Saturday, September 17, 2005

neighbourly tales

My kind neighbour is a wife beater. And my maid is a big mouth.

See the connection? You are right. We share a maid.

After my jovial south Indian maid took up an extra job at the neighbours on the other side of the building, the morning sessions include little titbits from that house. Comprising husband, wife, a 9 year old daughter and a 9 month old son.

Since the usual stories she brings over are nothing very personal or juicy, I refrain from lecturing her on the ethics of a maid's job.

But the other day, as I shouted loudly from the kitchen to wake up hubby, she stands beside and tells me, "yesterday, they had a big fight."

"Hmmm..." I am preoccupied with squeezing a piece of lime into my glass.

"I am telling you, it was so bad, they were screaming at each other very loudly." She waits for my reaction.

"Really?" I immediately quit shouting at hubby. "Some people have loud voices and even when they talk you would think they were fighting if you didn't understand the language." I explained.

"See, Anna (implying my dear sleeping hubby) has a loud voice and it sounds like fighting when he talks." I continue.

"No, Bhaabi, this guy is a quiet fellow but she nags him a lot. Yesterday she was nagging him so much that he got really mad and dragged her into the bedroom and then beat her up." She knows she's got my attention now. "I was so scared."

I stopped queezing the lime out of shape and stared at it, horrified. My neighbours faces come to mind. Impossible.

"How did you know he beat her? And what were you doing?" I questioned.

"I saw them from the door. He was hitting her badly and she was screaming. I was minding the crying children. And later I saw her face all bruised and swollen." She replied.

Anger seethed in me. "Listen, why didn't you go in and stop him?"

"But I was scared, Bhaabi. This is the first time I have seen educated rich people living in big houses, fight like this." She looked at me almost accusingly.

I was disturbed. I went to drag the hubby out of bed to tell him. He was awake and had heard everything. There wasn't a thing I could do, of course. I made a mental note to be friendly to the wife when she called up to bitch about the maid or if I saw her downstairs. Usually I avoid talking to all the women who gather to chat and exchange stories in the evenings. They probably think I am too aloof or work too much, I let them think so.

I went back to the maid, "Listen, next time, anything like this happens, you are supposed to rush in and stop them, okay? Tell them, you are going to get in the neighbours, okay?"

I am hoping that my maid is making it all up. I bit my tongue just in time to stop another loud "How much longer are you going to laze in bed?" directed at the husband. Because I am also aware that if my maid IS making up stories, then the neighbours must be hearing tales about me beating up the hubby.

40 Comments:

Blogger shub said...

GAWK!!! do update us dear!

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Sangita said...

I like your blog Anumita especially as I see a lot of me in you..OR might be that is what I like to believe ..
well who knows :-)
However u express your thoughts quite beautifully..Always makes up for a Nice reading

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Rhea said...

funny:-)
inspires me:P

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hehehe....these neighbors can spice up ur life...

bips

5:55 PM  
Blogger AmitKen said...

haha.. ur maid is gonna give u a lot to blog about ;-)

6:14 PM  
Blogger Abhishek said...

poor hubby....
sad to hear that he 2 suffers like all the hubbies around da world..
GOD SAVE HIM!!!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Hemanshu said...

Came here through RS's blog.. thought I would leave a comment.. enjoyed your entries.. I'm still single so life probably isn't that happening :D

WIll link to my blog.. if you won't mind.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Rash said...

hope the maid's tales aren't true. but there's quite a possibility they are...then?

8:57 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

:| I'd say that a gal should know when to stop nagging OR a guy should know better than to hit his wife.
But - its their reponsibility as a couple....

:D You try not to beat him ok? ;)

10:13 AM  
Blogger Hirdu said...

hmmmm ... Oh lord !! Please shower in some senses to humans !!

10:31 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

shub: Will do.

sangita: Thank you Sangita. You have a blog I can enjoy reading?

rhea: Glad to be some inspiration ;)

bips: Yes, but not without the maids. Otherwise I hardly know who lives next door.

amitken: You bet she is.

abhishek: Excuse me, hubby doesn't suffer. He enjoys it like all men.

hemanshu: Welcome. Reshma Sanyal? Get married and life will rock. No dont mind any linking.

rash: If they are true, I hope there isn't a next time. If it happens again, I hope the maid has the courage to stop them and give a lecture. Sadly nothing I can do.

nupur: You are right. Maybe they ll learn their respective lessons and move on.
Yesyes, will try not to beat him, now with muscles and all from the gym :)

hirdu: Amen. Welcome.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

if u see someone beating up someone else, u think unfairly, in that someone else's house ... should you go in and stop it? is it ur moral duty / right? or are you interfering ... have been thinking abt this for a long time and not reaching anywhere ... if u know tell me :)

12:05 PM  
Blogger hope and love said...

cute post..
:))

12:56 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Here's what you need to do - you need to send your maid out to find work in more households, with explicit instructions to gather as much gossip from your neighbours as possible.

Then blog about it.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

We have been taught to behave well infront of maids right from childhood :) ..coz what happens definitely gets even more masala-fied .. :p

BTW read that abt ur job..its a tough decision to just stop working but its really necessary to get a 'life'.. and luckily at least us females have that choice nahi? :)

2:45 PM  
Blogger Rat said...

Well she might not be lying at all and thats really sad. But when you saw her next did she look bruised ?

6:25 PM  
Blogger Parna said...

even if the maid is exaggerating, there is some iota of truth in it. funnily, many 'decent' looking people are actually wife-beaters. the figures are shocking.

and on not hanging out with women in your building and participating in the gossip - well, welcome to the group :)

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Ash said...

Gossipy maids can be a real pain...but also entertaining ! I sure hope that incident wasn't true though...sad.

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Pranav said...

whooo...isnt that kind of serious???? So the wife is still staying with him?? Does she work and is financially independent?

12:05 PM  
Blogger Swathi said...

was she by any chance the maid in the movie 'My Wife's Murder'
'coz it sounded jus like that ,nagging wife irritates husband and he had to hit her.
maids n neighbours r never short of masaladhaar stuff :)

1:25 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Was about to say what you said in the last line.. your neighbours must also be hearing lot of juicy stories about you!

btw, is your maid still refer HER husband 'Anna' ?

1:47 PM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

hahahah !!! you must be notorious around the neighborhood then... LOLOLOL

4:15 PM  
Blogger anumita said...

prero: This is never a weird comment in the first place :) I believe violence is not to be tolerated regardless of who's beating up whom.

hope n love: Thank you.

jay: The only thing that stops me is the fear that the maid might get greedy and start bargaining with the neighbours too, to get stories from my house.

twilight fairy: I know. In fact, even now, we always try to behave decently in public or with people around.
Regarding the job, I have done this a few times. This time it actually took me longer. But I never regret anything.

rat: I hardly see her. In fact I just knew it was her by the description the maid gave. But I haven't seen her since.

parna: You are right. I have heard of other 'docile' men too who are brutal wife beaters!
Always feel out of place with all the women downstairs. Think something is wrong with me.

ash: She kind of feels she has to tell me everything. Since I often ask about her kids and family, she probably thinks am interested in all her stories.

pranav: I think it's very sad and very serious. No, she doesn't work. Always at home with the kids. Must be really frustrating at times.

swathi: You know the other night I watched the movie and the same thought came to my mind. But I dont think she's so bad as the filmi one.

chakra: I know. No wonder they give me stange looks when I pass them!
Yes. She still calls HER husband and MY husband Anna.

pallavi: I realise I must be. All thanks to the stpid maid.

7:32 PM  
Blogger AmitL said...

Interesting topic,this maid one.Now, to find out whether she talks about u getting beaten,just keep an eye open for people's body language in your building..If they stare out of sympathy,or,peer as if looking for bruises,u know what the maid's told them..If they smile,she's praised u.:)Good luck.

8:24 PM  
Blogger WA said...

Sad but very common. Loved the last sentence Anumita, made me smile after being shaken for a few seconds. As to Pranav's comment, you would be surprised as to how many financially independent educated women put up with violence for whatever reason.

2:06 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

The post reminded me of "My Wife's Murder". Btw... it was interesting

1:44 PM  
Blogger Rama The Drama said...

Wonder when the women of our country would have the courage to say "NO" to such crappy men and walk out!Reading ur blog felt like listening to juicy but sad gossip!Nicely done!

2:05 AM  
Blogger GettingThere said...

Yeah, harsh realities of life! Many men do beat their wives. I would interfere if someone did that in front of me. But, on second thoughts, if I were the maid I probably wouldn't say anything for the fear of losing my job.

Nice thought there - the maid making up stories about you beating your hubby!! Gave me a chuckle or two. BTW, how is gymming coming along? You still going?

From one of your previous posts - I read you hope to adopt a child someday. Well, good luck to you! I would love to but I and my husband don't agree on this single thing.

Going to link you on my blog - hope you don't mind.

2:23 AM  
Blogger jaygee said...

Same woman I bought stuff from? That lady??

4:41 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Wow. At first, I shuddered to think that even if this woman is a terrible nag, she cannot deserve to be beaten. Then I started to wonder what I would do in the situation the maid was in. Would I intervene in some way? I think so, but cannot be sure of doing anything on the spot - I would probably report the incident.
You do have a wonderful way of easing away from a very serious topic - your closing lines were perfect to steer us away from sadness. Great job!

8:42 PM  
Blogger Abhishek said...

i agree with "gettingthere" that men dont beat their wives....
mind if i 2 add u on my blog page??

8:57 PM  
Blogger Geo said...

Is this what they call RSS?
I mean Rumor Spreading Society ??

:_D

7:28 PM  
Blogger kickassso said...

I know that some of the fights in my neighbourhood are "staged" so to speak!

3:29 AM  
Anonymous sherriff said...

I really never understood how one can be so mad to beat his spouse

7:52 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Phew! Hey lotsa blog material here huh? Hope your neighbour blogs too *wicked grin*

1:41 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

amitL: You are right. Nobody talks to me. They have all been staring at me looking for signs of bruises I think!

Amber: Thank you. I know, it's actually similar.

ramchi: I guess it's not so easy for people in the situation. There is a lot at stake sometimes and women have always been taught to endure to suffer!

gettingthere: That's what kept her from butting in. She wouldn't want to lose her well paying job. Yes gym going well and regularly. About the adopting a baby plan, it's still a dream and I hope I have the guts to go through with it.

jaygee: No, not that one She's quite a tough woman and wouldn't stand any nonsense. And incidently they are a very lovey dovey couple :) This a couple on the other side of the building.

wearyhag: Here neighbours usually dont interfere and report such incidents. They prefer gloating over them! The maid wouldn't dream of reporting. The social hierarchy is too binding to allow these liberties to lesser people like housemaids!!

abhishek: Getting there never said men dont beat their wives. They do, all over the world.

geo: Welcome. RSS, it is then, if it isn't already taken!

kickass: Welcome. Why in the world would normal people "stage" fights?

sheriff: Mad itself says it all. Only the 'mad' can do it.

gratis: What?? I never thought of that! I better be careful!

7:29 PM  
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9:20 AM  
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9:21 AM  

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