A conversation with my maid servant made me think about this. Can one person be a moral inspector of another? Be it an employer or anyone else. Do we have the right to be moral policing of others? Read on….
“Maine kuch nahin kiya” (I have done nothing wrong) she said.
She was standing in front of me gesticulating with her hands, defending herself that she has done no wrong. She’s my maid servant – must be around 24 years of age, short, a little fat – keeping in view the amount of work she does whole day; very dark, so dark that as she stood against day light, I could only see the white of her eyes and her long, inorderly teeth (reminds me of the little boy Darsheel Safari, of ‘Taare Zameen Par’). Her hair tied up in a plait, she was looking at me with a little fear in her eyes.
“Maine kuch nahin kiya”, her words were drilling my mind. Like a carpenter drills a wooden plank, and the specks of wood scatter around the person’s face. The same way I stood there looking at some shunya far away with some deep thoughts scattering all over me.
Actually, what had happened that my whole family was out somewhere for some 3-4 hours, with the maid alone at home to finish off the chores. We had just reached home, and found that the work was not yet done and she was sitting on the floor of the balcony. I just walked up to her to find out why she did not finish off the work, to which she replied that she vomited and therefore, is feeling very weak.
At that moment I realised, she was actually looking very drained out and feeble. On asking her why she vomited (I thought, may be stomach upset or something like that), she immediately said “Maine kuch nahin kiya”. She was obviously defensive.She did not want to be doubted about her moral character knowing very well in her mind that she was all alone for hours, was of a marriageable age, knows young boys who work in neighborhood, she thought I would doubt her. But I was lost in something else.
Suddenly I felt that a girl, who is mature enough to be a mother now, and is not married, not because of her choice, but because there is no one to bother about her. Her father is a drunkard and mother too ill to work or take care of the family, and she is the eldest among her siblings, so she came to Delhi to work and sends money home, the same story for the poor girls who come to work here.
But the point is, when did I become her moral inspector? Why she has to tell me a thing like that? Does she not have a right to the very basic pleasures of life which a normal human being longs to experience? She is forced to remain single, I realized it at that moment.
I got reminded of that dialogue of a hindi movie named Astitva, in which actor Tabu plays the role of a housewife, whose husband while touring for his job stays away for months and happily enjoyes the company of other women. But when he finds that his wife (Tabu) is in love with her music teacher, a young man who frequents her place, the husband gets furious. And then, at that moment, the young wife questions her husband saying “Jo aag tumhe jalati hai, woh kya mujhe kam jalati hai?” (Does the fire of passion only affect men?).
I don’t know what more to say in this. All I can say is, it is an unequal world, sumptous, luxurious buffet for some and an empty bowl for someone else across the globe.
Yet, my question remains unanswered, how can one person become the moral police of another? What do you have to say about it?