My residential complex investigative journalists brought some tantalizing news yesterday. Though illiterate, these persons are wise enough to feel the sudden show of love in the demenour of their employers. During lunch break they convene their regular session and compare notes, evaluating the goodness or meanness of them all. Then the important decisions or issues deliberated are broadcast in the same manner as news agencies do. It was only on Monday the 7th November 2016 that the miserly conduct of some employers for giving poor Diwali gift to them for rendering a full year’s service came up for all round condemnation from them in no uncertain terms. Some of them had even refused to accept used clothes for a gift or cheap sweets bought from a roadside vendor whose deplorable quality they knew so well. Others even went to the extent of returning the gift next day with a Happy Diwali card on it. Diwali was celebrated on 30th October and gifts were given only in the week following it.
The disgruntlement against the miserly has hardly died down when they found a sudden change of heart in their employers, who were exceptionally warm and affectionate on the very morning of November 9th. They were eager to shower costly gifts like a colour television set or fridge or washing machine. The perplexed maid servants got so confused they didn’t know how to react. It was as if they had a temporary loss of consciousness. They were brought to consciousness when the employers asked them to bring Jan Dhan Yojana bank account number and other documents, leaving the work to another hour. It created an emergency sort of a situation as the lunch hour assembly was preponed to the pre-lunch session at tea time, causing high blood pressure for many employers who leave for office daily after the maid has done her chores.
The gist of deliberations broadcast to every household later was the story of the stressed employers, some of whom were crying profusely over the bundles of fresh currency notes in the denomination of 1000 & 500, others who had already consigned the notes to fire and yet another category who begged for help of the maid to put some money in her Jan Dhan account and save whatever little money she could. It was this category who was extremely, kind, warm hearted and affectionate. It was the generous employers of this category who offered white goods as gift in exchange of kindness of their maids. Those engaging more than one maid were of special interest.
The poor are generous in empathy and commiseration, which made some members of the assembly cry for them, others gave their consent to accept the gifts without understanding the implications but the leaders cautioned them about the dangers of such acts of indiscretion. They had heard the Prime Minister Narendra Modi address the nation on the 8th November night declaring currency notes of the denomination of 1000 & 500 no more legal tender. Suddenly their purchasing power was gone and those holding black money in the denomination of 1000/500 lost all their hidden wealth. They were trying methods to save some money under the exemptions announced, like no income tax queries on women depositing up to rupees 2,50,000 in their bank accounts. The poor maids not in possession of a TV set, but always dreaming of owning one, were glad at the offer made to them by their employers till their leaders shattered their short lived dream most unkindly. They decided to decline a once in a lifetime opportunity of receiving a costly gift, with a heavy heart. For them, the wheel of fortune was most unlikely to turn again in their lifetime.