‘The Domestic Maid’ by Anita Desai has been featured on New Asian Writing for their 2014 Short Story Anthology.
The mighty sun was rising on the city. The birds had taken flight on a new day. The city was abuzz with early morning activities; milk and newspaper delivery, bleary eyed kids awaiting school buses, joggers and walkers dotting the concrete landscape markinga new beginning like everyday for the affluent andcosmopolitan city dwellers. Movement of traffic on the roads wasmoving at a brisk pace already, the call center cabs ferrying night shift staff back home and to pick up the day shift staff. The city buses already running to capacity even at this early hour.
Amid this early morning hum-drum, a group of women walk briskly towards the gates of a multistoried, elite residential complex manned by security guards. Their laughter and chatter unable to hide their impoverished status. The group is a mix of young, middle-aged and old women.The women are dressed in dull weary cotton sarees, the pallav draped around their bony shoulders, their slippers worn out with months of continuous drag. The young ones of the lot dressed in hand-me-down salwar kameez, adjusting their dupattas every now and then.Each woman carrying either a small pouch which serves as a purse containing their bare essentials or a little cloth bag.