The Toll of the Toil: How to get over SRK (Safai Rona Kachra)


Rama Didi, this is for you…


One of the first memories I have is of my ‘didi’ (Rama Didi) put on a full-fledged dance performance to the tune of “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” to quieten the cries of two bawling children. 65-year-old Rama Didi, who cleaned the house, put up with two very annoying children and moved across the country with us. My younger sister and I were attached to her hip, spellbound by her performances.
15 years later, we reminisce about her, she is a distant memory; like a beloved toy. Yet, her fervor when dancing to the hits of the iconic Shah Rukh Khan Movie has stayed with us since.


The story-line, the problematic characters, and the flashy edits aside, when a movie can invoke a memory that you may not even remember, it becomes legendary. It is the only link between 2020 and 2005, the last tethering link between a 65-year- old woman and two squabbling children, mitigating all differences. If that isn’t epochal cinema, then what is?


And so, I proclaim our domestic help as other unsung heroes. Our mothers admonish them, our fathers ignore them, and children, more often than not, find a companion in them.

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">If the virus has taught me one thing, it is that I finally understand why Mahatama Gandhi asked for dignity of labor, and the difficulties of washing my own bathroom (for starters). In a single day, our helpers clean utensils, dust the house, sweep the floors, make meals at least three times a day and so much more. This cyclical conundrum is exacerbated on weekends when every person in the house is basically an added obstruction.<br>Cleaning a bathroom is supposedly a menial task, but trying not to gag while wondering how this suspicious smell is related to the even more suspicious-looking stain is the task that everyone has been keeping quiet about. This quarantine has made bloggers out of naysayers, ‘Youtube chefs’ out of culinary novices and ‘yoga practitioners’ out of people formerly known as couch potatoes. As for me, it has taught me the importance of respecting the work done by every person we never assigned enough importance to.<br>None of us know why Rama didi left so suddenly, but today, I hold her performance to a higher standard than I ever could have before. Slowly, begrudgingly, I have started enjoying working and cleaning up after myself. So, to honor Rama didi in our own peculiar way, my mother, younger sister and I dressed up as her favorite characters while doing the work we last saw her do ( 14 years ago).<br>If this is what the Prime Minister meant by being AatmaNibhar (self-reliant), I am beginning to understand the toll of the toil.<br>Don’t search for me; I am still peering at the suspicious stain, wondering where it came from.If the virus has taught me one thing, it is that I finally understand why Mahatama Gandhi asked for dignity of labor, and the difficulties of washing my own bathroom (for starters). In a single day, our helpers clean utensils, dust the house, sweep the floors, make meals at least three times a day and so much more. This cyclical conundrum is exacerbated on weekends when every person in the house is basically an added obstruction.
Cleaning a bathroom is supposedly a menial task, but trying not to gag while wondering how this suspicious smell is related to the even more suspicious-looking stain is the task that everyone has been keeping quiet about. This quarantine has made bloggers out of naysayers, ‘Youtube chefs’ out of culinary novices and ‘yoga practitioners’ out of people formerly known as couch potatoes. As for me, it has taught me the importance of respecting the work done by every person we never assigned enough importance to.
None of us know why Rama didi left so suddenly, but today, I hold her performance to a higher standard than I ever could have before. Slowly, begrudgingly, I have started enjoying working and cleaning up after myself. So, to honor Rama didi in our own peculiar way, my mother, younger sister and I dressed up as her favorite characters while doing the work we last saw her do ( 14 years ago).
If this is what the Prime Minister meant by being AatmaNibhar (self-reliant), I am beginning to understand the toll of the toil.
Don’t search for me; I am still peering at the suspicious stain, wondering where it came from.

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