American Maid Servant - Day One

July 10th, Thursday:

I had been up until 3am cleaning out the walk-in closet in the master bedroom trying to get S’s clothes folded and put away and get my clothes out of the closet into the guest bedroom. I must’ve folded about 50 of S’s tshirts and tons of other clothes. I had gotten the whole closet settled with plenty of space for S’s parents clothes.

S and I had a major argument so obviously he didn’t help me at all and fell fast asleep on the couch snoring!

I woke up at 6:00am to get S up and out the door to pick up his parents. We had specifically told them to book their flights for Newark International Airport as that’s much closer than JFK. But obviously, they booked their tickets for JFK. Their flight was supposed to land at 7:45am. So I wanted S at the airport by 8am at least. And he also had to beat the NYC traffic (weekday!).

Anyways, I did a final vacuum and mopping of the house. It was completely dust free. And I started cooking. I made 5 dishes which took enough prep work and time. After which, I had the quickest shower of my life!

So they get home around 11am. Just a bare minimum hello which I thought was sufficient as they must’ve been so tired from the long flight. After they showered and settled down a bit, I served lunch and all I got was “why did you make so much? The food is ok” in a tone that I’m now getting used to.

I often wonder how to describe this tone that S’s mom uses when she talks to me… it’s hard to explain. It is a mix of derogatory, insulting, mean tone. But well, as I said earlier, I’m getting used to it.

They look around the house and not one word of appreciation or acknowledgement. S’s dad picked up this gorgeously painted huge ostrich egg that I brought all the way from Africa and my heart was in my mouth! I thought that I’d cry myself to death if he dropped it! Every single souvenir/collectible/book I have in my house was picked up, examined, scrutinized. But obviously I didn’t hear a peep from them.

After lunch, they crashed in the bedroom. So I told S that we need to do some last minute shopping at the grocery store and Target. As we were getting ready to walk out, his parents insist that they want to come along. So we all pile up in the car and head out.

Every store we go to, I pay.

Here’s the first incident that absolutely made me MAD, LIVID, UPSET.

We’re at Shoprite. I buy them whatever catches their fancy. After paying up, S and his dad go to the restrooms and his mom and I are waiting. The conversation goes something like this:

*I’m just checking the receipt to see if it’s accurate.*

His Mom: “How old were you when your father died?”

*I looked up completely shocked. I composed myself and thought to myself – here starts the interrogation*

Me: “2 years old.”

His Mom: “How old was he when he died?”

Me: “31 years old”

His Mom: “How did he die?”

Me: “Heart attack.”

His Mom: “What did he do before he died?”

Me: “He was an engineer and also had his own business.”

His Mom: “Did he leave you any property or money?”

*Now I’m shell shocked!*

Luckily, S and his dad walk in right that moment. And there ended the conversation.

I had promised myself to try as hard as I could to get along with them. But after this conversation, I was sub-consciously reneging on it! I mean, those questions are too personal to ask. But Indians don’t have a sense of privacy or subtlety or basic manners or etiquette.

We go home and I start cooking dinner. His mom walks into the kitchen and says “We do not eat rice at night. Make bread. And also, clean this mess in the bathroom.”


Now I’m thinking to myself, what mess? The bathroom’s absolutely clean! I walk in and see that they didn’t know that the shower curtain was supposed to be INSIDE the tub rather than outside. So obviously the whole place was flooded after they had showered. I clean up the mess and go back to cooking.

I start making Indian bread… and a vegetable… and some kind of lentil soup. They barely eat. I was so bloody disappointed. I am a good cook. Hell! I'm a great cook. People invite themselves over to eat the food I make. And this was a first for me.

I decided that I will never eat what his mom cooks. And I’ll never eat at the table with them. I can’t swallow my food when they’re sitting right there. It’s just impossible. I lose my appetite.

I went straight to bed thinking I’ll be better off going to work on Friday.

Oh! I forget to mention: They brought all kinds of food and groceries from India. Like, lentils, rice, spices etc. We had specifically told them not to get that as we get everything here… and the quality is much better than India.

Anyways, my pantry is stocked as are most of my cabinets. My mom made sure that I had everything they would need for their kind of cuisine. So anyways, they get all kinds of munchies from India. And huge bags of spices. And they started looking for containers to put them in for storage.

Now most of this stuff is easily stored in zip lock bags. But they wouldn’t listen. His mom starts telling me “How come you don’t have boxes to put this in? And there is no space in any cabinet.” She was getting pissed off that we were telling them that it’s ok to store the stuff in zip lock bags! And also that the cabinets and pantry were well stocked!

Get OVER It!

God! That was a nightmare. To try to explain that this is not India! And things are done a bit differently out here in the US!


At July 19, 2008 at 11:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, tough! Hope your boyfriend sides with you in front of his parents. If not, forget it, its not worth it - Chrys

At July 21, 2008 at 10:31 AM , Blogger Annie said...

Ooh, thats bad...i hope it works out well for you. Hang in there!

At July 22, 2008 at 6:21 AM , Anonymous iceop said...

eeks!! sheesh. hug. so do I hope this works out for you.


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