Friday, August 29, 2008

A clean sweep

So Viv and I have collectively lost some 30 kg in the last few weeks.

Old clothes, old shoes, old appliances, old files, old kitchen stuff -- you name it, we threw it.

These things are like bad memories. It seems like you can never get rid of them, but when you have to, you just go ahead and do it. And then they're gone from your life forever.

We're moving to a new place. Our place. Actually, not so much our place as Standard Chartered bank's place, but in about two decades or so, we hope to change that.

So in between all the throwing and packing, and more throwing and more pa(ni)cking, we suddenly remembered - we had to get the Remyfication of both places done! Nope, that was not ramification misspelt, nor is it slang for sprinkling holy water in the houses or something. There truly is a whole vocabulary we have created in honour of Remy. Remy the freelance domestic helper who has been helping me clean the house every time I moved in the last five years. Remy, the ultimate grease and grime repeller. Remy, the goddess of shiny kitchen tiles, unclogged drains and sparkling bathrooms. In fact, I truly believe that the phrase 'Cleanliness is next to godliness' was coined after her.

Remy has seen me through thick and thin. I still remember the first house she cleaned for me. I was sharing it with two girls who had jobs, and I was looking for one because I had just quit a job where the boss was a racist psycho. It was a very bad time for me, and I was about to hit rock-bottom when a publisher agreed to hire me as an temporary editorial assistant at a measly 60 dollars a day, with the challenge to prove myself worthy of the editor's position in two weeks or get my engineer ass back on the engineering track. I still remember watching Remy scrub our floors at $10 an hour, and wondering, "Wow man. Remy makes more than I do..."

Then there was the time I had to move to the western part of Singapore because living in the east was rendering it impossible to carry on with my part-time Master's course. Unable to find female housemates, I settled for two guys (who actually turned out to be pretty decent housemates). Even then, I could not wait for that one year to get over so I could get back to the east, back home. Remy saw me through all of that, cheerfully scrubbing away with me.

So today, as she, once again, scrubbed away the grime of my life in the old house and made my new home sparkle, I thought to myself - she is truly one of the women I admire the most. Not just because dirt and grime are literally afraid of her, but also because of her grit. Her husband is in the Philippines recovering from a heart condition, her kids are in university, and she's the only earning member in the family. She has a fulltime employer whom she lives with, and on her 'free' days, she freelances her superior cleaning skills.

Her English is a bit shaky (it's quite cute actually) and I'd blogged (here and here) about a few laughs I'd had with her. But her work is so good that Viv and I often say that you can walk into a room and just know that it has been freshly 'Remy-fied'.

The most amazing thing is - you never really see any signs of the hard life she is going through. In a world where we struggle to find people who inspire us with their positive attitude towards life, I'm fortunate to have found one such soul right here in my house, scrubbing my tiles.

And every time I meet her, she makes me want to be more positive.

Today, for example.

I had taken leave so I could oversee the painting of the new house, as well as get some cleaning done with Remy's help. After an exhausting day's work, I asked her, "Tired from all the hard work, Remy?"

She smiled at me and said, "No no. Exercise."



19 comments:

chirpy-paaro said...

Gold!!!
Guess I have also been lucky in finding maids... In mumbai where you cant trust anyone. luckily I have everytime found such nice maids. In fact my new one is a 16 year old gal.. One should look at her enthu to work.. She always carries a lovely smile on her face..and has great sense of humour.. After office when I reach home she would defintely have one or two jokes to share.. Wish I could also be so "Smily" everytime..

l_0oio0_l said...

One thing i can say is.....it reminds me of that dialog from lakshya....Tum Jo bhi karo....aache se karo.....Ghas kaatne wala bano....but aacha Ghas nahi kaatoge to kya faida......(we did go thru this in your dialog bazi post too....)

actually its 2 things....another is..... Whatever is inside reflects outside......and Remy as you say is and excellent clean soul inside out....its hard to find people like this....

CodeSmith said...

Brrronzzze :)
Btw, I have not yet read the post :D

shub said...

awesome post :) and Filipinos *need* exercise? really?!!! she sounds great!

and earlier this week I was frantically hunting for a maid...why didn't I think of asking you! :-/

Sree said...

collectively lost 30 kg? of clothes n stuff or the fat?If its the latter,omg,you have said it so lightly that I'm guessing its not about the fat!

Anyway...its nice to have somebody we feel good enough to blog about.

Takecare

sumgum said...

Hats Off to Remy !!

My helper is a "Guy"...A Male Maid...Henry...I think he is almost in the same boat as Remy...The first time he came to clean my place...I was a lil surprised when he said "I love Cleaning Houses"...This comment coming from a Guy was amazing...:)

Kanan said...

That made me miss our maid back in India a lot. She was so much of an integral part of family, we used to eat together, watch TV, clean, spend Sunday afternoons sitting and chatting and a million other things. She was so very clean. God bless her and the kinds of Remy. This post made me nostalgic. And positive of course.

satish said...

bahut mast likhte ho yaar! :)

Deepali said...

//And every time I meet her, she makes me want to be more positive.

And every time i come to your blog, you make me want to be more positive. Sachchi :)

Stone said...

Thanks for sharing her story.

Yogita said...

Congratulations on your new home!

Prats said...

Congrats for the new home!!!

The bar should get a party!!! You know on the house vali...

Kab mil rahi hai???

mythalez said...

a girl living with two guys as housemates is pretty advantageous to the girl also :P ... u can ask my girl housemate for confirmation :P

Swathy said...

Mubarak ho bhai..
kuch party sharti hojaye..
Kya bolte ho mere fellow bewdas/bewdis?

remy reminded me of a helper in my house who was with us for more than 10 years.
So clean,So neat both form her heart as well as work!
I guess one work reflects thier soul!isint it?
As for Bhagi(her name s bhagirathi)though she passed away more than 8 years ago.. we still remember her!!!

Suma said...

so which part of singapore are you moving into?

i'm already dreading the move which will happen in a year's time...i hope by then i find a remy for myself too...

and yes, its humbling to see the remy's of the world, battling life with a smile...and loads of positive atitude...

mathew said...

sometimes we find inspiration from the most unlikeliest of people..the good thing is that such people find what they do as pretty ordinary..

Prashant said...

Mere ek friend k blog (argentyne.blogspot) pe ek naam ka zikr tha..Sayesha...mujhe laga suna hua hai..Click kia tou tumhare blog pe aa gaya...poore 2 ghante se main tumhare posts padh raha hoon aur hansh hansh k pagal ho raha hoon...you write amazingly well..but ab tum likhti bhee itna zayda ho kee sabhi post tou padh nahin sakta tou randomly kutch bhee padh raha hoon...wo tumhara 'Sharing flats with guys' was too good..phir Singh is Kinng kee analysis was very hilarious...movie maine bhee dekhi per yeh shayad itni acchi tarah nahin...And yeh Viv, i think tumhara better half hai, uski song ko apne style mein gaane kee habit mujhe pasand aayi...kabhi kabhi main bhee yahi karta hoon...jab lyrics samajh mein na aaye tou kutch bhee gaa dena chahiye.. aur Dard-e-jigar se mujhe aisa lagta hai kee jab ladki ko acchi tarah cooking nahi aati ho tou shayad uske beloved ko dard-e-jigar ho jaata hoga...shadi se pehle dard-e-dil uske baad dard-e-Jigar..will Keep reading ur post...PD

~anu~ said...

naya ghar! bahut bahut mubarak bhai!! so this should be celebration time at the bar as these are what we call 'happy hours' :)

rt said...

Congratulations (from the bar members) and celebrations i.e. party (from the bartender!)