The post was supposed to be written yesterday because the incident i am about to talk occurred yesterday itself but as you and i both know, it's never too late.
She was busy in cleaning dirty utensils in the sink. The previous night two families were invited over dinner so it was sort of natural to have a couple more ladles, a few more plates and ice-cream bowls to wash. i cringed just by having a look at the load. Imagine how she would do it? Since not all days are equal, she was fine with this too. She who? My house helper or colloquially, my maid. She is new to my house.
Tea was being done on the stove when i struck a conversation with her about her family and kids and life in Kuwait. She said her children live in India while she lives here. Her husband is not doing well by health. So he is unable to add more to the cash flow. She talked about other issues which are important to pay attention and because of which she is here, away from her family, living a life in a foreign country trying her best to earn. Basically, she is struggling to stay afloat.
'Don't you miss your children?' i asked.
She smiled apologetically. Such a stupid Q. i had asked, after all, adding more salt to her wounds.
'i do, madam but what to do? In India, there is no enough income. Survival is tough! So i work here and send money there. Every day my children ask me when are you coming back, Mumma? What should i say? i have to earn.'
'But they need you. You should be with them. They need you TODAY and if you don't go, they will forget you tomorrow. Then what will be the worth of earning money and sacrificing for them? They will never understand.'
'i know, madam but what to do?' She asserted the same question as to her answer. 'There, i don't have enough money.'
i sighed while stirring tea. It was about to be done. 'So, are you happy?'
'No, madam. i am not. Everyday when i lie on my bed at night, i cry! i miss them so much!'
'Then go to India. You will find some work there. Here in Kuwait, you are neither happy nor earning enough. In India, you will be at least happy being with your children. That happiness will be the backbone of your efforts in finding work. With more efforts, you will survive there. So i will suggest you to go India and be happy, be with your children. Children need their mother the most.'
i strained tea in two cups, one for each of us.
'You are saying the right thing, madam. i will stay for probably for 1.5 years here and then i will stay back in India.' i nodded and came back to the living room, imaging about the misery she must be going through thinking about her children who live far away and for whom she cries every night. Only a mother knows what it takes to stay away from her child. It takes a piece of her soul every day in order to provide them happiness, comfort and other things.
But this is not why i am writing this post. Sorry if you just raised your eye-brow. Yes. i scripted this conversation because it's poignant and i could relate with her story being a mother and all that stuff but the main motto to write here is to state a learning that i went through while talking to my maid.
i have narrated her part of communication in good English here but it wasn't perfect in real. In fact, it wasn't good at all! She speaks in broken English, somehow managing to convey what she intends to. Some times, i even have to blink for two seconds to get what she means. For example and only for example, when i ask, 'Will you have some tea? i am making.' She says, 'I am drink tea.' Then, as i said, blink for two seconds before i get what she has just said. She meant, 'Yes. I will drink tea.'
See! The point.
While talking to her yesterday, she was not the one struggling to get her words and sentences build up in the correct manner, i was the one racing my brain over - How to speak her language which is broken, stripped off correct grammar and right words? While she went on with her version of the language with impeccable ease, i found myself trying harder with each spoken word on how to communicate ,giving hell to being a writer and hence, a Grammar Nazi all the time. Well, most of the time.
It was actually interesting for me. i was learning communication at another level where you don't have to worry about correct grammar. Your focus lies solely on making the connection, to understand what the other person is saying. In return, you too twist the language so that the other person involved can get your message. See! Being right is not always right. You got to peek into the core of the conversation.
Since yestermorning, i am still looping into such learning. i too believe in simplicity. If the world knows any language the best, it is simplicity. No complication, no twist, no flamboyance. Just be simple. It touches the heart more with every ounce of blood pumping to it.