KOLKATA: A re-run of last year’s restrictions got Kolkatans to add household chores to their workload after domestic helps stopped coming due to suspension of train services. A lot of these city residents are now replacing the ‘long-distance’ helps with local maids who can walk or cycle to the houses.
This arrangement is turning out to be cheaper, too, since the local helps do not have to spend time and money travelling and many employers are allowing them to come to work even at odd hours.
For Neha Sharma, business head of an outdoor publicity agency, who lives in Dum Dum, it was a nightmare again when her cook, who lives in Birati, was unable to come. “Luckily, my other maid who was engaged in sweeping and cleaning lives nearby and I asked her to take up the cooking job too,” she said.
Sumana Konar, a fashion designer who lives in a complex on Ritchie Road, has given up both her maids who used to come from Baruipur for two others from the locality. “It was a long association for over a decade. One used to cook and the other did the housework and cared for my school-going daughter,” she said.
Seema Sapru, a school principal, had worked by herself last year when her maids couldn’t turn up. This time, she has employed local help from the Baghajatin area.
People in the Gariahat-Kasba areas mostly had maids coming in on trains from South 24 Parganas. Most of these helps have now been replaced by women living in the slums around Swinhoe Lane, Haltu and Dhakuria.
“My maid has gone back to Namkhana. Thankfully, I can cook and she could be replaced with maids from the locality,” said Saibal Mitra, a maths tutor from Kasba.
Many who have implemented this change in their homes are, however, a little dissatisfied with their new employees’ behaviour. Anirban Haldar, a digital marketing professional from Lake Road, said, “These urbanised women often get into arguments with us, which we are not used to.”