Saturday, 3 August 2013



I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.

In my maternal house we depended on the services of our household maid, 

Gayabai , who was honest to the core and had been our Man Friday in times 

of difficulties. Her work never attracted criticism but gathered awe in her 

clean shiny dishes and sparkling floor. The cash and jewelry were as safe 

as they could be in a bank locker in her presence. But any need arose she 

would defend herself as a fierce lawyer and ask for her rightful share of 

money but never ever thought of taking it by wrong means.

I had observed that my mother fed her everyday with the same fresh food as 

we cooked and partook. She was never fed leftovers. One day as a matter of 

curiosity , I questioned my mom about the same. My mom's answer revealed 

a compassionate side of her personality who otherwise ruled us with an iron 

hand. Mom told me that Gayabai being a needy lady who 

toiled  hard , honestly to make both ends meet,  was not a lesser human 

being than us. It was because of her hard work that we led a comfortable 

life. Hence she should be respected that she so rightly  deserves. My mom's 

firm opinion that the needy be given their due self-respect helped in fostering 

a life-long association with our Gayabai. She worked till the last day with my 

mom .These associations still mean a lot to me.

During the festival of Diwali, the mom applied haldi (tumeric) and 

kumkum(vermilion) on her forehead , as a mark of respect for a married lady, 

presented her with flowers , green glass bangles and new saree , which was 

bought specially from my mom's maternal town, famous for a particular 

weave . Gayabai loved the attention , importance and respect given to her 

by her employer on an auspicious occasion. After receiving her rightful share, 

she would touch my mom's feet and ask for blessings for her family. I would 

notice she had tears in her eyes as my mom was the only employer who 

treated her in an humane way. 

Though Gayabai was a woman of integrity and honesty she lacked the sharp 

acumen that was needed to run a household. My mom taught her to plough 

back a part of her earnings for a rainy day. For this my mom had kept side a 

Bournvita tin box for her savings . In the beginning she resented my mom's 

suggestion but mom was adamant. Whenever an extra work was done, my 

mom added a descent amount to her kitty. Each month she was asked to 

count her savings and her chest swelled with pride.Soon she made it a habit 

to contribute to her tin box. At the time of her daughter's wedding , this 

forced savings made by her stood in good stead. My mom contributed 

towards buying steel utensils for her daughter. This tin box was Gayabai's 

mutual fund and capital .She had thanked mom profusely for making her learn 

a valuable lesson in savings.

My mom's preachings combined with her actions of kindness and compassion 

sowed seeds of compassion,respect and kindness in my tender mind from 

early childhood and all emotions went hand-in-hand and one without the 

other is of no value.  I do believe that as human being born on this earth, 

whether loaded with money or not or bestowed with intelligence of varying 

degrees, respect is paramount in the hierarchy of essential ingredients to 

living. The honesty and integrity that dwelled in my maid's psyche was 

recognised and respected in my home. 

A good human emotion begets another good human emotion and the chain 

continues. And I still try to continue the good-work handed down by my mom.

Readers, what are your views and do you agree with me?