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Another year had just ended. It was now 2008 and without anyone noticing half of January was already over. I had left a day Delhi after Christmas for Paris, met up with my family and a couple of relatives in Peisey-Vallandry where they had all gone skiing for the new year, then travelled for a couple of days to a village on the Côte d’Azur and returned to Paris for a few days of absolute debauchery with old friends. At the end of the first week, I’d flown directly to Singapore for strategy meetings with the other country heads under my chain of command, and finally returned to New Delhi in the middle of the third week.
For perhaps the first time, or was it the second, I was driven by Bahadur directly to my apartment from the international arrivals at Delhi airport, instead of to a hotel. It was an exciting feeling; felt surprisingly like coming home. Of course there was an extremely busy schedule planned in the weeks ahead for myself as well as the small coterie of staff at my executive office. But there were also details pending on the home front that I had been procrastinating about on the home front. One of these was to finalise domestic help by way of a housekeeper.
For the last six months or so, Annie had helped out by sending someone from house-keeping at her hotel twice a week. And Bahadur had helped by organising some of the domestic chores like laundry and so on; he found the most expensive dry cleaners in the vicinity because “Sahib can only have the best”. I was almost sure it belonged to a cousin of his! My kitchen was completely non-functional other than for making popcorn and heating the milk for my coffee; the microwave oven was the only thing I could operate. The few parties or get-togethers that I’d had at home were catered for and the caterers were perfect; they set things up, and they cleaned up after.
There was an agency that specialised in finding domestic help for expats. They had sent a number of “maids” home for me to interview but despite their impressive recommendations and resumes, I wasn’t happy with any of them. I’m sure they were good at their jobs but I simply wasn’t comfortable with their presence. And then finally, like so many times since my arrival in India six years earlier, Bahadur came to the rescue.
It was customary whenever he picked me up from the airport after one of my many business trips out of Delhi, for him to give me an informal debrief of everything that had happened either at office or at home during my absence. Bahadur was well placed to provide me with the information because, in my absence, his services were used as a general office functionary by the administrative staff and my secretary. Also, he would visit my flat every day, clean the car, and do odd jobs on my terrace; as a result he also met other tenants in my building as well as their assistants and domestic help. In fact, Bahadur was the ultimate source of information for me, both at home and at the office.
I always brought something back for him whenever I travelled overseas; once it was a pair of headphones, another time it was a CD player, on occasion I brought him a large bag of chocolates and snacks if I knew he was planning a weekend trip to his family; that sort of thing. And on the drive from airport to home, we would give each other what we had for each other: gifts and information.
“Sahib, you interview maid on Sunday”, he said once the pleasantries were over and he’d given me the office details (and work papers that my secretary had sent) and the home gossip. “What maid”, I mumbled as I switched on the overhead light in the car and scanned through the files that had been sent for me to look at from the office; the urgent files were always sent with the driver to the airport for some reason, even though I had handled most matters on email or electronically otherwise.
“You know where I take my motorcycle for repairs? And sometimes the Tata Sumo?” There was silence in the car for a minute till I realised a response was expected from me. But before I could finish reading the files on which I was trying to concentrate, Bahadur continued, “His name Ram. Good man. Good friend. His sister looking for job as house-maid so you interview on Sunday. OK?” Without anything he was saying really registering firmly, I hummed an OK and promptly forgot about it; I always thought that if something was critically important on my so-called domestic front, someone – either my assistant at the office or Bahadur – would remind me.
Two days later the weekend mercifully arrived. I didn’t realise how tired the last month of hectic activity had made me; what with all the transcontinental trips and the family reunions and the partying with friends, and of the course the confusion of multiple jet lags, time and space had created a vortex that virtually sucked me in. So Friday night I went out for drinks and dinner with Annie and her sister and her sister’s husband. We checked out a new restaurant that had opened in South Delhi – in a quaint quarter called Hauz Khas Village – but grup porno kept it light and easy; no heavy drinking, just wine and good food. And that’s where the exhaustion overtook me.
Admittedly we were on our second bottle of wine, but I suspect I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and the alcohol must have coupled with my general state of mind, but my brain seemed to have shut down. Through a soupy haze I heard Annie ask “Are you feeling alright, Hjjer?” Realising that my head was hung low, I propped it up and looked at her worried face and said “Oui, fine, thanks”. She wasted little time after that in ordering the food, which strangely enough I forked into my mouth like I had been starved for a year. I don’t remember it being overly tasty or even delicately fine dining; in fact I don’t remember it at all. What I do recall is Annie summoning Bahadur, bundling me into the car, and giving him strict instructions to drive me home and tuck me into bed.
The next thing I remember is waking up Saturday morning with the sun fighting a losing battle, trying to filter its might through the thick January fog – that was now lifting – into my bedroom. I’d slept about seven hours but still felt lazily refreshed; not sparky and bright, but certainly cosy and awake. I thought of the previous night but couldn’t really remember too much; I thought of Annie and wished she was lying next to me right then; I wanted her to mother me, to nurse me, to cajole me back to life. And with a smile on my face perhaps, I fell back into sleep.
When I finally surfaced from deep slumber, it was late afternoon. It was the time when my terrace garden was brilliantly lit by healthy sunshine and I walked on to it with a certain joy that ran through my entire being. I called the pizza shack around the corner for a home delivery, had a quick hot shower, slipped into a comfortable pair of old jeans and a warming fleece cardigan, wrapped a woollen muffler round my throat, and stepped out on to the terrace with a sinful gin & tonic.
The pizza arrived, I ate, drank another cocktail, put on some soothing Indian classical flute music on the CD player, and promptly fell back to sleep just as the sun was going down. I resurfaced at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, feeling completely refreshed and ready to go. Except I had nowhere to go. So I got up, shaved and bathed again, dressed up, and went to my laptop to prepare for the coming week. There were calls to be made to Singapore and Tokyo, which I did despite the fact that people in those cities treat their weekends with almost religious respect, and expect others to do so too. What can I say? It’s a tough world, the corporate life.
Strangely enough, when the sun came up, there wasn’t any fog. Happy day! By 8:00 in the morning I had worked for four hours in my home study and was all set for the coming weeks of battle at work, and I was famished. There was nothing in the refrigerator naturally since I hadn’t shopped since my return, and it was too early on a Sunday morning to call in for food from anywhere. So I decided to take my car out and head to the nearest shopping area where no shops would be open yet but the exceptionally perfect bun-anda would be available. There’s this roadside vendor that fries up the most incredible omelette, stuffs it between two halves of a bun, and serves it to you steaming on paper plates with pumpkin sauce on the side. Two bun-andas and a glass of hot tea for the equivalent of one Euro. My mouth was watering just at the thought of this street sin as I grabbed my keys of the Porsche Panamera and headed out.
I locked the door to my apartment and headed towards the elevator. Before I could press the button to call it up from the basement, I noticed it was already on its way up so I decided to wait just to see which floor it was going to. The last thing I wanted was to bump into Mrs Kapoor this early on a Sunday morning. But it crossed the third floor and I knew it was heading all the way up to my flat. Within seconds the lift had arrived and the doors slid noiselessly apart.
The woman inside the elevator was looking at herself in the mirror that covered the rear wall of the elevator, straightening out the folds of her saree. She had pulled her clean white woollen shawl tightly around her shoulders and was now fussing with her hair, making sure that they few runaway strands were tucked back neatly in the coiffed bun at the back of her head. I was standing at an angle the way one does when expecting people to get off the elevator before stepping in; as a result she couldn’t see my reflection in the mirror. When the doors began to slide shut, I took a hasty step forward to press the button to hold the lift; simultaneously, hearing the doors in motion, the lady turned around and thrust a hand out between the doors to stop them from shutting.
Her beauty hit me so hard I actually felt a little dizzy at the mesmerising sight before my eyes; average Indian height of about 5’4” in bare feet, she now stood at about 5’6″ in moderate sized heels. hd porno Her hair, as I mentioned, was in a neat large bun that suggested fairly long and thick black hair. Her face was without any makeup except for a faint blush of lipstick the colour of dark red wine, and kohl eyeliner that highlighted her wonderful doe-like eyes. As I stared into them, they looked like deep pools of enchantment that reflected microscopic images of myself in them. She had unblemished skin that looked fresh and young, the light brown complexion dappled with faint hues of red that obviously came from the chilly winter morning that she must have braved.
As I stood, quite dumbfounded at this apsara like apparition, not a word was exchanged for almost a full minute. I realised that she was completely flustered at having encountered someone so suddenly and unexpectedly; someone who had observed her in front of a mirror, a man who was a complete stranger at that. I then realised that I needed to begin a conversation because she seemed to embarrassed and confused to do so on her on.
“Good morning”, I said. “Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?” Perhaps she had the wrong address or the wrong floor in the building. Still perceptibly uncomfortable, she mumbled a response that I couldn’t catch and then fumbled in her handbag to extract a piece of paper that she unfolded and held out towards me. I noticed a single gold bangle on her delicate wrist as I reached out to take the piece of paper. It had my name on it, the address of my flat, my cell phone number, and two other names on it: Ram and Bahadur.
I was completely flummoxed. With no idea what this was about, I mindlessly handed back the slip and told her my name, said yes this was the address of my flat, that Bahadur was my driver, that I didn’t know anybody by the name of Ram, and that I had no clue what all this was about. If it weren’t for her captivating beauty, I would have turned her away and continued on my mission to get an early morning Sunday street breakfast.
Just as I was trying to decide what I should say, she seemed to garner a modicum of confidence, evidenced by a noticeable straightening of her stance and a deep inhalation of breath. “My name Sunita. You want house-maid. I come for interview. Bahadur is friend of my brother Ram. My brother Ram is auto mechanic, also service your car. Interview Sunday morning. I come.” And then it suddenly came to me in a flash; Bahadur had mentioned this to me on the drive from the airport a couple of nights ago but it had completely slipped my mind. I was immediately apologetic, feeling awfully sorry for the lady and her nervousness that I had been responsible for. “I am so very sorry, please forgive me. I had forgotten. My mistake. Sorry, very sorry.”
“No sir, no sir. No sorry. No problem. We can do interview now or I can wait for later,” she said. I impulsively placed my hand gently on her shoulder, turned her around, and walked her into the elevator. “First we have breakfast, then we do interview,” I said looking at her and smiling, hoping to break the ice and make her relax a bit. Instead, she replied with “Yes, I can make breakfast. Now?”
Realising that her English language skills needed considerable honing, I looked down at her face and said “No. No cooking now. We go and eat bun-anda first. OK?” Our conversation was somewhat stilted as we rode the lift down into the basement. By then the woman, Sunita, had probably decided to just go with the flow and see what happened. I only hoped she didn’t feel insecure with a foreign man but she seemed to exude a fairly strong demeanour; more so with every minute that went by.
I got into the car, pushed the passenger door open for her and allowed her to settle down. She wasn’t nervous so I figured she had ridden in an automobile before. But when it came to fastening her seatbelt, she was very unsure again. At one stage I reached out to do it for her but realised the impropriety of leaning across her, our bodies definitely touching, and then decided that the short drive on a Sunday morning would be safe enough to ignore the seatbelt.
It was no more than a five minute drive. We were both silent during that time but my mind kept replaying the few seconds when I had almost reached over her to get her seatbelt. What had stopped me in my tracks was the fullness of her breasts as I was preparing to get the fastening slip. Although covered fully in complete modesty by her shawl, the roundness and size of her chest was so obvious that I immediately thought of them as D-cups, probably 38 inches. I had to be careful with these thoughts, not wanting the faint beginnings of the stirring I felt in my groin to go any further. Fortunately, we reached the omelette maker and I pulled the Porche right up to where he sat.
We smiled at each other; I said “Namaste” and the guy beamed back at me, wishing me many greetings and welcoming me back. He peered through the window of the car, saw a lady sitting next to me in the passenger seat, and grinned his latin porno buck-toothed grin but uttered not another word. Without any instructions from me, he made us a couple of bun-andas, placed them on paper plates and gave them to me in the car. I handed one to Sunita and immediately dug into the other one. When I had chewed my way through most of it, I turned towards her and saw that she had nibbled through about a quarter of her egg-in-a-bun. The street vendor walked up again to me and handed over two glasses of sweet steaming milky chai. Again, I handed one over to Sunita, pulled out the cup holders beneath the dashboard and showed her where she could rest her chai glass. I munched through a second omelette and bread, and then finished my tea. The woman didn’t want another one so I paid the street vendor, gave him a healthy tip, wished him and drove back to the apartment.
As we took the elevator back up from the basement to my rooftop flat, I looked at the housemaid in waiting, smiled and said “Now we do interview, OK?” She smiled tentatively and almost demurely said “OK”. I unlocked the door, pushed it open and waited for her to enter ahead of me. She looked hesitant and confused as I did that; then looked up at me and asked “go inside?” I nodded and she took two steps in as I followed her and let the door shut behind us. Crossing the living room, I opened the glass doors to my terrace and stepped outside, letting Sunita trail behind me.
I sat down on one of the cane chairs and offered a second one to her, saying “please sit”. She got down on her haunches and squatted on the artificial grass in front of me. I realised that she was uncomfortable with the idea of sitting on the chair in my presence so I didn’t the press the point any further. The sun was up and fairly bright out on the terrace so I removed my jacket and threw it on the vacant chair. The maid reacted to that by standing up and draping the jacket on the backrest of the chair, then unwrapped her own shawl and kept it folded on her lap as she squatted back down.
The interview took a fairly uneventful course with me trying to assess her skills, knowledge and experience in matters relevant to running a house. I was also attempting to fathom her characteristic traits, her ability to communicate with a limited vocabulary in English (and mine in Hindi). She talked about her background in the village, her coming to Delhi and the various jobs she had done here, why she wanted to take on a full-time housekeeping job, and so on. She wanted to know what my expectations were, my habits and timings, the size of my family, my social scene; in fact she probably had more questions than I had. As the morning progressed, a soft breeze wafting across the terrace, we talked. She quite noticeably grew more confident over time and I realised that her English language capability wasn’t as bad as I had initially thought.
While discussing her expectations in terms of salary, she didn’t quote any figure but did clarify whether she would be eating out of my kitchen, would I provide accommodation, would she get a day off on weekends, etc. We left these discussions open-ended as she said she would let me decide what her emoluments were going to be. I thought to myself I would check with Annie before reaching a conclusion.
We spoke for almost an hour, the last 20 minutes of which Sunita got up and walked around the terrace as we conversed, getting a feel of the place and my presence I supposed. As she strolled in front of me I couldn’t help but observe her body and her fluid movements. On two occasions as a sudden gust of wind blew her saree askew, I saw the deep cleavage between her breasts disappear into her well tailored blouse before she draped herself again. I noticed her tapered waist swell neatly into the contours of her hips, the saree tucked in not too low but enough to reveal her navel which I could see through the saree when it stuck close to her skin. The blouse was worn down to an inch below her breasts, thus leaving a five inch swath of belly unexposed whenever the saree went askew.
After I told her she could have the job I asked when she’d like to start. “Today? Now?” she asked. We agreed that she could go home and get her clothes and other things and be back in a few hours. She smiled for the first time and I think I fell in love when I saw that. I told her to take an auto-rickshaw both ways, insisted that I give her the money for that which she unwillingly took, and then let her roam around my flat for some minutes. I kept sitting outside while she strolled around. After a while I heard her call “Sir?” I turned around to look at her and she once again very tentatively asked “My room?” I got up off the chair, walked in through the sliding glass doors and walked Sunita to the room I wasn’t using and opened the door for her. It had a bed with mattress and linen, a wardrobe for clothes and personal belongings, a small desk and a chair, and a small but comfortable armchair in the corner. I saw the look of amazement on her face and felt delighted that she seemed to love her new surroundings. She was leaning against a door that was shut; I walked towards her and reached for the handle of the door, pushing it out and turning on a light switch that lit up the bathroom beyond.
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