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News Article

Elmy | 11 April 2007, 10:34am

State to fix payscales for domestic workers

Deccan Chronicle :


Hyderabad, April 10 2007:  The government is likely to issue a final notification very soon to fix minimum wages for domestic workers. According to the notification, domestic helps should be paid Rs 1,950 per month if they work for eight hours a day.  Domestic helps have to be paid Rs 122 a month if they work for half-an-hour a day in a house. They should be paid Rs 244 per month if they work for an hour every day, and Rs 366 for one-and-a-half hours of work a day. The notification mentions cleaning of vessels, washing, sweeping and swabbing as domestic work.

“We received many suggestions and objections after the publication of draft notification in November last year. All the valid points will be incorporated in the final notification,” said Mr R. Karikal Valaven, commissioner of employment and training. Women’ organisations are opposing the notification saying that the wages are very meagre and will not be of use to domestic helps, most of whom are women. The All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA) which conducted a survey in Hyderabad found that more than 5 lakh domestic workers were leading a pathetic life in the city.

“We are organising agitations all over the State from April 17 for more wages, ESI health cards and insurance schemes,” said Ms T. Jyoti, State AIDWA president. Ms Jyoti said that the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments were able to implement minimum wages for domestic helps in their States, but the Andhra Pradesh government had failed to implement payscales to benefit the domestic workers.



A positive step ; Kudos to the state government.

Now AIDWA need to rethink. Instead of agitating they need to look at formalising this employment and having regulatory checks in place.

Instead of creating an Hue and Cry on wage rise.

If this is put in place, and if organisations such as AIDWA look at educating the domestic helps of their rights.


As promised nearly two years back I will statr the story. Only this time it will look at a diferent prespective.



Current Mood: Cheerful
Current Music: Muasfir hoon Yaro

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Everybody Is Not equal before law

Elmy | 15 December 2005, 7:31am

Young maid tortured by Hyderabad cops  
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< !-- juveriya -->  

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Wednesday, 14 December 2005
Poor Best

Hyderabad, December 14: A young maid in Hyderabad was brutally beaten up by the police...

after her employers accused her of stealing gold ornaments and a sari.

The girl, Veeramani, was taken to the police station early on Monday morning and detained till late in the evening.

The police had not found any evidence against her, and were not even accompanied by a woman constable.

"They hit her on the soles of her feet. This is like the third degree treatment given to hardcore criminals," said Mary Ravindranath, Commission for Women, Andhra Pradesh.

Social issue

Activists say the attitude of the police betrays a class bias, where the employers' word was more sacred than the girl's defence.

The young girl, meanwhile, asserts that the allegations of theft against her are baseless.

"If I cry it will mean that I am scared and I have stolen. So I will be strong and I will not cry," Veeramani said.

Police authorities have admitted that the maid was treated unfairly, and they will look into the matter.

"We will inquire into the allegations and action will be taken," said ACP R Gopala Raju.

There can be no debate over the fact that Veeramani is a child and should not have been employed at all. But her case clearly highlights a larger problem—that everyone is not equal before the law.

Current Mood: Amazed
Current Music: Wa

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The circle of life

Elmy | 12 August 2005, 7:32am

The family returns from Tirupathi.

Sharda turns up for work.

Sharda: Amma Meena will not work here any more, and I will work for half a day only.

Savitri angrily: How do you think my work will go on ? "Where is Parvati"

Sharda : There is no need to speak to Parvati about this, you can look for someone else if you need a full time slave.

Savitri senses the affirmation and sarcasm in Shardas tone. Tones down a little bit and asks.

Savitri: Whats wrong Sharda, why will Meena not work ? How will you shoulder all the responsibility ? Will this not be a huge financial burden on all of you ?

Sharda has heard the first consoling tone in years, the sympathatic tone and queries boil the emotions Sharda has been containing. Emotions following the trauma take over the bold resolve that Sharda had taken she starts weeping inconsolably and says.

Sharda: Amma for one meal I cannot allow Meena to go through what I went through, we still have some pride left. I cannot allow Meena to be another Sharda.

Savitri is taken aback.
Sharda narrates the events. Inspector over hears the traivails. Walks into the Kitchen.

First time in his life talks to Sharda directly and in a toned down voice.
Inspector: Don't you think about going to the Police. Go ask Parvati to meet me right now.

An hour passes.....

Inspector: Parvati, see Sharda is like our Girl. I have been thinking about her for long. I know a person who suits you well, Gajanand is a Home Guard at or Police station. Do you agree?

Parvati :elated "Aiyyo Garu, you are our ann data, how can I thank you." Cannot contain her happines.

The Marriage is fixed, the day arrives. All the preparation from the girls side is done by Savitri. The Family leaves for the Venue.

Rahul and a couple of friends come over to Madans Place.

Rahul: Where is everybody?
Madan:  Gone over to Shardas wedding.
Rahul: Splirting the water he was drinking and mockingly " I thought  her taste changed after the rape I expected her to run  away with her neighbor who is a married lady"

The "loner" dog wags his tail and yelps.

Indebted with this favour, Meena is back to work at Savitris place.
Sharda discovers that Gajanand is a alcoholic and a pimp the circle of life continues.

The Upper caste politicians and makers of the law continue their way of life and these menial people like Sharda have a cycle of their own.

The next story is about Saima the daughter of Chand Khan the ricksaw puller.......


For comments :

Current Mood: Bye!
Current Music: Hum us desh

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Innocence lost

Elmy | 23 December 2004, 5:55pm

Its been 7 years since Ramulus death.

Shardas been doing two jobs to support the family.

Meena has been working with Savitri for all these years. Sharda after completing her work these days, goes over to the inspectors house as She,Meena and Mithali chat.

Recently Mithali has been talking to them about her first love and the three have been discussing it fervently.

Sharda to these days is being eyed by one of Madans friend (Rahul). He has even proposed to take her out in his car one day. Sharda has been fantasizing about settling down with him.

What intrigues her most is that he is the son of a politician, and a very affluent guy. Why is he after her ?
She has seen him go around with so many other babes, why then is he proposing to her ?

A house maid after all.

She thinks "So what if I am pretty and cute, I cannot dress like them, I dont have cars like them. What then is driving Rahul to me ?"

Its July now, Meena is home as the Savitri, with Mithali and the Inspector have gone to tirupathi and would be back in a fortnight.

Once while returning from the Guptas place madan asks Sharda to come along with Meena on Saturday as he has a party at home and he would want them to clean up afterwards.

Saturday. Meena is not keeping well, so Sharda turns up. The party goes on well into the wee hours of Sunday. Most of the guests leave by 3 AM. Rahul and a couple of guys stay back.

Rahul walks into the kitchen.

Rahul "Aiy all this time I have been telling you that I will take you on a drive."
Sharda "Hmmm"
Rahul "Will you go with me."
Sharda"N No....Ah y yess"
Rahul "Look theres no need to go anywhere now, come with me"

Holds Shardas hand and brings her into the Hall.
Madan "Hey whats happening"
Sharda "Le leave my hand"

Rahul Pushes her into the bedroom and rapes her.
Madan follows. Then the other two guys. They take turns and then go off to sleep.

Sharda lays crouched sobbing inconsolably.

The next morning Rahul wakes up first asks Sharda to clean up the home and work as normal as nothing has happened.

Warns her of dire circumstances if any one comes to know of this.

Sharda cleans up the house and walks drudgingly towards home. She contemplates suicide but decides against it.

She has a family to support, and now has to protect Meena from all this...

Next Inspector comes to know....Hushes up and gets Sharda married of to a Home Guard.

Current Mood: Bye!
Current Music: Rock

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Housewifes can be good Managers, taking advantage of someones desperation

Elmy | 16 September 2004, 10:15pm

6 months have passed now, since Ramulus death.

Its the 1st of the month, Parvati has come over to get Shardas pay.

Parvati "Amma, you know Ramulu is dead. Its very difficult for me to leave the two little ones and look for work, some days I get work some days I don't."

"With new government regulations, children of construction labor workers should not be around the site, if they have to be there, they should be under proper protective roofing and out of harms way."

"Contractors are hesitant to employ labourers with children."

Savitri "Hmm....Look if you are asking for pay rise, do not think about it until Diwali"

Parvati "No Amma I am thinking about taking Sharda..."

Savitri interrupting in a shocked tone "What, how will you survive then."

Parvati "Aiyyo no Amma, Sharda will work half day at your house and half day at Buchi babus house, and will come back home with the Guptas maid."


Savitri "Hmm...look Parvati, you need to tell me in advance of these things, I will need to think about it. If I cannot manage it, I will have to look for some one else."


Parvati "No Amma don't look for someone else. I am dependant on you"


Savitri "Hmm ok, What is Meena doing"

Meena is younger to Sharda.

Parvati "Shes at home only"

Savitri "Ok let Sharda work in the day, and let Meena stay with me, It will reduce your load as well and will add some income."

Parvati hesitantly "Ok"
(Probably she considers Meenas age 7 is too young, but well she needs the extra income)

Next Meena replaces Sharda, Sharda the 10 yr old bread winner.


Current Mood: Cold
Current Music: Maa o Meri Maa

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Ramulu Dies

Elmy | 8 September 2004, 4:30pm

Ramulu dies, Parvati Amma send the eldest daughter Lakshmi to pick Sharda up.

Lakshmi sobbing to Savitri "Akka, Dad is dead"
Savitri "Aiyyo."
Lakshmi "Can I take Sharda ?"
(Can I Take?).
Savitri a bit annoyed "Hmm yes, When will you get her back then."
Lakshmi "In a day or two."
Savitri " Hmm Okai, Sharda your sister has come to take you home."
Sharda "Lakshmi akka, how are you, how are your kids. You are taking me home are you ?"
Lakshmi "Yes"
Sharda gleefully "Akka can I go"
Savitri "What are you dancing about silly girl. Your dad is dead and look at you."
Sharda stops for a second, runs to her room, gets her small bag and dashes towards lakshmi.
Both sisters sob for some time and head home.

After the last rights of Ramulu, everybody goes back home.
Parvati "Sharda tommorow morning I will leave you at akkas house."
Sharda "No amma, I do not want to go there any more."
Parvati "Do not be silly, now that your dad is not there, how do you think we are going to survive ? How do you think I am going to feed the three of you ?
How do you think I am going to get you married."

"After a few months, you come back home. And work in the day at Inspector babus house and evening at the local store. We need the extra money now."

Next Sharda gets back home, starts two jobs....

Current Mood: Dismissive
Current Music: Ab ke baras

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Sunny runs away

Elmy | 18 August 2004, 10:39pm

A couple of months go by. Sharda is in the same routine.

Apart from the daily grind, what sharda looks forward to is taking Sunny for a walk. That is where she gets to meet her friends.

Today the girls are having a nice time. They play a chequered game, while one of them is playing on the chequer, one of the other girls holds her dog.

Its Shardas turn she gives Sunny in the care of the neighbours house maid. All evening Madan and friends have been planning this prank.

They have loaded 6 crackers ends tied to a can, and tied a smallish thread to it. They slowly tip the can where the maids are playing, and burn the other end and run away. The crackers blow up with a loud bang, and one of them flies from the can and blows just over the hand of the maid holding the two dogs.

Starled all girls let go of the dogs, and with the noise of the burst all dogs run helter skelter. One of the girls hand is bruised, Sharda looks at the girls hand, and then realises that the dogs have run away.

All the maids run out after the respective dogs, but sunny is not to be found.

Sharda "Amma, Madan Babu burst the crackers, we were starled all dogs ran away." " By the time I could realise Sunny was no where to be seen"

Savitri "You stupid wrench!! Do not blame Madan for it, what was the need for you to let go of Sunny. have you never heard a cracker in your life..."

With the news of the blast and the lost dog, the Police officer is back home early. He scowls at Sharda first.
Calls for the building security and blasts him, calls for a meeting of the building society

Officer "I call for the sacking of the security, due to his negligence the dog has run away. Tommorow it could be one of your children who could be in harms way."

An unanimous descion is taken and the security and his family are asked to vacate within a day.
(Job security, one days notice)

Officer is back home, Calls the police station " I need the dog in 24 hrs, employ whatever resources. You know its part of my family."

Sharda recollects when the sister just elder to her was missing, (Ramulus and Parvatis 4th child. Who is still not found).
Constables who came to enquire.
"Do you have a photo ?"
Ramulu " No"
Constables "Is your daughter a (cinemalu heroin) Actress, how do you think we shall trace her. Did she have an affair with somebody ?"
Ramulu :"No Sir, "
Constables " How do you know, would she have told you ?"
Constables "See we will do our best. Check and see if any guy around here is missing let us know, she must have run away with him."

"Recently there have been reports that a gang has been luring girls for a better life, and many girls are going away with know where peddapuram or bombay"

"If that is the case very difficult to trace your girl"

The dog is found within 24 hrs !!! No Photo needed.

Next Ramulu dies .....

Current Mood: Bad Hair Day
Current Music: Jis desh me Ganga behti hain

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Parvati visits

Elmy | 17 August 2004, 4:14pm

The fortnight passes away and Parvati amma does not visit Sharda. A few days past fortnight and still no sign of Parvati.

Initially Sharda was worried and sobbed in the nights, but now she sobs even during the day, she does cry when cleaning the dishes and clothes and when no one is around. Her intensity to meet her mother grows.

The next day when she is down walking Sunny, she tells one of the other maids who works (7 am to 9 pm), in the neighboring block to tell Parvati amma to come down to meet her.

Parvati Amma comes in the next Sunday.

The moment Sharda sees her, she starts crying. They go down and sit in the play lot. Even before Sharda can start telling her travails, Parvati chides her "Why are you crying. I could not visit you as your father is admitted in the govt hospital !!!"

Sharda " How is he ?"
Parvati "I don't know, the doctors do not talk much. One of the nurses says that he has very few days left"

Both Mother and child cry for some time.

Sharda "Amma take me away from here, these people are horrible. I work from daybreak to mid night. Amma I miss home"

Parvati "Do not be silly girl. We cannot afford that, we now have an added burden of medicines. I cannot work too. Gradually the work will get easier. It’s just the start. That is why you are feeling so."

"Madam is a nice lady, you will be a part of the family."

From the balcony Savitri "Parvati, are you going to stay all day ?" " And before you go come and see me."

Mother and child walk back to the house.
Savitri has a packet of left over, "Take this with you,"

Parvati bids farewell, ensures that she will be back on the first....PAY DAY.

Sharda gets back into the routine.....

Next Sunny runs away .....

Current Mood: Cold
Current Music: Maa ho meri Maa...

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Night Shift

Elmy | 3 August 2004, 9:40am

Sharda, is back home after the evening trip.

Now starts the next shift. Sharda washes some of the dishes that have piled up.

Savitris husband is back home, Sharda helps in serving the dinner. Once the family has its dinner, she helps in clearing up the table. She washes the dishes after that.

Its time for Sunnys dinner, she serves the dog it food. Savitri lays out food in a plate and informs Sharda that she can have that food and take more if she wishes to. "But remember this is your plate. Do not use the other plates that the family uses."

Once Sharda finishes her dinner, she hears the TV go on. The entire family is watching TV.

She walks into the Hall and stands over Madans Chair, watching the TV. Madan gets irritated and says,"Amma is it going to be like this every day."

Savitri looks up, and says, "Sharda its family time amma, You sit in the kitchen. You can watch the TV from the reflection" " And remember keep the light of the Kitchen turned of to get a better picture."

Sharda walks past Sunny who jumps into Savitris lap and is cuddled by Savitri. She watches the TV from the kitchen.

Sharda recollects, the Dog is a part of the family not me. She remembers her family, though no TV she was a part of it atleast. She sobs silently.

At around midnight she is given a Pillow and bedsheet, She is advised to sleep in the small room next to the Puja room. (Looks like a store room).

From the store room Sharda looks across the hall and Sunny has got a cuddly little pillow to sleep on. Savitri puts a small rug on Sunny before heading to the bedroom.

Next Parvati Amma visits Sharda (First Fortnight)......

Current Mood: Amazed
Current Music: Jeena yahan marna Yahan Iske Siwa Jana Kahan

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Sharda Makes Friends

Elmy | 3 August 2004, 3:27am

Sharda goes down with the dog. She is releived to come out of the house though. The pressure was telling on her.

She walks down and does not know where to go. The buildings security directs her towards an open space, where she sees, a couple of more dogs and house maids.

She walks to the open space and is welcomed by the maids.
They question in a chorus, "You must be the new maid at, 402 D" She reluctantly says yes.
Where have you worked before this, asks Malini who more or less is Shardas age.
Sharda "This is my first job"

Malini "Oh lucky, first job and in such a good house"
To work independantly I had to accompany my mother to a couple of homes, work there for free. With the experience I managed to get work at the Gupta's place.
But all of us here, hanker to get to your house. Its just 3 little kids and they buy you a new dress every Diwali."

And everybody nods in acquiescence. 

Not wanting to hinder on their inference, Sharda nods too. She wants to maintain a false sense of pride, which she has felt for the first time in her life. She drowns the whole days trauma in this sense of pride. "After all I am working in the best house on the block"

Poor soul she does not realise the headaches associated with this vanity and fame. It would have been better to cry all her grief out then to hold firm and hope for a better day.

Next Shardas day continues....

Current Mood: Confused
Current Music: Yaari hain Imaan mera yaar meri jindagi

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Sharda trys to understand her place in society

Elmy | 30 July 2004, 9:29pm

After freshening up the kids go down to play.

Sharda's heart is pounding, she is awaiting when Savitri will call her and ask her to go down and play with the kids.

Savitri calls "Sharda";

Sharda thinks yes that’s it, its my time to play. She runs into the hall, "Yes Akka".

Sharda "Make me one coffee ma, then take Sunny for a walk amma. Poor thing is stuck in the house all day." Sunny is the families Pomeranian.

Sharda walks to the kitchen, while making coffee Sharda thinks.

I cannot be like Akka, she’s big.
I cannot be like the kids, they have education and are rich.
I cannot be even like the dog, as it has someone to take care of.

She makes the coffee, puts the leash around Sunny and gets ready to go.

Savitri "Sharda remember ma, do not take Sunny where children are playing. Some silly people in the building complain ma."

"Stupid people, its just a cute dog. It needs to be free, it needs to play to. People just don't understand."

"Come back with the kids."

"Ok Akka"

Next Sharda makes friends......

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Hum us desh ke wasi hain

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Children Arrive

Elmy | 29 July 2004, 10:11pm

Sharda is out of the bathroom after finishing the clothes, She is sent to the balcony to dry the clothes.

Ding Dong " The children have arrived." Sharda has just finished drying the clothes and is walking towards the hall when Savitri calls.

"Sharda put the kids shoes away, and come to the kitchen quickly." Sharda runs to the hall, where the kids are watching cartoon network. She picks the shoes up and stands there watching the cartoon. A funny scene, she starts giggling.

Bang...a spoon comes flying at her.  She looks towards the kitchen aghast, Savitri "What the hell are you doing there, I will do one thing. I will put one TV in every room, so where ever you go you can watch the TV."
The childish Innocence takes over sharda, she asks "really akka."

It drives Savitri crazy, she walks upto Sharda and drags her by the ear to the kitchen, where a tray of goodies is kept. She tells her "Every day when the kids are back, you need to serve them with this." " And never forget to put the milk glass in Madans tray."

Sharda is back serving the kids, not a glance towards the TV. (My Thoughts : Probably her ears are still paining). Bang goes the milk glass, "I dont want the milk, how many times have I told you Mom. Hey stupid wrench never you bring this milk to me understood."

Savitri "Madan behave your self. Sharda amma can you clean that milk right away."

Next Play time, Sharda realises that she has no right to play .....

Current Mood: Crude
Current Music: Jaane kahan gaye woh din

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Day 1

Elmy | 28 July 2004, 10:59am

Day 1,

Sharda is dropped at Ameerpet by her mother. She is introduced to the lady of the house, Savitri.

Savitri has three kids the eldest is Madan a 10 yr old, the next is Mithali a 8 yr old and the youngest Shailesh a 3 yr old.

The elder kids are out at school, and first day of work starts for Sharda. She weeps a bit as her mother bids farewell, but is chided by her mother and Savitri. Savitri tells her, "Stop crying in this house. There has been no death. Keep all that crying with your mother, I do not want another sob in this house... Artham Chesikonu"

She is marched to the kitchen, where a piles of dirty dishes lay. She starts the cleaning, while Savitri lops on the sofa, to watch the afternoon Soap.
5 minutes go by and Savitri "Sharda get me a glass of water." Sharda fills in the water from the tap and takes it to Savitri. Savitri gets up with a furious scowl, and says " Never get water from the tap directly." Drags Sharda to the fridge and shows her the bottles and asks her to fetch water from here.

Emotionally tormented Sharda wants to cry, but does not as she fears that it could upset Savitri.

There are 3 water trips she makes in the next hour and answers the door bell twice. Savitri storms into the kitchen " Are you gonna wash the dishes all day, who is gonna do the other house work ?"

Well the dishes, sweeping and mopping finish by 3:00 pm. Sharda is ushered in the bathroom to wash the clothes. (This is not supposed to be a part of the job!! Who cares, we are paying her 60 bucks and food, clothing and shelter).

Next children arrive and the first evening spent .....

Current Mood: Angry
Current Music: Desi

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Story of Sharda (1990)

Elmy | 28 July 2004, 12:18am

Sharda Amma, age 9 yrs. Sharda’s parents were casual labourers and habitual drunkards. Sharda was fifth in the string of seven children.

The eldest son Ramu was working as a room service man in a lodge in the city inner suburbs, he started his career as an errand boy, working at Ramulus (the fathers) construction sites. This job would buy him a toffee ortwo once a week. This was not enough for the family. At the age of seven Ramu managed to get a job as a table cleaner at one of the Irani hotels, it was hay day and that was one of the rare occasions when Parvati amma (the mother) was not beaten up. Ramu now 17 had graduated into a Room boy. The moment he got this job Ramu got married to the neighbours daughter, who was six months pregnant and moved out on his own.

Its now time for Sharda to earn a living for herself, and also contribute to the family’s savings. Ramulu’s in and out of the govt hospital lately due to a liver problem, Shardas two elder sisters have married and support their own families by working at two different house holds.  The third one is the families’ black sheep, she keeps protesting against the atrocities of her owner (employer), and keeps getting the sack.

Parvati amma has been training her daughters to work hard to get a job as a housemaid, she keeps telling them the hardships and risks involved working as casual labourers. The exploitation at the hands of the managers and other co-workers. The girls dread this situation !!!

Parvati amma has managed to get a full time job for Sharda at a house of a senior ranking Police officer in Ameerpet. The terms seem to be reasonably good,

1. Washing the dishes,
2. Sweeping and mopping the floor
3. Taking care of the families’ 3-year-old toddler.

The mother is allowed to visit once every fortnight for 15 mins.  Food and clothing provided by the owner (need not mention it’s the employer). It would also add a valuable Rs 60  per month to the family’s income.

Current Mood: Worried
Current Music: Indian

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Elmy | 27 July 2004, 11:57am

The basic rights of all humans towards one another should be equality. Unfortunately, one such section of the Indian society, does not enjoy this right.

Its the Dai, the ayya, the akka, the naukrani, the kamwali. Its the domestic help.

This blog is dedicated to this strata of society. The Domestic Helper and their exploitation.

Current Mood: Desperate
Current Music: Desi

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