It was time for us to leave. Preparing to vacate after spending three winter months in Lucknow, we were absorbed in some last minute packing. In a couple of hours we would be on a train headed for the airport and on to our final destination – Thailand.
Our Ayah (cleaning lady) who spoke no English appeared unexpectedly at the bedroom door and came softly into the room. Eyes lowered she sat on the floor quite close to us. A small person with a gentle and responsive face, her approach was softly unpretentious.
With great dignity she continued to sit quietly – no words arose. Silence without any goal or intent can be very restful; her presence in the room was like being beside a quiet pool of water. Timeless.
Clear, soft brown eyes met mine – still no words came to disturb the moment. A tear rolled down her cheek – another – another – another. One by one the large tears flowed gently down her face.
Tranquility and grace filled the room as she wiped the tears away with the end of her sari and looked soulfully at us.
This silence was full and it was sacred and it said everything. I felt blessed; I was grateful. I also felt concern in knowing that her future employers would be treating this hard working and petite woman as a mere functional object – as all her former employers had done before.
Copyright Charmiene Maxwell-Batten© 2010. All Rights Reserved
This is a chapter from my book about India
This is my narrative about the dignity and beauty of an Indian lady who worked so hard and lived such a basic simple life, and brought up her children alone. Her 2 really wonderful little sons were a delight. it is hard to find the words for this experience and the sadness I felt at how she would be treated when we left Lucknow.
HERE IS A VIDEO ABOUT MY BOOKS: