Sunday, April 24, 2016

Maid in India

Clickhappy! Apr '16
Suchandra Das narrates the story of Akka, a house maid in Chennai

This is the story of a house maid. I call her Akka, which means didi or elder sister in Tamil. I asked her name but she just smiled and said "Akka okay". She travels 28 kilometres everyday from Poonamallee to my residence in Thiruvanmiyur. She was my ‘rescuer’ when I shifted from Kolkata to Chennai in December 2015. She works in 15 houses in my colony. We don’t understand each other’s language but we still communicate.

Akka is the only earning member of her family and has two daughters who go to school. Initially her family members were not comfortable with her working as a house maid, but eventually they relented because of their circumstances. She started working five years ago and now is the President of the local association of house maids. She’s very particular about what she does, and accepts only cha if I have to give her food sometimes.

Every day when she comes to my apartment, the first question she asks is whether I had food or not. If not, then she takes whatever food is available in the refrigerator and arranges my lunch plate. Her smile touches me the most – she smiles irrespective of the workload or the killing heat.

I would like to thank my neighbour Rekha for translating Akka’s words for me.


Suchandra Das left her corporate job in search of moments – moments to freeze, capture and cherish forever. She's a wife, pet lover, photographer, cinematographer, independent filmmaker, dependent homemaker, foodie and bitten by the travel bug.

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