of the servants which upsets many people. At her house if somethings went missing the parents would blame her and her siblings for it and not the servants, this helped her to become more responsible.

Jayaram: Jayaram spoke about his experience when he employed a maid at his house in 1962. There was one particular male servant who would always go to the market for purchase of vegetables and other groceries. Jayaram would always ask for the accounts which the servant would give. One day he found out that the servant was cheating on him about the prices on vegetables. He also mentioned about another servant who was from Tamil Nadu, who had the habit of stealing. He said that the interpersonal aspect played a very important part.

Ali hilariously recalled actress Aruna Irani playing the role of a maid servant in a Hindi movie and her dialogues. He also highlighted a few points given by everyone.

Ali spoke about a company in Hassan called Hymat Sinca Linens. They usually select girls of 17-18 years from the nearing villages to work for their factory. The girls are provided with accommodation in a hostel in a safe atmosphere and food. They also provide them with education affiliated to the Karnataka State University for B.A. They are also classes for spoken English skills and personality development. The company ensures that all the girls are educated well and they are also not expected to work for the company after they are graduated. At present about 320 girls have completed their graduation.

Ali spoke about another incident that took place in his residence. His neighboring house was empty and since it was a huge bungalow it required a caretaker, her name Sharadhamma. She would spend sometime at Ali residence also by watching T.V. or doing some small help in the house work. She also had great respect for Ms. Ali. One day she brought along her sister who was very old and introduced her as Jayamma. Jayamma started making regular visits to Ali's residence and sometimes stayed overnight. This became on regular basis and she would stay there for about 15 days at a stretch. Jayamma was deaf and had a fascination for watching T.V. and imported goods. She would sometimes do some petty jobs in the house but most of the time one could find her seated before television. She had told that she had three siblings and went to stay with them for few days. Once she fell sick and Ali was told by the Doctor that she had high Blood Pressure and had severe diabetes also. She was advised by the Doctor to get admitted to the Hospital for treatment which she refused. It was surprising to Ali that though Jayamma had all these health issues she showed no symptoms and looked completely relaxed even after she was told about them.

One day Jayamma passed away, and Ali had to inform Sharadamma and all her other siblings. It was during this time that he discovered that none of them including Sharadamma were her siblings. Jayamma had told everyone that she was with them but none of them had known her well. They thought she could be her distant relative.

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