More maid agencies have come forward to Hindustan Times to share their stories.
Here’s the thing about the stories posted below: we cannot reveal who these stories are about. First of all, we don’t know the accuracy of these stories and secondly, no relevant clues have been given. Most importantly, we don’t want to reveal the names, even if we had them, because we know of normal people aka non celebrities that behave the same way. So, what’s the point of finding out who these celebs are when non-celebs too do the same thing.
It has everything to do with the kind of person these people are; people, who abuse their help. The maids in the stories below are lucky because their agency cared about them. We know of situations where agencies would tell the employers not to do this or that or not let the maid do this or that because according to them, once the maids start doing that, they will want to go back to their hometowns. See, agencies invest a lot of money in their maids. So, if employers give their maids phones, the maids can call their relatives anytime they want. It so happens that this also makes the maids miss their homes so bad that they want to leave. The best way for these maids is to tell their employers that someone close to them has passed. This is why agencies would tell employers not to give phones to their maids. Once a month is enough, they say. We knew of a neighbour’s maid, who ‘killed’ her husband twice because she didn’t want to work there anymore and wanted to go back; she forgot she told that story before already and after that, no one took her seriously in that household!
We were not shocked at all about all these stories below. Reason being, we have heard worst. Recently, a maid escaped from her Indian employer in the U.S. The police helped her file a case in which she reported that her employer, who’s a CEO, treated her dogs better than her. In another case, a maid was treated so bad in Kuwait that she jumped out the high storey building she was at and someone else just stood by filming the whole thing. More often than not, it’s women that abuse their maids. Call it frustrations or mood swings, they take it all out on their maids.
There are more, but what’s the point of bringing it all out now. At the end of the day, it all depends on the kind of person you are and how you treat others. Like maids, there are street cleaners, garbage collectors, toilet cleaners and many more, where a simple “thank you” to them can make their day.
Here are the stories, as told by BookMyBai’s blogger, in the form of blind items. We have not changed anything in these stories and shared them the way they were originally published. Feel free to guess who these stories are about.
How Celebrities Abuse Help
She came to us looking for a male helper at a budget of Rs. 4000 per month! This is even lower than the minimum wage of Maharashtra. We refused and told her that we wont be able to provide a helper in this budget (wonder where does all the money go which earns through her movies). After a lot of negotiation she finally agreed upon Rs.10000 per month (which was still on the lower side considering she has a 4-bhk home and the helper needed to clean the home 6 times everyday! Yes- 6 times!) – We went ahead and provided the helper and all was going well. Unfortunately the mother of the helper passed away. The helper was from Bihar and he wanted to go back to Bihar to perform the last rituals. He promised to be back after 15 days since he wanted the money to support his family. The “celebrity” called us and told us that she wont let the person go till the time we send in a replacement. This was at 5.45pm on a Saturday evening. Our office is shut on Sundays. We promised to send a replacement on Monday and requested her to release the helper since he has to go for his mothers last ritual. Guess what! She did not. She could not care less. We did give a replacement on Monday. But the helper missed out on her mothers last ritual. I have no words to the extent of disgust I now have for this lady
2) Celebrity 2
She is a unique case altogether. She has a huge home in Mumbai suburbs and she hired a maid through us. BookMyBai has a 6-month replacement clause with the employers which means that if any domestic help leaves within the first 6-months, then we would provide a free replacement. The extent of torture and harassment to the maids was so high that we replaced maids 7 times. Each maid worked for 7-10 days before giving up and quitting. She drives a 3 crore car. Doesn’t give food to her domestic help. NO FOOD!!! Really!! Drink tea and eat bread 3 times a day. Wow!
Finally we gave the full-refund to the lady since she threatened us that her brother will send in a few bouncers to our office and “fix” us up. I didn’t want this atmosphere in my office and chose to part ways
3) Celebrity 3
This experience actually convinced my team that we would not deal with celebrities anymore. Physical abuse of the maid was almost a daily affair. As soon as we got to know, we asked the maid to leave as soon as possible. When she came to our office, we could see physical marks on her body of physical abuse. We supported her and wanted to file a complaint in the local police station. But she asked us to let it go. She didn’t have the time to run to the police station every time the police calls her. Every time she would be summoned she would have to miss work and not get paid. We understand her concern. Without her support the police refused to take a complaint and we we couldnt file a case against the employer.
The best part is this – We have a very strict abuse clause in our contract and the employer is not given a replacement if there is any form of abuse. The celebrity called us and told us that she has 4 lakh followers on twitter and she would post bad tweets about the company if we don’t give her a replacement. We enquired with the building security guard who says no one stick in this home for over a week since she beats them all.
4) Celebrity 4
She has all the money in the world. Yet she couldn’t solve her maid issues. Her P.A. reached out to us and told us about the requirement. Initially we were very excited since this would open up avenues for future round of funding for the company too. She was also paying well. Atleast more than Mumbai market rate. However her attitude towards the staff was not less than someone who is uneducated. Verbal and physical abuse was a part of her daily routine. The maid got so fed up that she just absconded to her village and never came back. This left such a huge scar in her mind that later she told us she would never want to come back to any city. Now this left us to wonder. How do these people abuse their domestic helps as slaves. Again – we were threatened with legal cases and obviously a small startup of mine cannot deal with legal notices from lawyers who charge Rs. 25 lakhs per hearing! We refunded and closed the case.
5) Celebrity 5
This one is a classic. She took a maid from us. Everything was fine and the maid was happy. No abuse/harassment whatsoever. However she refused to pay us our service charges. BookMyBai charges about Rs. 15000 for a live-in maid. Initially when we were calling her for our payment, she stopped taking our calls. Later she flat-out refused to pay and said –“jo karna hai karlo!” – If I am not wrong, she got multiple crores as alimony from her husband. She infact told us that if we call her again then she would file a case of harassment and extortion with the crime branch. CRIME BRANCH! Wow!
These are just a few cases which I have listed out. We have never come across cases like this with our not-a-bollywood-celebrity clients. Even if there is a deficiency of service, we mutually resolve the issue and come to an understanding. However these celebs have shaken our trust in all of them and we have now issued a blanket-ban
More maid agencies have come forward to Hindustan Times to share their stories.
Abhishek Sable, director at Happy Maids Service, says, “I have stopped taking contracts from Bollywood. In the beginning, around three years ago, I provided house help to five-six celebrities. In my experience, only a few celebs are good. The others never gave [the maids] decent food. And if they didn’t like the food that the cook had made, they would throw the plate at their face. Gaali toh unke mooh pe rehti thi.
“They would come home late at night and wake the cook up with a kick and tell them to cook [right then]. We tried going to the police, but to no avail. One actor falsely accused a maid of theft. When I took her to the police, she contacted some minister and the case was dismissed. One Marathi [female] actor also had problems with the caste of the staff. She said she didn’t want people from the Ambedkar caste as, in her opinion, they are dirty. She threatened me with murder and also called a minister.”
Mohit Yadav, Honest Enterprises, says, “So far, I haven’t got any case of physical abuse, but [the celebs] threaten and abuse the staff. They keep the staff awake till very late. In the contract, I give it to them in writing that I won’t be responsible if a household help quits for being abused or ill-treated, nor will I provide a replacement. Many times, the servants don’t even report these incidents to us, as the employers take big names and threaten them. Mostly, bigger stars contact us through their secretaries, but television actors directly contact us. If I don’t like their behaviour or attitude when meeting them, I refuse [the service].”
Another service provider, on condition of anonymity, says, “Just recently, I got a query from a Bollywood actor for two domestic helps — one for looking after the dog, the other to take care of the upper floor. They quoted a salary of Rs 12,000 each. I sent one person to their house, but when it was time to pay the salary, they only paid Rs 8,000, saying, ‘We have a lot of staff, but very few people to be taken care of’. It all depends on their mood; if they don’t like a maid’s services, they deduct an entire month’s salary. When we say we’ll approach the police, they retaliate by saying they’re not scared. The police are of no help. These instances are not just restricted to big stars; even struggling actors, models and television actors do it.”
Anupam Singhal, co-founder of Book My Bai and writer of the blog post exposing the celebs, says, “We provide over 2,000 maids in a month. We’ve provided help to around 35 celebrities, out of which around 26 such cases have come to me. [The maid] has placed her trust in us and my responsibility is to get her a good job at a good household. And when I know my experience with Bollywood celebrities has been bad, I have no reason to get her a job there. I also have examples where the celebrity has taken very good care of the maids. But in the majority of the cases, some sort of abuse or exploitation has happened. We have a few pending requests from celebrities that we’re turning down now.
“It’s inhuman to have physical abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse. Maids are not paid salaries for months together. That’s the reason I came out and wrote the blog, because many of them are role models, some even National Award winners.
“If I take a name, the celebrity slaps a defamation case against [our] company. The maid should stand next to me and say that she’ll go to the police and file a case. Otherwise, I would have nothing to prove. Most of these maids refrain from going to the police because they say they’ve come here to earn money and not get into legal hassles. There’s a social stigma about what their families will think.”
Another service provider, on condition of anonymity, says, “An incident took place at an actor’s house. She is divorced with two children and comes from a family of actors. Who maid ko time pe khaana nahi dete the. Whatever was left over from their parties, they’d feed her that. We can’t leave the maids in such conditions. These things happen with stars. Hum zada inn logo ka kaam nahi lete hain, kyuki inke complaints aate rehte hain. They also create problems with salary — they feel that people are dying to work at their houses, so they can decide what they want to pay.”