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MEMSAHIBS AND MANNERS

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It is one of those ‘we live abroad so when we visit we notice it’ things for which us NRIs get a lot of stick. But some things do sort of hit us differently. Like whenever I come home to Delhi I am appalled at the way people speak to domestic help, part time, full time, any time.
Hyde & Jackall - DualThere is an immediate change of tone. Never understood the need for that. There is also an underlying rudeness, in they way the helper is summoned. Oye, hey, abhe, ohohoh, even a physical snap of the fingers. You are calling another human being, he’s going to do your dirty work any way ,why can’t you be polite.
The place I stay in some crusty old timer objected to a labourer riding his bicycle past him without getting off…did not show respect.
We think nothing of giving stale food to domestic staff. People talk about them and their untrustworthiness in front of them.
The complex I live in there is a part time maid invasion every morning. They charge in like a battalion and then get stopped at the elevator because some ‘memsahib’ won’t let them enter the elevator in case they contaminate her blue blood. Anywhere else that would be blatant racism. Here it is acceptable as conduct. And who the heck says memsahib anymore?
Yes, I know, it is no longer that bad and there are people out there who treat their help with grace and courtesy and almost make them family and don’t cook cheap food facsimiles to feed them but really, not that much has changed.

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