Tuesday, January 02, 2007

goodbye, my first maid... :(

So one fine day, my maid’s thumbi (little brother in Tamil) comes to visit her on his way to school. My spider sense was tingling because it’s unusual for him to come before school. Then, in the afternoon, her Aka (older sister) and brotherinlaw/uncle (that’s a whole other post) comes to visit. I began to get the feeling that this was the moment i had been dreading for a long time; this was when i would find out that they were going to marry her off and i would have to do without her forever.

And it was true. I asked Anju (that’s her name) for details after the Aka left. What’s his name, what’s he do, is he cute, yada yada. She said “I don’t know.” I was like “Your Aka didn’t tell you? or you didn’t ask??” She just shrugged. People say she’s lucky her family ran out of uncles, because that is their tradition - the daughters marry the mother’s brother. I had thought her Aka’s husband was a bit older than Aka.

So the day we all dreaded came around. i gifted her a bunch of things that only she could use (what tends to happen is that whatever you give to your maid, her family will take from her if it’s of value to them) like drawing pencils, and pictures of Anjali. when i went to her quarters to give her these tokens, i saw she was in tears. i had already been crying for a few days at the thought of her leaving - so many of Anjali’s firsts were witnessed by her and me, and i know i spent more time with this maid in the last year than with anybody else. I kept with my American instincts and i cried with her and hugged her goodbye. On the back of Anjal’s picture, i wrote down our contact details - just in case, her husband doesn’t treat her right.

A couple weeks later, we got a call from her. When my husband’s cousin asked about “the boy,” she could almost hear Anju blushing. “He’s nice, aka.”

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