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Long gone are the days of employing a huge retinue of servants to maintain one's station and quality of life in India. In the old days, high ranking British officials might have had domestic staff numbering in the hundreds and the retinue of Indian nobility sometimes reached the thousands. It conjures up fantasies of regal luxury and having every whim catered to, but in reality, it often proved an organizational nightmare. Today, the number of staff is reduced, but the practice of hiring domestic help is still strong in India. Moreover, it is not limited to the upper economic classes. Probably the majority of Indian homes employ some kind of hired help for cleaning, washing, or cooking.
Domestic help in India" in their ancient form were a cortège of servants symbolic of the social status of a wealthy individual or clan. The numbers of employed domestic helps have certainly reduced to make it easier on the organizational front. Once considered as a luxury, hiring a domestic help or a house maid in India has become a necessity for the growing number of nuclear working families. As the corporate culture is growing in India, a professional help called a house maid is a preferred relief to the families who find it difficult to manage their household activities along with their work timings and office schedules. The available domestic help include cleaners, nannies, cooks, drivers and gardeners. In the western and European countries, hiring a domestic help or even a baby sitter proves to be quite expensive. The labor saving Home Appliances flooding the markets are an alternate solution but they are also expensive initial investment.
A domestic help or house maid is the best possible solution that provides the tender care only a human can provide to the family and the kid in the family. Housemaids in India The advised process of hiring a domestic help in India begins with short listing the reasons for requirement of a house maid, the daily chores you plan for the domestic help and the wage you can afford to pay. Then you can approach a professional house maid hiring agency and register for a domestic help requirement. The advantage of getting a professional to intervene is that since they are from the field, you can rely on them and get a full-trained or semi-trained or untrained house maid according to your need and a responsible agency answerable in case of any problem. The domestic help provides an easier life style, as your daily chores become less time consuming and less tiring in case you have a help. A house maid is usually trained to look after small kids in the family that itself is great assurance for a mother managing an entire house along with the responsibilities of a baby and job.
However the disadvantages come in the form of loss of privacy, finding a reliable house maid, avoiding the personal problems the domestic help might face, getting work done meticulously and completely hassle free etc. The wages of a domestic help are dependent on the training status of the maid, your locality and how far it is from the housemaid's home in case of part timers, the household chores handled and more. In an average however, it has been surveyed the salaries for domestic help especially in India are pathetically low. Approaching a professional agency also requires making the agency payments that might be anywhere between 20-40% of the salary being paid to the domestic help. East meets West In the West, the concept of servants has largely disappeared, if only because of economics. Very few can afford to hire domestic help. Even the occasional services of a baby sitter strain many people’s finances. However, labour saving devices in the home and a large selection of convenience foods in the stores have reduced the domestic workload in the West considerably. A similar change is coming to India, but only gradually. There are labour saving appliances and convenience foods for those that can afford them. Wage demands of the lower economic groups that provide the domestic labour are increasing, and, as better paying options emerge, the miniscule salaries of domestics are rising. The next decade will probably see significant change on the domestic front.
There are pros and cons to hiring domestic help that you should consider before you decide if, or what kind, of help you will hire. You do have a choice here, though choosing to not hire help may raise a few eyebrows since it is so connected to social standing, and everyone else does it. You can get by quite handily without servants, if you choose to. Some people enjoy the convenience and freedom of having help around the house, but others cannot bear the loss of privacy and the difficulty of employer/employee relationships. The advantages include more free time and an easier life style. A large, airy home will require a lot of cleaning. Many "simple" tasks, like grocery shopping, are laborious and time consuming in India. Families with young children may appreciate having a nanny. A driver will add safety and convenience to getting around town. Also, there is the satisfaction of providing an income to the families of the people you employ. The disadvantages include a loss of privacy and the need to monitor what servants are doing. The age-old lament that "good help is hard to find" is common among the middle class. It is also difficult, sometimes, to avoid being drawn into the personal problems of people you hire. People you hire may not do things the way you want them done. If you are very meticulous, or if you enjoy doing the work yourself, you may not want the hassle. Salaries and conditions of work Salaries are dependent on many factors - where you live, what previous experience people have, and what functions are required. Domestic's salaries are pathetically low. A recent article in a Hyderabad paper mentioned house cleaners working 12 hour days or longer (with no days off) to earn a pathetic Rs 600 - 800 per month (US$ 15-20). However, a worker with a decent amount of English, who is used to the different ways of foreigners will expect considerably more. Ask friends or neighbors, and find out the expectations of the workers before deciding.
Though sometimes reticent at first, prospective employees will give you a pretty good idea of what they would be happy with. In a holdover from feudal days, workers traditionally expect an annual gift of some new clothing - a sari or pieces of fabric for sewing. You should also make provisions for daily food, or at least cups of tea and bread. Expectations should be clearly defined before hiring someone, and any problems discussed up front. If language is a problem, ask a neighbor or friend to help translate. Try and discuss any problems as they come up, and try and keep the relationship on business lines. Arrange for a probationary period of a few months at the beginning, and be very honest as to how things are working out. If you don't feel comfortable, you may have to change your arrangements. Typical Positions Cleaners The equivalent of a maid. Full or half days, or any schedule you set up. Clean, wash floors, sweep, etc. Often will cook Indian style food for lunch or dinner, if required.(If you are patient, you may be able to get the spiciness toned down).
Someone to look after kids. Indian women are usually very good with children, but may not be aware of importance of clean water, etc. Guidance required, at least at first. Cooks Western style cooks are very rare. A few may have worked with foreigners before. They may be good, especially in some areas, but may need guidance in others.
Drivers: Very useful to have. They know the area and city, and are used to the roads. Parking in cities is often a problem, and driving is tricky. If you drive yourself, be aware that there could be risk of involvement in a court case if you have an accident. Many people find that hiring a car with a driver on contract is the best arrangement. It would be cheaper to find someone with their own car, rather than go through a car rental agency. Ideally, look for an older driver who is more experienced and less likely to be reckless.
Watchmen: May be necessary where you live. In fact, they may be included with the house you rent.
Gardeners: Only if you have a large garden to keep up. If you find yourself in one of the old colonial bungalows, you'll find there is an awful lot of grounds work necessary.
Manual workers - May be needed occasionally, but best let a contractor handle those arrangements.