Family, mostly formed by blood, sometimes also comprise of people whom we form a bond with – friends, spouses, sometimes colleagues. And, then there are those who start off on an almost detached contractual basis, and end up becoming the ones we completely depend upon, without whom, our near-perfect world begins to crumble if not crash, our house help. Be it the maid that comes in to do the dishes, to cook, or for those who are blessed enough, live with 24/7 – these are our unsung heroes, our extended family. And especially in times like these, we are made to realise exactly how crucial a part they play in our daily lives.
Christine Sequeira, 37, teacher and mother of two kids, says she doesn’t know where to start, as she is struggling with chores and tending to the children. “Sujata (her maid) used to come in to do the cleaning and dishes, and cook for us too. She would be there the whole day, and help me with the kids too. She is like a member of our family. Now, because of the lockdown, I have asked her to not come, and without her it just feels incomplete,” she says.
Many during this quarantine have none or hardly any help, leaving most with no choice but to do all the jobs themselves. Kavita Mungi, mental health counsellor, says, “It is indeed a privilege and a blessing for those who have been stay-at-home help.” Mungi shares not just her expertise, but also a personal account. “One of the house help who stays with us, wanted to go back to his village just on the verge of the lockdown, when the spread of virus had already started. It took me a while to convince him to stay back, to not risk the travel and instead stay safe with us here. His family too wanted the same. He is now able to work, earn a good income here and send plentiful supplies back home to his family.”
Even celebrities share this kind of rapport and familial bonding with their help. Kalki Koechlin had shared an adorable picture of her help holding her newborn, and had captioned the photo, “Covid times #givemehugs #sangeetadidi”
Ending on an emotional note, Mungi adds, “This relationship between the families at home and the help that works is mutually beneficial as long as everyone is treated with respect.” So, today, on International Family day, let’s take a moment to acknowledge our extended families.