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Location: Muscat, Oman/ Bangalore, India

Round Peg....in a square hole. That describes me! All my life I have never quite fit in ... now I have just given up trying to live up to the expectations of the square hole or trying to find a round one!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

From the maid circuit.

Ever since Mir handed in his notice and Devaki was killed, I have been talking to a lot of maids.

I am surprised at the number of maids from Andhra Pradesh (South India). When I did my first maid search two years ago, virtually all maid options were from Kerala with a sprinkling from Sri Lanka.

Another thing is that almost all the Andhra maids are Christians. On probing I found that a large number are recent converts.

Some said they were Christians but ‘only in Muscat’! Others did not call themselves Christians choosing instead to say they go to the church to pray. They reasoned there is just one God and it does not matter where or how you pray as long as you pray and are good human beings.

J said she was ‘accosted’ 3 times by women who shoved Christian literature, CDs and cassettes into her hands and promised OMR 300 if she converted. This, of all the places, in a mortuary!

The Pentecost Christians in Muscat appear to be well organized not to mention well heeled!

Almost all the maids attend church regularly, every Friday. The church also serves as a meeting place where the maids network.

Now I know how to dispose of all the old clothes I have – my maid says she will take it to Church and somebody is sure to have a use for it!

11 Comments:

Blogger muscati said...

Beware the networking. It's not just christian rhetoric that gets pounded into them on Friday at church. The maids sit and discuss the inner lives of the houses they work in. Worst cases maids gets advice from other maids about how to deal with their employers and start changing their attitudes to the worst.

8:42 PM, December 29, 2005  
Blogger AkaRound Peg said...

Absolutely agree.

I see it happen at the playground at our complex where the maids instead of watching over their wards congregate at one corner (the Phillipinas have pizza parties as well!) and proceed to rip reputations.

I think one reason why attendence is so regular is becasue of the networking aspect.

8:53 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger perspective said...

I dont know what to say to this... but it really is something i havent been able to come to terms with... this whole concept of helping someone and getting them to change their religion...
The idea of one god exists... yet there are rituals that are separate for each religion...and each "so called type of god"... hurts! it is exploitation...whatever else they call it.

11:38 PM, December 30, 2005  
Blogger AkaRound Peg said...

It is exploitation and as one from Gujarat you probably have seen it happen first hand with the tribal people.

This is exploitation at 2 levels - exploiting economic weakness and the people's naivity and gullibility.

Even Mother Teresa was not above this. She was always after people to convert and this drove away many people who otherwise would have gladly volounteered and helped out at her hospices.

My current maid turned Christian a couple of years ago after having been devout Hindus. This was when her father suffered a paralytic stroke and the family went thru a crisis - emotional and financial. One can only guess why the family decided to convert.

3:50 AM, December 31, 2005  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

On one hand I think the whole idea of getting someone to convert for a few currency notes cheapens the whole idea to which they are being converted. If I can get someone to praise 'my god' for say, thirty pieces of silver, can someone else not get the person to denounce this god for thirty-one pieces? A tad foolish, in my opinion. That said, I wonder who or what is being 'exploited' here.

6:13 AM, January 01, 2006  
Blogger AkaRound Peg said...

Rhyncus

But it happens all the time.

I know of a man that 'converted' so as to make it easier for him to get a visa for his wife.

I know of another who was caught drinking and faced deportation - he converted to Islam, charges were dropped against him and he even made it to front page news as someone who had finally found light and sought to become a Muslim.

Another murderer (crime in a fit of passion) was given death penalty, he too converted but could not escape the firing squad.

9:16 PM, January 01, 2006  
Blogger Rhyncus said...

Very true. But it does leave a bad taste and makes one question the strength of faith and motivation, not just of those who convert but also of those who accept them into their fold. And also tells you about how important (or not) faith is to those who convert.
I wonder if that man continued to drink, though. :)

12:55 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger AkaRound Peg said...

Rhyncus,

Very true.

3:49 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger AkaRound Peg said...

I sure he does but must be very discreet about it! Altho he even changed his name as per paper reports, in an email to me some months later he signed off with his usula name!

4:00 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger Nameless said...

I agree with muscati but I wouldn't be as negative with my thoughts. I've noticed a trend and those who are Christians actually go to the church like our men go to Mosques on Fridays. They do meet at other places, outdoor activities are quite common (their husbands playing football) or just having drinks at somebody's house. Yes, they do discuss secrets of their employers. One of our previous maids used to fill us in with so many stories. It did concern me very much. The most important thing is not to let your maids in on your lives at home because it does tend to leak.

What concerns me is when the psychotic maids teach other maids how to steal, burn the house down or even poison their employers when fixing them a meal.

The best way to stay safe is to treat them like a family member but to draw a very thick line about their responsibilities and that our personal life is none of their business.

10:23 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger Chulupu said...

I dont know if you all know this. According to Islam religion, we are not allowed to eat food made out of the Hands of Non Muslim and No Christian.

For that many Maid who are not Christian come to Oman with christian identity. I remember once asked for Christian Maid, and although her passport said that she was christian but she hold the name of non christian at all. Plus she never knew who Jesus was and all.

Well..

4:40 AM, March 09, 2006  

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