The concept of domestic help has gone far beyond the basics of housekeeping. This is a concept taken from the subcontinent. Far before Pakistan was a separate entity with borrowed traditions; it was a part of a bigger country where the domestic help was considered a part of the family. They dressed like the home-owners and even sat to eat at the same table.
However, the 21st century has made permanent the notion of a very different role of domestic help. As an observant member of a quintessentially flawed society, here are 5 simple changes we must make if we wish to alter the state of domestic help in Pakistan.
However, at the risk of sounding like a cocky elitist, I’d like to replace the phrase “domestic help” with folks.
1) They are not a piece of meat. They are human beings with feelings. I bet that’s a sentence you’ve heard several times, but here’s a whacky thought – apply it?!
To all those men and women in fancy Sapphire clothes, flat ironed hair dyed a tone too light to match your skin; your folks are not humanoids.
So as you chow down the overpriced steak, get them a seat. If not, don’t bring them along to watch you sniff 1/5th of the food, while you casually order the rest to be taken away.
2) Here’s a suggestion, your folks do not have cooties. So ensuring they have a separate set of crockery merely heightens your hypocrisy. How? Trace the irony in the lifestyle of eating the food they cook for you with their bare hands, yet not allowing them to eat in fancy china you use. Grow a little integrity and throw that stainless-steel plate away that you luckily got for 150/- at Sunday bazaar.
3. I’m sure you’ve had a long walk from your room to the lounge at 12:30 pm. This is especially true if you slept really late last night. So, as you kick back on the fluffed up couch and order your folks to fetch you the remote lying an inch away from your feet, try exercising them yourself first.
There’s a reason why your house is so clean despite the fact that you’ve slept through half the day. It is that your folks have been on a roll since 6 am.
Who sent the kids to school? Who made breakfast for them? Ironed their clothes? And, who has made lunch already? How is the house already dusted and swept? One word – folks. So get off that couch, move the two muscles and pick up that remote yourself. That is the least you can do.
4) I probably shouldn’t have to say this but – do not raise your hand at them.
5) Hiring a minor constitutes child labor and it is illegal in Pakistan. However, if the hired help makes their children take part in their labor, do not allow that to happen. Instead, perhaps take the responsibility of educating them and caring for their little needs. You may not be their parent, but just because their parents snatched their childhood away from them, doesn’t mean you have to as well. Try to look out for their little needs just like you would for your own kids.