Housemaids belong to the less privileged segment of our society. Young girls are sent by their families to work in cities in order to financially support their families. Sometimes they face problems and discrimination in their employer’s house. But those who work for good educated families also reap benefits and are accustomed to the lifestyles of rich households.
Living in an educated household for a considerable amount of time can teach them morals and manners, while also contributing positively towards their grooming. However, at times it becomes hard for these girls to settle in a setting that is different from that of an educated household.
Iqra is a housemaid who went to Lahore for work when she was only 9. She stayed at an educated household for seven years. When she was 16, she got married to her cousin and began to live with him in Multan. She expressed her unfortunate situation by saying that, “We are sharing a house with another big family. We have one washroom. Sometimes I have to wait for my turn for 10 to 15 minutes”. She further stated that, “The waiting time seems like hours to me. I can’t help recalling my neat and clean servant quarter and washroom in Lahore. Sometimes I start weeping and I wish I could go back.”
When one becomes used to facilities, it becomes hard to live without them. Iqra’s life in Lahore was full of facilities. But now she has no TV to watch. As she is fond of movies and serials, she craves for entertainment in her life. But now she knows she can’t go back as her employer has hired a new maid. She knows she has to learn to live without what she has left behind.
Rani, another maid who has been working in Lahore for nearly 8 years, revealed that she went back to her village near Dipaalpur a few months ago after leaving work. She couldn’t stay there more than three months. She added, “Life without facilities becomes difficult. I used to help my mother cook on wood fire but smoke made me cough”. She added, “I missed my life in Lahore; the spacious and neat kitchen and fridge to store food. We have a TV but there is no cable in our village. Village life is boring. People don’t even have basic manners. I then came back to Lahore to work in a new house”.
These young girls who become used to life in the city and live in educated households find it hard to settle back into their village life. They are aware that they don’t belong to cities and don’t have many options and so they have to learn to accept harsh realities of life.