>My driver is in love. He’s having an affair. With a girl he was to have an arranged marriage with, but the engagement was called off. And why should I be blogging about this? Because if he doesn’t get the family approval to marry that girl, he plans to run away. From home, from the city, from WORK. And that’s when we hit the panic buttons and begin to take active interest in his love life.
So here we are trying to convince his father, an orthodox Muslim, to let the young fella marry the girl of his choice. Of course, we’d do it for him even if he were not threatening to quit the job, because he’s been working with us for over four years now. But what makes us pray fervently that he be united with his Lady Love is that threat. Seriously. And it just made me laugh out loud when The Guy and I, lying in bed last night, realised we were discussing our driver’s love life!
Don’t get me wrong. We are not one of those heartless, slave-drivers who wouldn’t care what happened to all the domestic staff if we were assured they were bound to us for life. And are only interested in getting our work done. Far from it. But when you start discussing your driver’s love life, it’s just an awkward, self-conscious situation. It’s not like helping someone get their daughter married. Or get medical aid for someone’s father. This is their love lives we’re talking about!
Which reminds me of another torrid love affair that bloomed between a maid and a man servant at our place a few years ago. Now both of them were just the kind of domestic help no one ever wants to part with. The girl was smart, quick and hardworking; the boy doubled up as the errand boy at office, because he could read English as well, and did just about all chores you can think of doing at home. When the two of them hit it off, and got romantically involved with each other, we don’t know. But at some point my mother-in-law started keeping an eye on them. Not enough though to prevent them from having some unsafe sex. Oh yes! Right under our roof, God knows where (it’s a big enough house, there’s actually no dearth of unused places about here)! And pronto, the girl got pregnant and the secret was out. We were in a state of shock for days after the boy confided in M-I-L, wept in repentance, but too late. They were chided and reprimanded and all that, but M-I-L, being the messenger of love that she is, asked the girl’s mother to get the two married off. But the mother would have none of it – no shaadi for my daughter outside the biraadari, she said. The pregnancy was aborted, the girl married off to someone else in a month’s time, and the boy, well, he was so embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d done (it was consensual sex, so the girl was to be blamed just as much as him) that he returned home. End of the story. And so, not only did do pyar karne wale get separated, but two hardworking helpers were also lost forever to the household.
What’s the moral of the story? In order to retain good domestic helpers, ensure they have a happy love life!