Kolkata: Do you want to be my domestic helper?

Rain 4It’s been raining a lot here.

Sometimes, our apartment feels like it’s being possessed ever since the monsoon season hit. The heavy rain gives out low thudding sounds, while the wind, which has picked up super speed and strength, bangs loudly against the windows. I swear if the wind goes on like that for 24 hours straight, the full length balcony glass doors will shatter. And I wouldn’t know what to do if that were to happen. Probably take photos for the blog ’cause #priorities.

Because of the rain and wind, our apartment gets dustier more easily. And more insects are swarming our living room lights for warmth. I feel bad killing the insects, but I can’t have them breeding, right? So I’ve been spraying a lot of insecticide, which in turn, makes my living space filthier.

One of Azri’s bosses had once urged us to get a domestic helper to clean the apartment. Initially, I was reluctant ‘cause I thought I could handle it and I wasn’t sure if I could trust a stranger with our valuables. But now, I welcome the idea with open arms.

Most of Azri’s colleagues who are locals here have domestic helper coming to their homes daily to clean, including doing dishes. I was appalled to know how much they cost – It is an average of 900 rupees (i.e. almost S$20) per month! Like, what?! But Azri’s colleagues did warn us that because of the location that we are staying in, price may be higher.

We don’t need daily help. We just need want weekly ones. But it has proven to be hard to find. Emailing cleaning companies was futile ‘cause they never replied back. Calling them was equally useless ‘cause they couldn’t communicate in English. And the one recommendation which we received walked out on us on our first meeting.

It was quite rude of her to walk away just like that. But I suppose, from her facial expression, she felt insulted? Honestly, I still cannot comprehend why. Rai, our driver, was the one who suggested her and acted as our translator during the meeting, since she couldn’t speak English. After a tour of our apartment, we started negotiating the price. She quoted 3000 rupees, which was ridiculous for a four-days(-two-hours-each)-per-month job! She reduced her rate to 2500 rupees and said that she would come everyday. We didn’t agree and repeated that we only needed her once a week. We counter-offered 500 rupees and once Rai conveyed that to her, she walked off immediately. What just happened?! It was more amusing than anything else, though. I mean, we were offering her more for less work (since based on her quotation, she should be earning 333 rupees for the four days), but I guess she didn’t see it that way. I don’t know, it was strange. Rude and strange.

So anyway, we are back to square one now. I suppose we will just have to pay ourselves to make sure our apartment is clean, until we find a reasonable candidate. Any of you want to fly to Kolkata and be my domestic helper for S$10.90 a month? You just have to mop the floor, including the balcony which is filled with pigeon poo, and clean the three toilets weekly… Plus, you get to hang out with me! Let me know if you’re interested. HAH.