Thursday, July 25, 2013

Of cooks, chauffeurs and housemaids

A very interesting lot and like all such, fast becoming extinct. We don’t miss dinosaurs and fire-breathing monsters, but these three – we will feel their absence acutely. They make our life a delicious Chinese dish- sweet and sour. We cannot do without them, yet with them around it is one hellava experience!
The fastest dwindling species is of cooks. There was a time when the ‘Maharaj’ was like an uncrowned king of the house. He ruled the kitchen with his ladle and treated the household to his gracious offerings. The kids would look on him with awe and look forward to his story sessions in between meals. They loved his potbelly and tuft of hair. The ladies of the house wooed him with gifts so that he would never think of leaving and the men got back home in time lest he close the kitchen.
These days, cooks, if you can find them, come in to roll out your rotis and fry your bhaji only for a couple of hours in the evening as they prefer working in factory canteens or hotel kitchens or take contracts for wedding feasts. A cook is indeed ‘God’s prophet’ and doubly blessed is she who has one!
Then, you have that breed called chauffeur or ‘driver’ as normally referred to
A very colorful lot. They deserve a lengthy treatise. I once had the good fortune of traveling in a very well known film star’s car and her driver, a garrulous gregarious guy, pointed out the house of other stars, with interesting tidbits thrown in about their private lives. According to him, Manoj Kumar’s family lives on a daily fair of ‘Moong Kitchdi’ (info: courtesy their cook)! Amitabh had ferocious dogs to scare away prying bystanders.. and so on. So, if you have a driver, be careful of what you discuss in the car.
 The most atrocious of this breed are the Benz drivers. They have an air of supercilious possessiveness and if you happen to park your battered Fiat next to his gleaming chariot, you will be treated to a very contemptuous look. By the way, studies have shown that most elopement cases are of rich girls going away with their chauffeurs. The moral – if you have a pretty wife or daughter, drive the car yourself.
And if you have a pretty housemaid, give her the boot and become a do-it-yourself housewife. If you have a housemaid you will anyway have to do a lot of things yourself. In good old days maids could be picked and chosen after an interview with a dozen prospectives. Today they pick and may not choose. They ask searching questions about your children’s and husband’s appetite, the number of clothes you change, your tea dinking habits, your relationship with your neighbors and mother-in-law and your preference for detergents or ordinary soap. Cable TV is ofcourse a must.
Only when they are satisfied with the answers, will they list out their terms and conditions and condescend to come in for a few hours to lend their services, which are at a high premium. You can get a maid easily if you have a DVD and show her a movie a day.
Read the ‘Bhagvad Gita’ bfore you employ a housemaid. You will need to have the detachment it urges you to cultivate – especially to your precious china, beautiful vases and other knick-knacks. Remember that maids are not aware of the Ten Commandments, especially “Thou shall not steal”!
If you are one of those lucky men who have all the three-cook, chauffeur and housemaid – you must be either an angel or married!