Some problems seem to have no solutions…

My 25 year old maid, a mother of three (9, 7 and 5yrs) had requested me not to tell her family that she washed dishes at our place. She is only permitted to cook.

She had collected 10.000/- rupees to shift her kids to a private school. It seemed to mean a lot to her; she had grinned and announced she would borrow the rest from the two families she worked for. We had decided to write a cheque for the school.

But soon she started looking hollow cheeked. There’s nothing you can do about these things. Her mother in law had come to stay with them for the dry season; she must be giving her a hard time.

Last week, she needed a letter from us saying she worked for us – what time, how long etc. to prove she was working as a domestic helper, not as a prostitute.

My other maid, her neighbour, said her family has thrown her out. And the police will only help if she gets some proof of her innocence. It all started when her husband lost their savings (Rs 10,000/- ) while playing cards. She quarreled. Her mother in law and husband beat her, threw her out and warned her they will hang her if she dares to step in again. Her mother in law declared that she was a sex worker.

The neighbours tried to talk to the mother in law, they even warned that this could get them sent to jail, but she said she’d also like to see who sends her to jail.

Now we know about the Domestic Violence Act? I thought her husband and mother in law need a day in police custody to learn a lesson, but the other family she works for insists otherwise.

The eighty year old gentlemen called me, asking if I’d support her if she hired a kholi (room) and learnt that she can live on her own.

His logic. Even if the police does lock them up for a day or two (the police does not seem interested in doing any such thing, my other maid suspects they have paid some ‘fine’), she will have to live in that same house with the same people. They don’t value or respect her at all.

He said the best thing for her would be if she learnt that she can manage on her own. And her mother in law should see that too. I was very doubtful. I was sure she would never agree. So he suggested we give her paid leave for two months and let her go to her village. This she refused, because she is worried they will stop sending the two older kids (girls) to school if her mother in law finds it difficult to manage house work. They have no regular source of income without her. Her husband is an alcoholic, a gambler and does only odd jobs whenever he is hired.

So another maid helped her rent a room. We got her the basics – stove, two cups, a glass, a plate, a tawa, two sheets, a curtain, a bucket, some grocery…

Now, her mother in law has agreed to let her come back, but she is determined to stay on her own for a month or two.

Now when she cooks, she offers to try elaborate recipes, she demands I order the ingredients she needs. I don’t like her innovations at all. I want her to finish her work, make simple, daily meals and leave. She looks teary eyed and says she has nothing to go home to.

How’s this hell going to end?

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55 thoughts on “Some problems seem to have no solutions…

  1. “How’s this helll going to end?” Easy…She’ll go back to her husband and MIL…Why?They’ll cry and fall at her feet saying that her children miss her etc. …They’ll do this for her income…She’ll go back because she wants to believe that the husband and MIL regret throwing her out and because she misses her children…Conclusion: She’ll be thrashed again…

    Yes sraboney I fear the same. In fact I was not even going to try to ask her to stay away, but she has rented a room, and just now she has agreed to join a beauty parlour to learn some skill. So now I think we will take the horse to the water and hope the horse drinks the water after that 😦 She has not even told her mother what is going on here…

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  2. so nice of you and the elderly gentleman to give her another option.. though how long this arrangement works out remains to be seen, it might well be that after the touch of freedom, she can deal just right with her undeserving in-laws ..

    I am surprised that she has agreed, I think it must have been really bad. She looks unhappy but for now determined. I agree Gauri, even if she stays alone only for a while – it will be something. She needs to let them know she is not dependent on them.

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  3. I can relate to the incident as a similar one happened with my cousin’s family maid. She now stays with them and is just another family member

    The 80 year old gentleman said if required they can let her stay with them. But he first wants her to find out for herself that she can stay alone. he is an example of wisdom coming with age.

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  4. Err… I really don’t want to sound like a total bitch, but try being firm with her – that she has to do as you would like her to… esp with the cooking part.

    She does what I say, she just wants to please me with extra efforts, but I don’t like what she considers festive food… we eat low oil, low in spice sort of food (though I love chilli!)…

    You have been very helpful, much more than most folks…
    I remember, one of my previous maids disappearing after such a story and some money, clothes and old utensils from us…
    When I met her on the road once and asked her the money back or work for us till then, she had created a huge scene – including the whole crying, beating chest routine!!!

    I know how you feel, I have come across such maids also Pixie 😦 They give everybody a bad name… This one has been with me for quite a while now, I kind of trust her, and then I thought why not help her instead of giving to some organisation….

    My current maid also has an alcoholic husband, but, I am kind and helpful to her when she needs it, but I am also kind of firm when it comes to house-work… So, she knows now that certain things need to be done in a certain way and she can rely on us for any help she might need…

    Pixie yeah, that is a sensible approach!! Help without being taken for a ride!

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  5. I think its really great you are helping your maid so much…and the best part, she seems to be thankful, most of the times all the help we provide or are ready to better their lives, is unwanted. They are used to a particular way of life, however wrong it might seem to us..

    Its like choosing between the fire and the frying pan… she hates to go back home, cause now she is all alone and does not know what to do with her time… she does not wnt to go back cause she wants to enjoy her freedom esp frm the MIL … I think she wants her mil to understand her value in her home.

    do you think you can manage to bear with her elaborations, I do not think it is going to last long… or at least till she find something else to do… a new hobby perhaps or some other work around the house….

    Imp’s Mom After reading your comment, I spoke to her, then I called some beauty parlours, to see if she can learn some skill to earn some extra money, gain confidence, and not have too much free time to feel bad. Will keep you posted, I think this is the answer, I am so glad I blogged about it!!!Thank You!!

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    • Your Most Welcome! Blogging always helps, clears your mind and makes one think clearly… see, you got great suggestions here too 🙂 NGO is a damn good idea.. but she will need mental and emotional support, cause it will be tough…and looks like you guys are providing her that.. its really great what you are doing…

      Imp’s Mom emotional support is all she has from us… An NGO would b the best.

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  6. IHM…..Police may not be a solution….putting her in touch with an NGO which works for women and children welfare might work though. The time she spends in innovating in your kitchen could also be used at the NGO to learn new skills/literacy and they might me able to ‘persuade’ the police better than the maid on her own.

    At any rate it will put her in touch with people who have been through similar situations and have come out triumphant…

    Absolutely Pinku!! I am trying to locate some organisation like this, I had thought it would be easy to find one, but surprisingly it isn’t. Still trying… They have a mahila mandal – the mother in law ignored it.

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    • Try Sanjeevani or some other such organization. They are free and work with the mental state of an individual. They worked with me, it was a great help

      Thank You Ritu, I will google the organisation and get in touch with them. God bless you!!

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  7. I think its is really great the way you and the elderly gentleman are helping her out. I have had a similar experience with my earlier domestic help and I believe the support we extend will go a long way in helping them. But yes there are times when all of this is nothing but a wolf cry for money.

    Oh yeah I am aware of this. We have not given her much cash, only for that stove, everything else we gave her from our houses, old stuff, and even earlier I had told her we’d give the cheque for the school. I have seen this happen but I guess one just accepts that risk… Also see hte situation, she is living in another house, and her neighbours are talking about it,she went to the police station too…

    Though I earnestly believe that even if 2 out 3 are wolf cries and we end up helping even one…it’s worth it.
    I agree…though I am cautious.

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  8. Oh dear! some things will never end. 😦

    This is such a common problem where a husband or brother send wife/sister for work and they spend their time playing cards, in dance bars and getting drunk. Then they will take all the money these poor women make and shower them with abuses. Cheapos!

    I wish these women could just walk out and start an independent life but it is not that easy at that level. They will be constantly harassed by someone.

    How about getting in touch with a NGO, IHM?

    I am trying to find out about one, just in case. Called some friends, but surprisingly nobody seems to know of any organization which might help her! And Solilo, did you notice the ease with which she is labeled a sex worker, and still they are willing to take her back ?? This is how women become women’s enemies. The good thing she has everybody else’s support, the people in their neighbourhood are decent, family folk. My other maid put it so wisely, when she said, her mother in knows this poor girl has nobody to stand up for her. So now she must stand up for herself.

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    • I know, IHM and also this branding is applicable to all levels. I mean this maid is called a sex worker and recently in the rape case a girl was called “too easy” and “asking for it” because she drank and partied at night.

      Sadly! this characterless thing comes easiest at all levels. 😦

      And look at the joke, one day she says she is doing dhandha, next day she is calling her back home!

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  9. That is a good arrangement…but without an income how are children managing back home.. or are the children also with the maid?

    Hope she does not return for the sake of her children.. the pull can be very hard for any mother..

    I think she might return, I just hope she returns a stronger person. My other maid advised her to talk to her kids and tell them the truth so they understand what is happening, they came to meet her in her new room yesterday. She looks sad all the time.

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  10. I think it was a good idea to try and make her live independently but she might go back to living with her husband and mother-in-law.

    The problem is that one cannot make anyone independent unless they know and are aware that it would be the best possible option for them.

    Unless she realizes this fact, every effort would be futile. Kudos to you and the gentleman for trying to help her out.

    Yogesh I realise this! Now my only wish is we get in touch with some helpful organization and she realises it is possible for her to live alone.

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  11. A difficult situation… though temporarily solved.

    There are so many of them around. It is an ocean of woes, once you peep in there.

    Yes Indrani! It is an ocean of woes… Ideally she should be able to walk out with her three kids and make a life for herself. I don’t know how likely is that!! I have seen the only ones who do not have sunken cheeks and ragged looks are the widows. They earn on their own, they have no husbands chasing them for their earnings, they have the social sanction to live alone, and always, always they are living in their mothers’ village. So if the husband dies, the in laws dump the grand kids along with the girl! What a system we have created. And we take pride in our family values… I am ranting now, I am just so unhappy seeing her loneliness.

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  12. this post has reminded me of what i am trying to forget, IHM …a future of my friend going the similar way….

    she has a physically abusive, possessive bf, and he has a family to match. its been six yrs. one day i saw her cheek black n blue – he had punched her for talking to a male colleague. i spoke to her every single day and she finally decided she wud dump him. she did. he stalked her, threatened her, emo blackmail, et all. i simply cud not get her to file a police complaint. but i did, coz he threatened me on sms too.
    she stayed strong for a yr, few fake proclaimations of improving, she’s back with him. they plan to marry sometime this yr. he still hits her.

    i cannot do any more about it, coz i dunno what to….am simply maintaing my distance, coz i will not have the strength to see her with punch marks on her face and arms again, owing to her decision

    sraboney’s comment is so very apt. a few crocodile tears and they forget what torture they have been thru, n will end up with the same!!!

    😐

    sometimes IHM, cruel as it sounds, we can help only to a point…after that we have to stop caring. coz eventually it seems like we r the only ones who care n spend sleepless nights.

    I can imagine your frustration Crafty Shines. What she needs is counseling, serious counseling. I think some women are just too weak, and they fail it see that even the abuser does not respect them. If a man loves, or is capable of loving a women he will never hit her, why can’t they see this? And here she is not even married to him, she has an easy escape option!!
    I once found a story about such abuse in Chicken Soup for a Teenager’s Soul, I made my daughter read it. In such cases we should care for nobody’s opinion, and even married women with children should walk out and this foolish girl is walking into a marriage with a violent man!!I read in Femina ages ago, ‘The first time you are hit, you are a victim. After that you are always a volunteer’. They never stop. Tell her parents, or anyone she trusts to shake her awake. Don’t feel you are betraying her by talking about her, you might be doing her the biggest favour ever.

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      • I agree too

        crafty I dont want to scare u but I lost a friend a dear friend (actually more of someone I used to look up to and share fantasies, she was older than me) like this…

        the drama that u mentioned continued before marriage, when she left him briefly he tried to commit suicide she went back, they got married… and then one day he killed her… I shiver when I think of her, that guy is the jail life imprisonment and the daughter they had lives with her parents.

        take ur friend counseling, actually take both of them counseling they need it

        and I am praying to god she’ll be fine

        PS: IHM sorry to take the space away from ur post…

        Monika you have added to the post with this shocking, but very useful information. I have read of such things, but to actually know of someone who’s gone through this is shocking!! Thanks for this.

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  13. This is so sad to read..and yet we all know such stories don’t we? 😦
    says so much about us as a society 😦

    I really wish that she does stay on her own for a bit longer than she had originally planend and learns that she loves it …I pray that she doesn’t go back to those #######!

    Hats off to you and that gentleman for being so understanding and most of all for walking the talk…coz not many do…

    I just hope that things don’t turn out the way Sraboney has so realistically written about…coz usually or at least 9 times out of 10 things happen just the way she has written about…

    Yes Indyeah, they take whatever hope is offered! 😦 It has nothing to do with being or not being educated, or even independent – it’s more to do with realising that you are a victim and that no excuses are permissible and once there’s violence there will only be more violence to follow. The girl must walk out. ..research has show that if a man hits once there is every chance that he will hit again… how long can this continue? And what kind of life is it where you have no clue what this unpredicatable person might find provocation next? This is something we saw in God of Small Things also….

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    • IHM I loved Oprah’s show on this topic …

      http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/tows_past_20070508_b
      I mean women from all classes in society face it…how long are we going to stay in this vicious circle?

      I too have tried to imbibe the lessons simply coz I dont want to be in such a situation ever!

      Indyeah I talk about this with my kids too. This is absolutely a taboo, never to be tolerated under any excuse.
      I have read about and seen women who are independent, educated and working and yet they take shit from their husbands/partners/BF’s
      for what??
      for being a woman?
      here’s another article that talks about it..

      http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MDX/is_2-3_2004/ai_n27847409/

      Psychological abuse, such as insults, humiliation and threats, produces severe mental exhaustion and a sense of increasing insanity. This reduces the ability to protect oneself and sets the scene for other symptoms similar to those generated in political prisoners from concentration camps and torture victims. A climate of terror is created and maintained, in which the victim is completely controlled. The woman, then abandons her liberty and will, converting herself into a survivor who submits in order to “save” herself from suffering.

      This is so well described, reminds me of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’.. gave me goose bumps. I recently came to know of a young girl I have known for many years, she had married a boy who had seemed like a nice boy and they had looked very happy, but now I know he is violent. Just like any other abusers, you cannot tell if a man might be violent from their faces, I guess one could bring up such topics and hear their opinion, they will say stuff like, “Violence is not right, but you know sometimes women just don’t realise that they should keep their mouth shut when a man is angry” etc….. also see their fathers – violent sons have violent fathers.

      I know a friend who went through it and I swore that she would come out of it come what may…its been a long journey since then….

      I hope she is out of it and stays out too. Such men are also known to be obsessive and excessively emotional… ‘My Fuedal Lord’ also has horrible violence. That man seemed mad to me, which I guess such abusers are …

      Indyeah the researcher!! Ok let em go through the links now!!

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  14. Every day or two we come to hear of such stories and one will have to wonder as to how can we solve them!

    What you and the elderly gentleman have done is really good IHM. The fact that your maid has agreed to stay alone is a welcoming approach. Hope she stays as firm she is today and wait until her husband and MIL learn to respect her.

    Only thing that might make her change her mind is her kids, but even her kids benefit with a happy mother…I hope she understands that!

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  15. My question is.. why her children are not with her? How exactly can she be happy otherwise? I mean.. the kids would be facing a lot of torture home no ?

    No Winnie the Poohi, they are saying nothing. They came and met her in her new home. Today again they will be visiting her. I also asked her to ask them to come and stay with her, she says they don’t understand, they’ll do what their grand mother tells them. My guess is that the past two months when they were alone with their grand mother she might have brain washed them against her… ?

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    • IHM I think its time for her to tell her children the reality and get them to stay with her…
      coz otherwise it will be too late..its better that the children know…

      Indyeah, I told her the same thing today morning. She keeps nodding, I told her to tell them whatever has happened, and why she is staying away… My other maid said everybody is advising her to do that because her mother in law has poisoned their minds against their own mother. This is impossible for me to digest. But it is true!

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    • **sigh** more like scared them to hell.. besides I think in the back of the mind, your maid wants to go back.. and also.. the kids are afraid of the change and hence are stay putting..

      I agree Winnie the Poohi…

      Hope everything turns out well ** sigh**

      Such utter stupid bullheadedness makes me angry everytime!

      Me too! It’s frustrating… but she seems wise, or maybe just too shocked- …for now she is firm that she will stay on her own for a while…

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  16. it is indeed sad IHM. we are so way behind in societal acceptance of equality and such. and when the society itself is so rigid, laws really dont do much! 😦

    i hope for a happy ending… or beginning in this case!

    hugs to you for being a strong support…

    thanks Abha, she can do with some good wishes!!

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  17. U hav done a wonderful thing by giving her a separate place…
    Y dnt u tel her in the most simple, plain and sweet way that she dnt hav to plz u for wt u did, that u lov her simple cooking than those elaborate ones…

    Devil I hope she stays in her separate home with her children. They have given her an excuse she must use it to get out of that hell… imagine she made such accusations and now is calling her back! We can sponsor the kids complete education, if she stays alone.
    About her cooking, I do tell her …..
    :).

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  18. Proud of what you are doing for her. In the end, she might end up going back to her family, but atleast you’ve showed her some alternate options. Many in similar situations don’t even know what options they have. Thus they keep tolerating what gets thrown at them.

    Masood maybe her family will also think before they throw her out again. She slept at the neighbours for a few nights! What kind of family does such things? Ideally she should raise her kids on her own. No violence, no daily bickering, no daily arguments on why she must work.. (when they live off her income!)

    It is really really sad every time something like this happens.

    Yes, it is really sad, imagine leaving her children behind… she said having food only one time a day is better than this sort of tension.:(

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  19. IHM, i admire u n the gentleman for the help u have provided this lady!! selfless acts for humanity are as rare as the white bengal tiger….(i dunno why i chose that simile… 😐 )

    hope u don’t have to be the foster child she’s gonna feed festive food to!!! be firm, and tell her u prefer satvik bhojan!!

    i do hope she decides to live on her own, maybe then she can support her children…without having to fund for her husband’s passtimes and addictions

    Yes that is my wish too, but generally I have seen, these men don’t leave their wives, he will keep pestering her , making scenes, beating her whenever possible, and generally egt everybody’s sympathies and soon she will have the same meighbourhood asking her to support the poor man.

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  20. sorry didnt write the title..it is Behind Closed Doors by Rinki Bhattacharya…she is the daughter of Satyajit Ray and was married to Basu Bhattacharya..
    irony ?

    and yet read of all that she had to face at the hands of this ‘genius’ called Basu Bhattacharya! 😦

    Oh my God! And Dimple Kapadia and Aishwarya Rai and Zeenat Aman have gone through their traumas, but atleast the first too walked out courageously.

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  21. Oh! Reading this just makes me so sad! Unfortunately these stories are just all too common!

    I hopr she has the strength and determination to stick to her resolve. May God give her the strength she needs and the will-power to see it through.

    Can you help her get a better paying job? Like ayah at a day-care/Montessori school? It’ll leave her with time in the afternoons and early evenings to cook and supplement her salary. Just a thought.

    I am overwhelmed by the information, ideas and support here mamma mia me a mamma. I have spoken to someone who is ready to train her as a beautician, that starts tomorrow, just the very basics, like applying hair colour, threading, waxing, pedicure… and she will get a certificate too. I am rushing this because I am worried about her changing her mind. Another person has suggested stitching classes. She is completely illiterate, and earns around 5000/- for a few hours in the morning.. I could get her some more jobs as a cook in the evening??

    Please let us know how it all works out…

    Yes and I am touched that you care to know 🙂

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    • A beautician…that’s great idea!! She can earn a lot of tips as well…

      And you know, you can call me M4…many do! 🙂

      M4 sounds good 🙂 it’s like I am so used to being called IHM… it’s like a name for me 🙂

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  22. Good post. You did do everything to help ur maid. She may go back but that is her decision it should be like that. A good friend should only guide. There are any number of such suffering women with not so good employers. Only an organisation of such women can change things.

    Yes I am hoping to get some NGO involved too. But Charakan, if you really see our politicians should organise such support system for them. And for all these billions of cases of alcohol addiction!

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  23. I have seen incidents like this as well IHM…..

    Such cases are so common OG 😦

    it is always the poor who do not have a strong family support system and who do not realize that they can stand up to their rights and who have narrow minded MILs who suffer……….
    I agree, in fact if her own mother was stronger, this would not have happened.

    It was really heartening to see her put her children in good schools………..

    She is very keen that they go to good schools and do well in life!

    fathers who gamble, drink and who dont take care of family belong to the very worst tribe of people….
    they issue is that when this happens, the cycle get repeated……… when the kids grow up

    The man needs rehabilitation OG! Both alcoholism and gambling are serious addictions.

    kudos to you and that uncle….. hope things work out IHM……there

    He was amazing!!I would have never even thought of her living on her own, a girl of 25!! But she has rented the room, very close to her mother in law’s house, so she can watch the kids.

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  24. you have another new reader with same name as mine, so I shortened mine to avoid confusion 🙂

    🙂 Sands sounds sans confusion 🙂

    My MIL’s maid went through the same, she kept on helping her and later the girl went back to her husband and kids and the whole saga just keeps going. MIL is falling short of ideas now on helping this girl while still keeping her happy with her family. We pay for her kids education, send the money to school. so that is solved but we are stumped on how to handle the problems between the her and her husband, with the beatings and alcohol involved!

    From what I know there is no solution, the girl has to walk out. They don’t 😦 Some of the beatings are so brutal that I feel the man could never hit like this if he wasn’t drunk…So many times they run away, the man follows, hides children’s birth certificates and TCs…then they go back. Many times they say he threatened to kill them. One maid frightened me when she said she would poison him! She is just a skeleton. I asked her why doesn’t she leave him instead….they are still together. She had escaped to her mother’s village and he has followed her here.

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  25. Cant she take her kids and move to the village. Arent there schools there too ? or cant she move to another city with her folks and the kids ?

    She wants them to go a private school, she is ambitious for them, she doesn’t make her daughters do housework either. She does not want to go and live in a village. Secondly Vimmuuu she has not even told her mother what is going on here 😦

    I donno if they are practical enough! Just top-of- the-mind suggestions.

    Suggestions are welcome Vimmuuu!! She is thinking of calling her mother here, but only if her mother in law starts saying she is staying alone because she is a lose woman, (she feared that when we first asked her to live on her own) – I hope her mother supports her. But there are more chances that she will go back to live with that same man who threw her out after a while, and then it will be the same again… but we never know, maybe he will behave better once he knows she can leave…

    You are right. certain things never change. and im surprised by how the M-I-L is. Isnt she a woman too?

    That’s what everybody is saying Vimmuuu. And she is ruining her son’s and grand children’s lives! She could have scolded her son for gambling and not working regularly…She knows the girl is from a weak family, if she had a stronger mother, perhaps they would have thought twice…

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    • I feel bad for the girl’s plight. But how does having a strong mother/ weak mother would make any difference in how the girl is treated by her mil?

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  26. This is so sad.. I just hope everything works out and that she is not forced to do anything that she is not happy with.. It does worry me though that her children are not with her.. We had a similar experience with a maid.. The MIL had totally brainwashed the children against the mother and they used to even abuse her and her parents(their grandparents) following the example of the MIL… My parents stepped in – as the maid’s family were living in their outhouse and atleast controlled the situation while they were there.. So it scares me to think that the MIL has the children with her..Her husband seems to the be worst ever.. The best alternative for her would be to leave him – but that looks difficult too ..

    IHM, You and the elderly gentlemen are doing so much.. I just pray that everything turns out right for her.. She does seem like a gutsy woman.. ambitious for her children.. It is so sad that even the police do nothing to help them…I hope you find an NGO to take up her case…

    There are no perfect solutions here… her children are meeting her and coming and eating with her… it bothers me, because soon they will fleece her though her children… she immediately asked for an advance for the younger one’s private school deposit. (the money that the man lost in cards) … the trouble is for all her ambitions and better sense, she has no authority in her house… Yeah an NGO is a sensible option… I am speaking to her and then making a call today.

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  27. I read this and I feel this is so common. This even happens in middle class families much more than we know, mainly because the parents do not support the daughter and ask her to suck it up. Trust me IHM, there is one such story in my extended family (hate to call them my family) and my parents, sister and I have tried everything in our power to persuade the people to behave well with the girl. I went so far as to even suggest that she leave him. But her parents do not want her to do that(dont make us a laughing stock in our last days is what those useless people told her). I am ashamed that I have blood relation with such people IHM…really.

    I have seen such cases Shilpa! I wish the parents will realise that there is no solution here except to get out of the situation. And I find Indian parents extremely peer group conscious, they care less for their children more for their peer group’s opinion, – who cares who makes a laughing stock of us if our children are not safe or happy? This gets my goat like nothing does. On one hand we claim to be ‘self sacrificing’ parents, on the other we sacrifice our children (boys also by forcing them to marry suitable daughters in laws, not suitable wives) for social ‘status’. We are the most selfish and hypocritical parents.

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  28. You could contact an NGO and maybe get some help from them in directing her to the appropriate place. The problem with her situation is something I have seen before. The moment she becomes independent and self sufficient, and maybe providing for her children on her own, her in laws might come and camp themselves or do the usual crying, wailing about family duties and stuff and the pitiable part is her neighbors and relatives will also end up pressurizing the poor woman to take in her husband and MIL. It might also become a bigger issue for you or the other person to handle. An NGO might be able to talk to her as well as find her a position or skill and support her emotionally. http://www.karmayog.org/
    This site offers a listing of NGO’s by city. You could find the nearest one and talk to them for her.

    Thank You!! Yes I will do this, and you have echoed my concerns, this is exactly what I see happening in near future….

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  29. I am glad you have taken the initiative. Only hope the lady retains her strength.
    IHM, just curious, when she is so particular about her girls’ education, why isn’t she considering having them over with her. Why leave the kids at the mercy of a drunkard father and a violent grandma.

    . We feel she should let her mother in law and husband manage them alone for a month or two. If she brings the kids with her, they will all be together again within days, and the same cycle will begin. The kids came and met her in her new room, and she bought them sweets and asked for advance to pay the fees in the new (private) school – I asked her to have patience and let her husband take the trouble to arrange for the money. There is no solution here…

    Read cacophoenix’s comment, you will see my concerns!!

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  30. pretty sad state of affairs I must say. This is dis heartening.I really think, these things will take a lot of time to improve. Its not easy to change a person’s point of view – we see that everyday while blogging too, right?Its so so difficult to make people see through what we are seeing.
    Just Hang in there, you are doing great. I wish I could help too, or can I in any way?lemme know.

    This was a help Chikki!! Thanks 🙂

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  31. This is a common story, the only not-so-common thing was you hlping your maid, and also with her kids’ education.

    Poonam you will be surprised here, I know .. let em count, atleast six other families who have helped their maids in such situation and it does make a difference, the man stops thinking “Iske aage peeche koee naheen hai” (She has nobody to speak for her).

    Your maid understands what you are doing for her, but she will go back. DV is serial in nature. And in Indian women it comes with fear of losing kids due to lack of law enforcement.

    I agree Poonam she will go back, I just hope she goes back knowing she has this option of walking out in case of further abuse. Strong women are respected, her mother in laws sends the kids to meet her everyday, they ask her to come back. She has told them she is going to come back after a few months. Once she gains confidence, maybe she will have the courage to ask the kids to join her?

    DV happens to all classes and it requires counselling. I know a uptown girl, lets call her V. V earns well, looks great but has an abusive boyfriend. He would hit her in full public view. Hit her hard. One time I have been witness, and I revealed myself that I was there to deter the guy. I called guard but since V wouldnt ask for help , noone was able to do much. V would also take pains not to ever be in my way lest we ever spoke about it. She felt ashamed. But no matter what ,she wouldn’t give up her abusive boyfriend. It was as if he was only man who made her feel worthwhile. Feeling of inadequacy. Needless to say, she soon changed her residence. I don’t know what happened to her.

    Must be living like that still Poonam, this really upsets me, I wish we’d talk about such things in schools, about how this is wrong, that there are no excuses and there is no hope, the girl must walk out. I once heard some noises that sounded like domestic violence, the woman realised this, she was a cheerful, good natured chatterbox, she told me “All couples have fights, I will never believe if I am told otherwise.”

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  32. A very moving post IHM and without reading the comments I have this to say. You are very brave to have helped her because often these things backfire. I really don’t want to sound cynical but it is very difficult to solve these problems as they are very complex and involve a lot of people including the society she lives in. Often a social worker handles it best, counseling all members of the family. But it is so heartening to read that you have helped.

    I know Nita, I agree with you …. I am trying to be prepared. I am not getting too involved, trying not to get carried away with sympathy, and expecting almost nothing. But I do hope she stays away long enough to gain some self confidence, I am sure that will toughen her enough to handle them better. Imagine three kids at 25. She was born the year Mrs Gandhi died, that’s 1984, first daughter born in on May 5, 2000. And Beauty Parlour Class starts today 🙂

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  33. such a sad situation, but like you said…it seems as if it will never end!And it is not as if they don’t want to improve, your maid wants a better life for her kid but then other factors keep pulling her down, soon she will also loose her drive…

    I rarely feel hopeless but this did make me feel like that, but you know Sindhu, seeing her grit (till now) I feel hopeful. She seems determined, and I have seen her for a while now, I had no idea she had his strength in her.

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  34. one question!! who are d kids with???? and i just hope the lady doesn’t go back to her MIL… 😦

    Rat, the kids are with the grandmother and father. We are trying to make her stay alone, independently for a while, so they lean how tough life for them will be without her support. (they have no other regular source of income)… once she is sure and confident – there ae strong chances that she will want to live alone with her kids. That will not be easy, because I have seen how these men don’t leave their wives, they make scenes, follow them, etc. She’s lucky they have thrown her out, she should just stay firm, and taste the freedom from beatings and controls, only then she will know what she is fighting for when the kids move in with her… schools are closed right now, so I have persuaded her let the admission to private school wait a while. It’s one year verses their (she and her kids) entire life. I am aware that it may not happen this way…. but at least we will have tried 😦

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  35. Hmm! Such a common story yet so real and sad. I hate homes with domestic violence. And I hate the women that tolerate it and defend their partners for doing it. I, like Indyeah, hope that the maid does not return back to her husband and MIL and learns/enjoys living independently. I also hope she gets her children back and are not being left with the father and MIL. Because god knows what they may do to the kids. I certainly wouldn’t leave my kids with a man like him.

    I hope the kids come back to her totally, but her husband and mother in law don’t use that as an excuse to slowly enter her life again… that is why I thought some problems seem to have really no solution. Her kids come and spend time with her every evening, they also asked her to came back, she said she told them she will come back after a few months.

    And hat off to you at the gentleman for supporting her and helping her. A lot of people would have turned their back and said it’s non on my business to get involved. 🙂

    BTW, have you read the book Provoked by Kiranjit Ahluwalia (or the movie directed by Jag Mundhra). It is based on Kiranjit’s own true life story on what kind of abuse she was face in her day to day like and what it resulted in at the end. I won’t tell you the story because I don’t want to ruin it for you BUT it is a book worth reading. I know about it because my sister is a law student and because of the Ahluwalia case, the British had to introduce or change the law. BUT do read the book. 🙂

    I know of the book though I haven’t read it…isn’t this one about bobbiting??

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    • No. It’s about Kiranjit Ahluwalia a battered Punjabi homemaker and mother of two, living in Southall, UK with her 2 children and abusive, alcoholic husband, Deepak Ahluwalia. Unable to bear the brutality and repeated rapes at the hands of her spouse, she sets fire to his feet, unintentionally killing him. Charged with murder, her case comes to the notice of a group of South Asian social workers running an underfunded organization called the Southall Black Sisters.

      After being sentenced to life imprisonment, she befriends her cellmate, a Caucasian woman named Veronica Scott, who teaches her English. Veronica is also friends with several girls in the prison and stands up for Kiranjit against the local prison bully. Veronica realises what a good person Kiranjit is and enlists her brother, Edward Foster QC, a highly respected Queen’s Council, to aide in Kiranjit’s appeal. Edward, in turn, realizes Kiranjit’s importance to his sister and the importance of her case. His sister’s request has additional meaning given that Veronica would not let him help her with her own appeal due to their on off relationship since childhood.

      Before Kiranjit’s appeal hearing the Southall Black Sisters bring her plight to the attention of the media by organizing rallies to gather public support for her freedom. She is ultimately freed by the judicial system in a landmark case called “R v Ahluwalia”, redefining provocation in cases of battered women in the UK. (She was reconvicted from murder to manslaughter; but released with time served). Kiranjit is reunited with her children and subsequently given an award by Cherie Blair, for her crusade against domestic violence.

      Hey Badz Thank You!! All this time I did not know the real story! I had assumed it was the other one!!Heartfelt thanks for this nice, long, informative comment 🙂

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  36. IHM…amongst the poor abuse is a way of life, which is there for all to see. In the middle class, it all happens behind doors, some thing that we all turn a blind eye too. Physical abuse is visible, but emotional abuse is so subtle. The victim suffers in silence, and there are no scars to show.
    Your maid indeed is lucky to have you, and I guess with her inner strength she will tide over this…if she shows strength to live by herself, that would be the kids, and if she goes back that too will also be becaz of the kids….and if she would get back..I guess she will live with abuse all her life, and sadly that is what the kids will grow up with..scared, scarred,confused,….and probably thats how they will lead their lives, what with such parents as role models…..sad situation,sometimes I feel there is no hope for such traumatic lives, of many…mutilation of the soul and mind. As always a nice thought provoking post.

    Thank You Poonam… today she said she will never go back. I hope she sticks to this… I agree “if she shows strength to live by herself, that would be for the kids” I hope she becomes a strong role model for her kids.

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  37. You know, if I were you I would look up that hag and her drunken sod of a son and give them a serious talking to. No-one deserves to be treated like that when they’re just trying to be a good provider for their child. I would also try to convince the maid to get the hell out of the situation as if it were a burning house, and not go back. I would support her financially if I had the means. You know, there’s not much we can do about this stuff on a macro scale but a little act of random kindness goes a long way.

    I did consider the idea of speaking to her family….
    … for now she is still determined to have nothing to do with them. She intends to stay alone, I advised her to get her kids to join her later…but one step at a time, I feel, I don’t want to push her. She has been amazingly courageous till now.

    P.S: Nice blog you’ve got here.

    Thanks and Welcome The Couch Clown 🙂

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