A middle-aged lady was killed by her domestic help. This happened on the same road my house is. The proximity made me less anxious than the actual incident which occured.
There has been an increasing occurence of people getting grieviuosly wounded or being killed by the people they hire for odd jobs around the house. Now, being in India it’s virtually inconceivable to NOT have a “servant” around for cleaning or even for cooking. But what kind of behavior gets metted out to them?
TOI reported that this boy who committed the crime is only 15 years old. Nowhere yet a man and still with the kind of aggression that many adults may fear to manifest or give into.
Many of us, who are quite comfortable in our situation in life (my how Victorian I sound!) often relegate these individuals to a status which is lesser that that they deserve and subconciously that may creep into our overt behavior towards them as well.
A good friend of mine has a helper from his wife’s hometown. The helper is a 19 year old girl who also takes care of their 3 year old daughter and does stuff around the house while my friend and his wife are at work. He is a good, decent man and exercises care and consideration towards the girl in many ways but in referring to her it’s always “meri naukrani” (my servant).
Semantics aside, just because someone is a hired help does not mean that they do not merit dignity in your eyes at all. Apparently this 15 year old assassin had stomach cramps and could not report for work at the exact moment the lady of the house wanted him to. He came later only to be fired on the spot. When he asked for his wages for the past 5 days he had worked in the house, he was turned out with a flea in his ear. When he came back later to plead his case, he was subjected to more rebukes. In the end he took the ghastly step and stabbed her and ran away with some amount of money.
Now this lady’s attitude towards domestic help, while reprehensible, is not justification for murder. But it is indicative of the kind of morass that the middle-class and upper middle class are afflicted with and which they refuse to recognise as an affliction.
Things may never get to the level of oppressing-leading-to-revolting but this kind of a discontent is rumbling beneath the surface more and more and people ought to take cognizance of it.
Just because someone is being employed by you does not open up routes to censure them at the drop of a pin. I’ve noticed my mother often grumbling that our domestic help caused a crack or a chink in a mug, tray whatever. But not even a fraction of that is directed towards any one of us if the same thing happens. Obviously there are some major differences between the householders and the domestic help and many a times that line of fraternizing should not be crossed but to reprimand them in a manner which is neither benefitting their mistake nor your claim to civility, is to go too far.
Maybe that’s what this lady did or maybe this boy was just a severely disturbed juvenile delinquent. But both have paid for it with their lives; she by losing hers and he by throwing his away before it could even begin properly.