Monday, November 12, 2012

Divali learnings.....

We live in a huge colony belonging to our employer, where premises are provided to most employees for the duration of their service.  Naturally, there are several gates, and the associated security.   Regardless of the high tech level of work, or sophisticated research conducted,  residential families, means household help coming to work daily from outside, and so there is a system of entry passes, that are periodically renewed.

My household help "S" ,  also has one, and every so many months, she asks for a letter from me, which confirms that she works at my house. The security folks then renew her pass, and she often shows it to me to find out the next date when she must repeat the procedure.  I have been noticing that there is a blank where it says "signature of pass holder".

She and her entire family were supposed to make a trip to her native place in the first week of November, and she had told me in advance that she would be away for twelve days. As is customary, I gave her an extra months salary for Divali with her October remuneration thinking it would find use on this trip, bid her a good trip, and mentally geared myself up to being run of my feet in the ensuing days.  A viral bout which sapped energy didn't help. But this kind of stuff has happened before and one has learned to manage.

A couple of days later, I get a call and it's "S".  She calls to say that she herself fell sick the evening before the trip,  and the family had now gone ahead and she had not. She was feeling better now and would be coming after all . From the next day !

To me, this was like Divali. 

You see , she need not have called. She was to be away for 12 days,  it would not be affecting her monthly remuneration, , and I would never know whether she was away or at home. She could have had a much needed rest without the usual family chores.
To her that was simply not an option.  She called. And came the next day. 

She came in carrying her entry pass which needed to be renewed, and as usual took my letter and signature to the security office. Came back and showed me the pass.

This time there was something else. In the place where it said "Employees signature", there was this shaky looking set of letters in marathi, spelling out her full name. 

I was absolutely amazed.

"S", who never went to school,  and slogged  all her life , singly, to ensure her children completed XIIth, and her grandchildren went to school, had finally learned to sign her own name ! 

I know it must not have been easy.  To concentrate and practice in a one room house with 4 small extremely playful grand kids, and 3 married sons so very busy with their jobs and lives, with "S" herself working houses and managing her own house.  

She is excited. She will no longer give thumbprints in the bank, when she goes to check her savings and withdraw.  She wanted to know how to tell the bank that now onwards she will sign !   A visit to the bank is planned.

In the meanwhile,  some Divali goodies are being put together at my place, as Guru Dakshina, to the little Gurus in class 2 and 3, who insisted that their grandma learn to write her own name, and actually inspired her.

May this Divali be as exciting for everyone as it was for "S" with her new learning !

Happy Divali !


  1. Wow..this made be smile really wide :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Corinne, she never ceases to amaze me too ! Happy Divali !

  3. thank you for sharing this lovely story, and yes May everyone have a beautiful diwali and every day after that ..

    My regards to "S", please do extend them to her..

    Happy diwali to you -family- S - her family and Everyone around you ..

    May this festivities bring all that you have always wished for


    1. Bikram, Your wishes duly conveyed to "S", and she thanks you and wishes you a very happy Divali ! Highly amused that all my friends are greeting her ! Thank you and wish you a wonderful safe and healthful Divali !

  4. Lovely story! Congratulations to 'S'!

  5. Delightful. What better to celebrate to Diwali spirit than with this incident! :-)

    1. So true ! Thank you Ashwathy, and a very happy Divali to you !

  6. what a lovely Diwali treat for you as well as her...My heartiest Diwali wishes to you and your dynamic "S" :)

  7. This post made me smile
    and also brought tears to my eyes.
    What a special helper you have.
    Sending you good health wishes :)

  8. Wow! This news lit up my face and day, too! Happy Diwali! :)

  9. Through R's mom i come to knw abt ur blog.. I have been lurking for quite sometime.. it really nice to read abt ur househelp..
    Wish you a happy diwali!!

  10. Hopped through Zephyr's and landed here. Safe landing, I must say. Happy to have finally landed here after many plannings.

    I am sure S had finally found her self this Diwali.

    Joy always,

  11. I know I am super late...but still..this is the sweetest Diwali gift in a long long time :) I loved reading about 'S' :) Please pass on my lovely wishes to her :)