When we started out with our unschooling journey, we felt a little like knights in shining armor freeing ourselves from our own self-imposed shackles. Hence the name of the blog.

Friday, April 3, 2009

About our helper....

Hidden in the background of the second photo posted in the post below.... is a young lady of 17. Her name is Roopa. She is my helper. Affording helpers here in India is easy for most everyone. She has been with us for the past several months. We must be doing something right by her... and her by us... because last evening after Zoya's 3rd birthday party (YAHOOO... my little Zee is three :-) Roopa told me that she had a better offer elsewhere... BUT she turned them down. She said she would not go to another home even if the offer was better. As she is very content with us!

She works for us from 9:30am till 5:30pm everyday except Sunday. We live in a city that is very, very dusty. We have layers of dust on everything everyday! So cleaning the floors, tables, shelves etc becomes imperative on an every day basis. Vacuums are of no use here. Roopa also does the dishes and laundry for us. And if i need to step out for a quick errand... the kids actually prefer to stay with her at home and avoid the heat outside... sometimes. And Roopa is a playful being with the children. Also, Roopa and I have a lovely understanding. If she needs a day off... its fine.. and if i need her to stay a little extra or change her timings then she adapts.

Roopa plans to learn tailoring professionally. There are many like her here in India.... working from a young age and unable to go to school etc. Roopa however was educated till age 15. Then she left to do odd-jobs to help out her family. We are hoping to support her tailoring interests.

Have been meaning to write about her... as she is now a part of our day. Mostly her being around helps me so much... as Ravi is unable to devote any time to house-work. Having her around has been an immense help. Radically Unschooling and deschooling myself has been a huge lifestyle change. And Roopa has been able to help me during the big messes that happen so often all over our apartment.


Andrea said...

It is lovely that you have such a nice young woman helping you, and that she enjoys being with your family.

We may have met on Shine wUnschooling, except I mostly lurk there!

Sandra Dodd said...

If you move back to New Jersey you'll be missing Roopa more ways than one.

It sounds really lovely. Does she have a sewing machine already?

Maybe you already have photos of her. A portrait of her and the kids might be a nice thing for all of them to have someday.

Hema A Bharadwaj said...

Hey Sandra, yes...I'm very grateful for this aspect of my stay in India :-)

You asked the crucial question.... Ravi and I gave Roopa a whole month's salary as extra money for her around Diwali (the most important indian festival). And i'd advised her and the Uncle-Aunt taking care of her to buy her a sewing machine. A good one costs around Rs. 3000 here. And that is her remuneration (commiserate w local salaries).

Well they still have not bought her one! Next time around that we give her a raise or bonus money... we plan to buy the item ourselves and give it to her. Meanwhile she plans to start going to classes a couple of times a week.

Also wrt the kids and her... have a few photos. Its interesting to watch how the kids use her ;-) Raghu yells in broken hindi at her and is always figuring out ways to scare her as she moves about the house. And if Raghu and I are working on something... even if i try to include Z... she will invariably call on Roopa... who then stops work and plays with her. Its natural that Z considers Roopa "her" helper too :-) So if she senses i'm not giving her my full attention then she quickly calls on Roopa. Its fine as long as i'm close by and able to give input, hear Zoya and translate her needs. And Z loves sweeping and cleaning with excess water with Roopa.