The first time Varun told me he had servants, I reacted with arrogant shock. Servants? Who is this guy? Neglecting to think about the socio-economic differences between India and my suburban North American upbringing, I immediately showered him with good old-fashioned judgement. To his credit, he took it in stride and explained to me the poverty, lack of jobs and differences in life in India. After visiting India and learning more, I understand how wrong my vision was of a country filled with Cinderella’s waiting to be freed. Instead, I saw that in a land without dishwashers and washing machines and cities where water sources are sporadic, help is necessary to survive. From the opposite perspective, in a country where 600 million people live in poverty, a decent job is welcomed. As such, Varun’s family treat their servants kindly, provide them vacations and doctor’s, and act a security net in a country where survival is often a daily struggle.
I have to say though, it does get me thinking. I mean, what if someone would cook briyani and chana masala for me and wake me up with a cup of chai? Today, after fighting a losing battle today with my US tax forms, I asked myself, “If I had a servant, what jobs would I give them? Would I want an accountant, or a chaiwala? Choices, choices, choices….
While cooking supper, I asked Varun. He wanted a servant who would clean. I told him to think carefully, because they’d only clean-no cooking, washing, etc. With a coy grin he responded, “Oh yes, but I’d still have you.”
I created this poll so that you too can join me in my daydreaming. For bonus points, you can guess what I’d voted.