My apartment has relaxed it’s rules. The person who I longed to see 2 months back, is finally allowed to enter our premises. My house maid, Shamu can now return to work. But strangely, when I read the letter from our apartment, I didn’t go crazy with joy like shown in the tiktok videos. My husband however, showed pretty much all the reactions from the Tamil memes. “Good news, maids are allowed back!!”, he came out of his room shouting. “I know, I read it”, I replied calmly. The sheer lack of excitement on my face took him by surprise. It amazed me too in a way.
Call me crazy, but it was strange for me to think about going back to the life that we had before. I know the lockdown period is bound to change us a bit, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was that which was stopping me from doing a celebratory dance. I mean, I should be feeling excited about getting time to relax, right? Two months back, when everything shutdown suddenly, I had so much to whine about – doing dishes, sweeping, mopping, cooking, homeschooling…and of course added with the joy of being stuck inside. Two weeks into lockdown, I thought it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I enjoyed cleaning the dishes, making sure every mixie rubber, coffee cup, and all the stuff my maid gives an ok-ok wash, look extra clean, and feeling pretty satisfied. Life wasn’t too bad, I thought. And then, when the lockdown extended to the next 2 weeks, all of those lifting the collar up moments turned to grunts and full fledged anger trying to manage the house from falling to shambles. I felt miserable, and I am sure I would have cried happy tears on seeing the maid-allowed-to-return letter then.
But then came the next few weeks which had my husband helping out much more than before. Could be because he is a great guy, or could be because I came down hard and told him we needed to do this together as I am on the verge of a breakdown. Well, whatever be the case, the last few weeks of sharing the work was nice. My little one did his part too. Never knew hanging clothes to dry was so much fun until he started helping me out. We do a thing where he makes me throw each of the washed clothes out for him to catch and he jumps in all directions laughing hard as he catches it. He never missed, in case you were wondering. Somewhere it became that toiling hard inside the house and running off to cool down in an air conditioned room was something all of us looked forward to. And now Shamu is going to return.
Don’t get me wrong, its not that we did a wonderful job of keeping house shiny clean or something. We aren’t that perfect. But it felt okay to be not perfect together. Now that Shamu is returning, we have to clean our house up a little before she comes to work. I really don’t want the “That box is still there?!”, look. And of course, once she arrives, she would take so much off my hands. I can finally get back to having some time for myself. My husband is planning what he can do with the free time he has. The house is going to be cleaner I am sure. I can go back to working on my long pending project. I think I can feel a smile forming. But the image of my family sharing some laughs and talks while working together, flashes across my eyes. A little part of me feels sad as I realize I am gonna be missing working with my old partners. Maybe I will ask our maid to leave the laundry alone.