Just Imagine

Sabiha Bilgrami
Thursday, March 16, 2017

I had the flu. I had never felt so alone. I missed my family. Shivering, I huddled deeper inside the blanket. The bell rang. It was my part time help, Noora. She breezed in with a steel thaali balanced on the palm of her hand. “Bhabhi, garam garam sangeti khao, ek saal tak aap bimaar nahi hoongey” (‘Have this freshly prepared food, I guarantee you won’t fall sick for a year’), she said. Noora dusts, vacuums, does dishes and cleans bathrooms at 10 other houses. Each working day is grueling.
And here she was, at the end of a typically grueling day, at my doorstep, comforting me with her delicious, freshly prepared Andhra staples. That’s when I fell in love with her – Amazing Indian in Kuwait- Lion-hearted Noora.

5 feet 2 inches, lithe 100 pound frame encased in a swarthy skin, her middle aged looks don’t distinguish her from any of the other back-answering, sloppy maids crisscrossing Salmiya’s numerous maidans from dusk to dawn. But that’s where the resemblance ends. Never, have I known her to refuse a piece of work citing ‘time ho gaya hey’. She is proud, passionately so, about her work. She epitomizes professionalism. Her diligence and longer than scheduled hours, highly inconvenience my social life. More often than not I suggest shortcuts and ask her to skip a couple of the agreed chores. Thankfully, more often than not, she shuns my suggestions.

The other day she grilled me about some fruits starting to rot. “Bhaiya, itni mehnat sey kamatey hey aur aap ‘waste’ kartey hey”. I smiled and realized three truths –
1.She cares about us;
2.She is a male chauvinist pig with XX genes
3.Marriage is an institute that helps you escape mom’s nagging voice, but not its contents.

Under the avalanche of truths hitting me, I failed to tell her that her ‘Bhaiya’ habitually buys a dozen each of oranges and apples, every trip he makes to the grocers, whether its once a month, once a week or once a day.

Unsavory memories mar my experience of tiding friends and relatives over difficult times with cash. But when Noora borrowed, the amount was back in my hands on the appointed day, at the appointed hour. She thanked me profusely for the timely help – Of course, my thanks were more profuse.

At 17, she married her village school sweetheart. At twenty two, she was the mother of three kids. Each child was delivered at her village home. The last one she delivered alone, heaving against the wall in a standing position. She herself scooped the baby and chopped off the umbilical cord with a nearby knife. What a superwoman. And here I am, 13 years on, still reeling under the rigors of labor. At 20, she also acquired a souten (a co-wife). Dead set against the second marriage, her in-laws disowned Noora’s husband and his second wife. Noora, brokered the peace between the two parties. I asked her why she did that. Apparently her husband admitted that he had made a mistake and that was enough for Noora to forgive him and HER. Now, the two wives coexist peacefully and harmoniously. Many a times, Noora combs and braids the younger wife’s hair. I still don’t understand Noora. What is her DNA made of? She works long and hard to singlehandedly feed, clothe and educate her three kids. She neither expects nor gets a penny’s help from her husband. And she bears him no ill-feeling. I have to ask - Prophet Job/Ayub, is my Noora a disciple of yours????!!!!

She makes no show of being a devout muslim. Yet hail or hellfire, my Noora, starts work at each house with the words -‘Bismillah’. This lady sincerely prays for the welfare and prosperity of the bhaiya’s and bhaabhi’s she works for. In spite of the chaos and hardships around, I sincerely feel, my family and I are in a safe haven, in a secure cocoon woven with peace and love. After all, if my Noora’s prayers will not be answered – whose will be?


Express your comment on this article

 
ARK
Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Good job, thanks for sharing Sabiha....Now a days getting like this house helps are very rare. i used have a house help like this called lakshmi, she left to India for good but left so many many memories like yours. Thank you once again for the good article, which reminds still good people exist.

SB
Posted on Sunday, March 26, 2017

very good and heart touching article !!!!!!!!! in this time, relatives are taking corner when in needs. wat a excellent human Noora is !!! great u have her in your life.

Mudreka Ghadiali
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wow!
This is so heart touching!
So many things make it impossible to believe that she is human!
A friend asked me a couple of days ago! "Can humanity be salvaged"
I'm sure he will get his answer through the article!
Also written very well aND passionately! Your feelings agony thoughts come out very sharply towards her :)

AAAAAA
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017


Excellently written article......thanx for sharing. But why the title "JUST IMAGINE". This is not imagination -- is it ?

I too have had the good fortune of a young lady house help just like your Noora. Some of these ladies are amazingly honest, sincere & very affectionate to those they "serve".

Keep it up Sabiha.....u hv spread the word of how nice this lady is. There are very few who would care to acknowledge them & the tremendous service they do.. May her tribe swell & may she continue to be a blessing to you and all she serves.

Take care, stay happy & blessed.

Sabiha
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017

Dear Ali
Thank you.
I am happy it struck a chord with you.

Ali
Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Thank for sharing this tribute for Noora's hard work and caring. Many of us have experienced the hired help who with time, become an integral part of our family.
Wish that more people realize and pay them their due respect.

sabiha
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017

Thanks Navniit.

Navniit Gandhi
Posted on Sunday, March 19, 2017

Very touching, and beautifully written...
Cheers, Sabiha!!!

Submit your comments...
     
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are strictly personal and IndiansinKuwait.com does not hold any responsibility on them. We shall endeavour to upload/publish as many of the comments that are submitted as possible within a reasonable span of time, but we do not guarantee that all comments that are submitted will be uploaded/published. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene, unlawful, defamatory, libellous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content; or have spam, commercial or advertising content or links are liable to be removed by the editors. We also reserve the right to edit the comments that do get published. Please do not post any private information unless you want it to be available publicly.
Image

Smart Investing - Diversification is the Mantra: Don’t keep all the eggs in one basket

Investment is an activity which everyone should be involved once they start earning. But where to i

Image

They are disconnecting…

“Why do I need to learn about India? After all, I am going to live here—in Kuwait—all my life… I wa

Image

I Learn Anew Every Day - Kevin Mathew

Kevin Mathew was the youngest (and only Indian) TEDx speaker at TEDxAlShuwaikh, Kuwait, on Septembe

Image

Wise Decision by Bhavans Middle East

The Chairman, Bhavans Middle East Mr. N. K Ramachandran Menon, and the Director of Bhavans Middle E

Image

“It was all over in three minutes ...”

She was sobbing inconsolably and words were intermittently coming out… “It was all over in about

Image

“On reaching the pinnacle, I called it a day”

She was all set to occupy the enviable top spot... was being hailed as the rightful heir of the zen

Image

“Politics is transient for me; writing is perpetual...”

One of those few politicians whose speeches and poems have won the hearts of masses alike - in Indi

Image

The War of Words

Another journalist is brutally killed. Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Lankesh Patrike is shot dead re

Image

Migration Norm Set: Safe Orderly and Regular Migration

“Global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration” The Norm on the Build. "Migrants are h

Image

The bogus words

A few days back I received a message on Whats App:If an assault with the intention of committing ra

Image

A nostalgic and delicious train journey in Kuwait at Kerala Express Restaurant

A train journey during our annual vacation in India is definitely a nostalgic experience for many o

Image

Mughal Mahal Exotica - An aromatic and exotic twist to Indian food

When it comes to Indian food in Kuwait, no doubt ‘Mughal Mahal’ set an example among the residents

Image

Experience Indian Corner Tandoori Nights at Al Manshar Rotana Hotel

Al Manshar Rotana Hotel at Fahaheel, Kuwait launched an authentic Tandoori Night with an Indian cor

Image

Biryani & Kebabi restaurant opened at Arabia Mall in Egila

Biryani & Kebabi is the newest addition to Al Sabah & Kohli food and beverage brands. Al Sabah & Ko

Image

Boubyan Strikers Lifted The 4th Jimmy George Volley 2017

The four day long volleyball fiesta. A jam-packed volleyball tourney ended off fantabulously in the

Image

Amar Cricket Club presents Dawood A. H. Bebal Memorial Trophy

The opening ceremony of Dawood A. H. Bebal Memorial Trophy hosted by Amar Cricket Club, Kuwait took

Image

Kuwait Indian Football Federation (KIFF) Launch New Season 2017~18

The much awaited Kuwait Indian Football Federation (KIFF) Season 2017-18 kicked off on 27th October

Image

Kuwait Cricket U-19 Squad to Participate in Acc U-19 Asia Cup Qualifiers

Kuwait Cricket, the official governing body for cricket in Kuwait, has announced its squad for the

Image

IDAK hosted basketball tournament

In the last of the series of games hosted by IDAK for the term 2015-2017 , the basketball tournamen