Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

It is hot and humid outside, she was sweating when she walked the five minutes from her slums to this mansion. She scrubs the wooden floor, in sweeping, circular motions.

This house is too big, she had thought the first day she had started working. Too big, too redundant. Compared to where she came from, one small room, with a family twice the size of this one, in a building filled with people from similar situations, this house was a mansion. Compared to that.

 

She was cleaning the stairs, also wooden. Every step, she had to clean, bent over, knees two steps below, scrub, scrub, scrub.

 

Life hadn’t been too bad, when she was younger, and that was all she knew. But then she reached an age where she could start working, as a cleaning girl, when she was ten. And then she saw all sorts of things that living ten minutes from a place like this, she could never have imagined.

Scrub, scrub, scrub.

She remembered when they ordered pizza. All they did was call on a phone, and voila, it was there, thirty minutes later. Didn’t have to go out. They paid the delivery boy, and then they ate it, cheese dripping off the slices onto their plates, and the table, the one she would have to clean after.

She could still smell the pizza, see the steam rising from the hot cheese. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Ignore it, that is not what was decided for you in life. You will never be more than a servant, learn to deal with these things, a stern voice in her head tells her.

Or the time Jamil sahib was watching that show on the big TV. She had walked in to clean the kitchen, and she didn’t understand the words, the English, but she really liked their clothes, and she had understood what was going on. These twins were on a cruise, and one like playing pranks on others, the second liked studying. It looked really funny. And then she felt eyes bore into her, Jamil sahib staring at her, and she heard the question without being asked: why are you here? You are a mere servant. Hot shame, and embarrassment filled her, she walked out, and cleaned the rest of the house.

She could see those two yellow-haired boys, and those smiles that were real smiles. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Ignore it, that is not what was decided for you in life. You will never be more than a servant, learn to deal with these things.

Scrub, scrub, scrub.