COVID-19: Spare a thought for your maids, cooks, drivers, local shopkeepers

With the COVID-19 at a crucial stage 2 here in India, many offices across cities have declared work from home (WFH) options for employees, obviously, with pay. The schools have closed down indefinitely as well. So, as families practice social isolation to protect themselves, they can now spend quality time together.

With social media news at our fingertips, we have the time to prepare our homes and pantries, we have the resources to buy in bulk and in advance, and the knowledge to know when to go to a hospital.

We have been thinking, as a family, for a few days, about our privileges living in the big city. Everything is available on beck and call for most middle class folks. We have maids to clean our homes, cooks to make our food, istri-wallahs to iron our clothes, drivers to ferry us around, cabs that show up at the touch of an app, food from our favourite restaurants also available at the touch of a button. We also have full time nannies to look after our young children.

In our mad rush to safeguard those close to us during the COVID-19 pandemic, have you once stopped to think about these people who make our life so much easier?

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The above post went viral on social media and several others have begun sharing online about what can be done during this time of coronavirus, in order to fulfil our community responsibilities.

Only yesterday, we gave some time off to our maid till the end of the month. She hesitated, thinking her pay would be cut. We assured her that we will give her the full salary.

But it’s not just about the money

Once our maid was satisfied she will get her money, she announced that her son who is living with her in-laws in the village was missing her and wanted her to visit.

It was then that we realised how ill-informed our domestic helps are. She wanted to use this time off as a ‘holiday’ to visit her son. We had to then explain to her about the virus, how it spreads, what is our responsibility, how we can prevent it by having good hygiene. I promised to give her an actual leave to visit her son when all of this clears out.

Social responsibility

Just as we are responsible for the health and wellbeing of our own family, why don’t we go a step further to ensure a healthy community as well? Take this up with your societies, discuss with your neighbours. Give them a little extra or advance to buy supplies for their home.

Remember, our maids’ husbands, who are possibly daily wage labourers, might not be getting any work during this time. Give time off to your drivers and tip all those who serve your family and home. This is our social responsibility.

How are you playing your part? Tell us in the comments below.