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Maidless in Mumbai

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Pssssst! We have a dirty little secret!

We’ve been without a maid in Mumbai for the better part of a month.

When I mention that to anyone who lives here… or has lived here… they are aghast! It is unimaginable that one survives without ‘help’.

“How are managing?” “What about all the dust and dirt?” “What happened?!”

And for those who are unfamiliar with life in India:

“What is the fuss about?” “We’ve never had a maid!” “You had someone clean for you?! I want that!!”

Truth be told, it made us realise how lazy we’d become.

Earlier, I would see something and think

“Must remind her to clean that spot!”

The bed would be left rumpled and crumbled with pillows tossed all over.

The dishes would pile up in the sink.

Now we just do it before even giving it much thought.

You evil mop!!

You evil mop!!

However, I have an admission. The breaking point was the floors.

We can be democratic about the dishes. Dusting even. Watering plants.

We know he’s helpless in the kitchen with cooking and equally so with laundry.

But he more than makes up for it in other ways.

You see.. my partner is a self-confessed ‘compulsive cleaner’. Which means when the mood strikes, watch out! I’ve never seen my 20-year-old toaster oven shine until he got his hands on it!

However… the floors… the sweeping and swabbing… that’s the killer.

So after a couple of weeks, we found a solution. Borrow help twice a week for under an hour just to do the floors. That’s it.

Now don’t get me wrong. We are still looking for reliable reasonable help. As soon as either of us gets into a manic schedule, our present state of domestic bliss will be shattered.

Until you live here, you cannot comprehend the extreme level of dust ‘n dirt and how much accumulates in a single day! Or the delightful, amusing, sometime exasperating symbiotic relationship between ‘helper’ and ‘helped’.

However, for now, we remain ‘Maidless in Mumbai.’


PS. Just because it seems oddly appropriate… Here is a little Winnipeg Punk flashback with Propagandhi‘s “How to clean everything”.

It was shared today by a Bandra buddy in response to ABCD vs CBAD “You don’t belong here!” with a comment that made me grin ear to ear!

“Iconic Canadian Punk band…… If they can be Propa Gandhi so can you. You’re a Bandra Bugger men.”

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  1. Get an IRobot Braava. It’s an automatic sweeper/mop. We use it on the days the maid doesn’t come to get mop the dust. A genius invention.

  2. My father in law is a compulsive cleaner…in very extreme ways! Everyday after he comes home from work in the late afternoon he cleans for nearly three hours the entire small apartment and everything he does three time.
    The problem there is also that due to the smog and dust in the air the apartments get dusty very quickly when the windows are opened

    • China’s smog and dust is ALMOST comparable to Indian levels… but honestly… it is dirtier here. 😦

      However I’m happy to hear my partner is not alone in the compulsive quality to his cleaning. He certainly would NOT do three hours though. It is more a ‘when the mood strikes’ and focused typically on one item.

  3. Marta says:

    In China it is also very common to have a cleaning lady (called ayi), but she only comes a few hours one or two days a week, depending on your needs. Well, I guess expat families with kids have ayi full time. We have an ayi in the Suzhou apartment now because we don’t want to spend our weekends cleaning!

    • We also have ‘ayahs’ in India which are the ladies who help with childcare and housekeeping. Wonder if there is a linguistic connect between ‘ayi’ and ‘ayah’??

  4. The heat and the dust eh? We mop out daily at the finca in Spain, less in our Gibflat. But one of our neighbours washes out at least three times a day. First thing, mid morning and later in the morning. At least, I think it’s only three times …

  5. isbergamanda says:

    I have totally grown to love having a maid come in once a week! I have had a maid for the past four years and don’t want to go back to being Maidless. Congrats to you for chosing to go without a maid though!

    -Amanda at http://teachingwanderlust.com/

    • Oh don’t get me wrong – I truly sincerely appreciate having help! 😉 It is just surprising how we are managing so well without. I will likely get a ‘deep cleaning’ service to come in two weeks for all the crazy corners we don’t manage (and a regular maid wouldn’t either!)… but for now we are doing ok.

  6. I had a friend years ago who talked about the astonishing amount of dust build up and her family having a maid. She was from Delhi. I figured she was exaggerating but I guess not! 😀

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