Chitra, a high profile executive who took charge of everyone around her in her office and home became putty when it came to Tai, her maid who had all the people in her colony dancing to her tunes.
“Hmmm,” said Tai and put in a pinch of tobacco in her mouth. Chitra sighed. Her very “Hmmm” indicated that she would indeed come early.
Long back, when she had asked her for some additional work, she had snapped and retorted, “I shall only come as promised and never do anything more. You know that. Everyone else takes leaves making all kinds of excuses but I am not one of them. You want to negotiate with those kind of maids, you are most welcome,” she said and walked out knowing very well that would never happen. Such was her discipline and prowess. The entire colony revered her and the other maids looked up to her as a diva, a role model.
There were many stories floating around about her life. She was married to Patel, a taxi driver who dropped her everyday promptly before going out for his work. She would not allow him to work too late or compromise on his fares. “You do your work honestly. Why on earth would you take less money?” Every week they would sit together on the beach for an hour, romancing like a young couple, eating peanuts and watching all the children play. Tai would have made some special snacks for these children who hovered around her for her vada pav, sweets and chivda. “This is my way of bonding with children, “ Tai would say often. She had been thrown out of her husband’s house as she was childless was something she never spoke about but most people knew.
She dressed immaculately well and did such good cooking that no one ever let her go once she entered their home. She knew her prowess but never took a penny more or less. Everyone who knew her were absolutely clear about her principles.
She never even used any appliance of her owners so much so that she had the keys of most of the apartments she worked in, walking in and out at will.
Chitra came late the day she had asked Tai to come early. Before she entered home, she saw Patel’s car in the colony. This usually never happened.
In her home, Tai was sitting there, tears streaming down her face.
“Memsaab, I need your help. They have put Patel in jail, “ she said and gave her a mobile phone.
Patel had saved a young orphan who was injured by a drunk man driving a new car and put him in a hospital.
“They will never let the truth be told without this,” said Rakesh, a tech savvy paan seller who video taped the entire episode.
He brought the car to their home after asking Patel where his wife would be and waited with her at Chitra’s home.
“Mem saab, you voice will be heard by all. No one listens to our voices even if there is a clear video showing everything,” he said, wiping his brow with his sleeve. “This child is after all an orphan who begs for his living. Who will fight for him?”
“I will. I shall be Goddess Kali to the person who dared to injure him” said Tai, the spark of motherhood igniting in her. “Memsaab, you help me now and yours will be the first home I attend to, come what way.
Before she could even respond, Tai took another snuff at her tobacco said averred, “If you don’t, I shall stop coming here”.