Sunday, December 27, 2009

My friend Kamala

Acquaintance with Kamala is only two months old. I had been to my hometown for the preparation of an upcoming wedding in the family. Visiting my hometown after a span of six months required a lot of cleaning and setting up the house. Now, since there was a wedding coming up, this needed much more than the usual. Usually, I  get someone or the other to help me out. This time even after a couple of days of landing, there was no one in sight.   I tried all my resources but of no use.

Then there was the doorbell. When I opened, I saw a beautiful woman in her late twenties dressed in a synthetic sari with simple jewels in her ears and neck. There was this anklet full of gungroos which caught my attention. The look on my face posed enough questions which brought me answers from her. She is a part time maid who had heard from someone that I am in need of someone to help me out. When asked about the salary structure, she would not speak about it and left to my discretion to decide. She had already decided to work for me.

She had passed her tenth standard, married with two sons studying in local school. Her husband is related to her and working as a carpenter. She is the eldest of three daughters and very dear to her father. Her father was not happy that she started working as domestic help, but the financial condition in the house did not allow her to sit at home. She was already working in two houses and assured she would find time to squeeze to help me with the daily chores.

I started waiting for her everyday as she was very good in her work and apart from work, she used to give me ideas of re-arranging the house. She updated about the latest exhibition going on at halls near our house where I could find good decorative items for the home. Sometimes, she used to accompany me too. Also, she would not just finish the regular chores but would extend helping hand to mine too. Slowly, I started to realise that we have developed a beautiful relationship.

When talking about her family, she would always speak high of her husband and children. I was happy for her. 

The wedding day was nearing and she won the hearts of all the guests at home. I could see the gleam in her face when I introduced her as my friend who comes to help me. I bought her a nice sari for the wedding which she planned to wear it with matching bangles and jewels on the wedding day. I was amazed at her  enthusiasm.

She was a great support at the wedding and like a family member she was there always ready to lend a helping hand. The wedding day was finally over and within a couple of days, there was no one at home except Kamala and me. I had to again wind up the house and leave to my place of residence. Suddenly, I could no longer see the smile in her face. When enquired, she told she was feeling sad that I would be leaving.  Within a few days, she brought the house back to normalcy.

I was to leave the next morning. When she came on that day, she tried hard to avoid me. When asked numerous times, she finally told that her husband had not come for almost a week as they had a big fight over some petty issues. He was too drunk on that particular day and was difficult to control him.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to leave, I heard the doorbell and saw Kamala there. I understood that she had cried all night as her eyes were red and lacked sleep. She wanted to speak to me for sometime, she said. She spoke and spoke for half hour. Then, I knew that her life was not a bed of roses as I thought. She hid all her suffering with her ever beautiful smile and not let out her feelings or expected any sympathy. From her dialogue, I figured out that her husband was not going to return to her. I had already planned that during my next visit, would help her to set up a small simple business at home which would give her extra income and also boost up her spirits as I know that she would never take money from me even as loan.

I left India with a heavy heart and continue my prayers that Kamala becomes strong enough to face the long future in front of her but at the same time appreciating her self esteem and dignity of not disclosing her true life status or to take undue advantage of the situation. As I ponder, I look with pride at such people who still keep up the human relationship alive in this materialistic world.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."  -  Anaïs Nin


  1. Iam glad, that you call Kamala as ur friend. Nowadays no one is friendly with their domestic helpers.

  2. I am very happy to read this post .It is a nice though that you are going to help her to set up a small simple business.You cannot find such nice domestic helpers now-a-days.

  3. @Lavi, @ Padhu
    Kamala is a young girl with big dreams. Out of sheer circumstances, she had to come out to work as a domestic help.
    Thanx for sharing your thoughts.


  4. That is a beautiful relationship.When we are young we take friendship for granted. As we grow older we realize each friendship is valuable and is there for a reason.This is a touching story.People like Kamala who hold their dignity in adversity are to be appreciated.

  5. It sounds much like my home...both myself and mommy treat our maids as friends. We were lucky to have couple of maids...who are like family members. Infact, even now...the house is run by them, very this modern materialistic world. We need to cherish them...I am glad that you already thought about it 'setting her up with small business', hats off to the good deed, my friend:)

  6. What a touching story about your friend Kamala. There are so many stories(Kamalas) like these around us.. who are forced by cirumstances to fend for their families. May God bless them and give them strenght and may we all if we can just help one Kamala at a time..this world would be such a better and loving place for us. They just need a hand and love..thats it..Pls keep us updated abt ur friend Kamala..because I do believe that stories do have happy endings even in real life..Can't help myself as, I'm a die hard optimist...

  7. a very nice thought you shared here..treat every person as equal human being.Good that you will be helping her with her future. Good wishes to the both of you..

  8. Such die hard optimists - they inspire everyone... Thanks for sharing... Just dropped by to say Hello!


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