The unseen grief  

Posted by Nitu in ,

Some experiences remain locked in our memory forever. Some days leave a lasting mark. We may forget which day of the week or what date, but we never forget what the day had to offer.

It was the last Monday. I had hosted two back to back small parties at my flat over the weekend. I had used up my utensils till the last spoon in the kitchen. Somehow in the morning, I managed to have my breakfast and rushed to the office. Most of the time this is the norm anyway, "the maid will take care of it". However, the pile of unclean utensils was much much bigger this time. So when I returned to find the same unclean pile in the evening, I was naturally upset. How come the maid didn't turn up? Or rather how dares she without informing!

Though I like to cook, I hate cleaning the dishes. I always consider this activity doesn't fall under cooking. With a sweating forehead (due to my anger or Hyderabad's heated temperature I am not sure), I cleaned half of the pile, again pushing the remaining to the 'take care' kitty of the maid. All the time, I was wondering how the maid manages to clean the kitchen without losing her smile, when I have lost the ability to manage my life on my own even for a single day. Am I starting to live a parasitic life? Or already I have been? The many vibes of doubt, self pity, disappointment started eating up the remaining hours of the day..

The maid is not more than 42 years, but looks like 55 old woman. Next day, she arrived in time. I could see her natural self, the same composed and calm face. Not a single sign that something had gone wrong, that her truant day had offered me a terrible day! Inevitably I shot out, "Why didn't you come yesterday? Don't you know you have more works on Monday?"

She speaks only Telegu which I don't understand. She said a few words. I didn't get all. But what I got was saying, "Babu, my mother died yesterday."

My anger evaporated into shock, shock vanished into sadness, sadness into self pity of my own callousness. How could I be so hollow in thoughts!

Just a few days ago, an anguished, emotional footballer's pictures had been splashed across all the media. Frank Lampard's heroic contribution had led Chelsea beat Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final. Only Six days previously he had lost his mother for good. The media called him "Hero". I agreed.

Now right there, right in front of me there was a person standing who was not less courageous than a Frank Lampard, whose unseen grief would never make to any news, nevertheless whose loss was not less than anyone else. Just because someone earns a few bucks more than her doesn't make her grief any less than him or her. Just because that someone is me doesn't give me a right to treat her grief to be shallow. Everyone needs time to grieve. I told her she can take a leave as long as she wants, that I can manage for myself. Not that I was doing a favor to her, rather I was doing a favor to my own compassionately dead brain cells.

But she refused.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at Saturday, May 10, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Gosh heck of a post.......very well written......agree at time's we folks get involved in our stuff so much that we hardly care what is going with the other guy.......

May 10, 2008 at 3:17 AM

i am speechless too!
even though i dnt treat ppl who work for me badly, but thrz more to it than just being polite!
we've got to learn to respect ppl more!
great post thr!

May 10, 2008 at 9:26 AM

That was really touching!

Very true,a lot of "real" heroes go unnoticed to their grave while the cowards are celebrated.That's the world today.Sigh!

May 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM


Human by nature are very selfish and when we see things unaccounted, we easily blame others. Is it the advantage of having someone working or taking care or being a mere owner who sees only the work.

U said it right. We always see things this is or shud be done by them coz we pay. Its not coz everybody has problems and they work for the survival. For them a day without a pay is a loss for the family who breathe in it.
Sad in heart and mind, but physically they are monotonous to move on for many things in life to live.

May 10, 2008 at 4:06 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
May 10, 2008 at 7:17 PM

The hardest thing in the world to do is put yourself into someone else's shoes and experience the world through their eyes. If more people could I believe there would be far less problems in the world now. This is true for nations as well as individuals. Great post!

May 10, 2008 at 7:18 PM

Really touching post.
Some people are stronger than what they seem to be!
This maid of yours is one of those.

You did the right thing by asking her to take a leave instead of offering her money.


May 11, 2008 at 1:02 PM


Very true. Many times seeing things through only our eyes limits our understandings, giving only one sided picture.


Yes, there is more than just being polite. I don't treat ppl badly either. But I cannot say with the same conviction that I try to feel other's agony compassionately. Trying to do so...

Yeah, it is the tragic truth of the world.

Selfish gene working behind :(
While with a pay, someone can buy a person's service, he/she can never buy the person's emotion. We have to respect that.
Fighting against the adversity right way is the courage, isn't ? She(the maid) knows better that she can't live on mercy of one Nitu or someone for a or two days. Only her courage will save her. Personally I have seen ppl who roams around the holy places to tackle their loss grieves. Many ppl don't have this luxury.


Thanks. What you have said is so true!! I am still learning this lesson very hard way.


Yes, most of the ppl who are fighting for the survival without falling to other immoral cheap ways are way more braver than me.
At that time, I thought time was the most needed thing for her, not money. The death related ritual ceremonies will be held after one and half month, I am thinking of helping her financially at that time.

May 11, 2008 at 8:24 PM

Thanks Nitu. I was just waiting to read your reply comments. I will say " Perfecto" :)

May 11, 2008 at 8:35 PM

hmm.. in our tied up lives.. we sometimes do forget tht others have a life too

May 11, 2008 at 10:38 PM

Thanks. What you have said is so true!! I am still learning this lesson very hard way.

You and me both, I overlooked someone's feelings the other day just because I was busy doing something selfish. Hopefully I will be able to make it sometime.

May 12, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Very touching post..The world that we live in today makes a cynic out of even the purest of hearts..Then one day you get a wake up call like this and you stop to think..That's when you realize what you've become..


May 12, 2008 at 11:02 AM

i typed the comment,submitted and it vanished.

her mom's soul R.I.P.

i agree that we should wait and know the reason for the cause before we start assuming.

touching post.

p.s: if my comment has already come to you then please dont post this.

May 12, 2008 at 12:04 PM

she must be a very strong woman.. or maybe she didn't get along that well with her mother anyways.

ps. if you tell my 54 year old mother she's an old woman.. she'd kill you hahaha

May 12, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Impeccable read !! Carry on the good work Sir

May 12, 2008 at 2:12 PM


Thank u so much :)



Many of us commit the same mistakes, learn a lesson the same way. Be optimistic about correcting a mistake. You will someday.


Purity demands sieving out the dust. Thats what I try to do.
True, the world offers both dust and purity.

I value a mother so much that it is beyond my imagination what a such loss amounts to.
Soul R.I.P.
Yes, hasty to jump into a conclusion is a nasty trait.

She is! Losing one's mother is more than a sadness.

About ur mom's age? You bet, I can't say the same to my mom either :)

Thank u. I will. Just keep visiting :)

May 12, 2008 at 10:10 PM

may her soul r.i.p.

the post touched me, cos as ya sais, most of the time, we just take people for granted.

A lot of times, I never EVEN realise how much my mom and my dad do for us, let alone the maid.

It does take a lot of silent will for these people to toil hard and make two ends meet.

Compassion in our brain-freezed lives is a must. As you said, our goodwill and suppor in their lives is not for tehire benifit, but fo ours. :)


May 12, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Touching. It's sad that we behave the way we do, belittling people's feelings just because they are less affluent than others.
Very well written!

May 13, 2008 at 2:52 AM


Yeah, we tend to forget gratitude and compassion most of the time.

True. That's the moment when I feel I am losing my humanity.

May 14, 2008 at 9:54 AM

R E S P E C T is an unknown word in some ppl's heads. Its so sad.


May 14, 2008 at 8:10 PM


Sadly true. It is more sad when I discover myself among such ppl sometimes.

May 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

In the hustle-bustle of life we do tend to submit ourselves and fall into the traps of a mechanical routine, becoming all mechanical ourselves…then once in a while life gives us these experiences which give us the much needed halt and we are all left wondering…
Wondering again “where is all this going!?” “what have we made of ourselves!?” “what more!?” “what next!?”

May 21, 2008 at 4:41 AM

The post highlights how callous each one of us is. We get so involved with ourselves that the other person's troubles are completely missed by our eyes. The true courageous people hardly come under our notice.

June 6, 2008 at 10:22 PM

Post a Comment