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Actually, servants don’t sound too bad….

Posted by on May 11, 2010

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.”

Well then.

I created this poll so that you too can join me in my daydreaming. For bonus points, you can guess what I’d voted.

8 Responses to Actually, servants don’t sound too bad….

  1. Sarah

    I say you voted for cleaning. Or maybe administrative since you mentioned your taxes? I would want a live-in Nanny/babysitter on call 24/7 who’s always available. No scheduling in advance, no “I’m busy that night.” Just always ready to go at a moment’s notice… hmmm, sounds like a teenage girl–sound familiar?! No wonder mom had us all so far apart! She wasn’t kidding about that “built in babysitter” thing…

    • Amelia

      @ Sarah, haha, I can see how that would be useful. And yes, it does sound like both of us in our day….

  2. Thien

    Actually, I used to have 2 servants at my house in Vietnam: One to help with cooking AND cleaning around the house, the other one is more like a non-certified dental assistant who helps my mom with her dental office. I still remember my mom paying each of them 20,000 VND, which was about 2 CAD, per day.

    • Amelia

      cooking AND cleaning?! don’t say that–now everyone will want someone to do both!!! Haha thanks for your input, Thien. A dental assistant, eh? I’m not sure that as a kid I’d want one of those around the house….scary.

  3. yolanda

    i vote for cleaning – assuming it includes laundry… but gardener, driver, and nightwatchman aren’t on the list. i think i prefer the term “staff” to “servant” though.

    on a related note, i’m housesitting for the weekend and the cook at this house makes amazing banana muffins and peanut-butter brownies!

  4. Mindy

    I say run errands, specifically grocery shopping because I know you hate doing that 😉

    • Amelia

      @ Mindy: that’s true, I do hate grocery shopping…..

      @ Yolanda: I forgot about gardener, driver and nightwatchman. Although I think most people in north america don’t mind driving. and yes, staff is a much better term.

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!