Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stray Thoughts...

When someone expresses distaste at the idea of drinking from the same glasses that watchmen or peons use, are they being hygeinic, or is it a small shard from the structure of caste and untouchability?



Does someone who finds the idea that a husband might wake up early to cook for his wife funny enough to phrase as a joke, find it as funny when (as all of us must have seen) a wife does the same for her husband?

12 comments:

Impulsively Me said...

Your lines got me thinking .. I would not think twice before taking a sip from a friend's glass.. I would hesitate to do likewise if I am with a stranger, however posh and clean he may be .. But will I partake from a peon's or maid's glass even if I know them very well? I doubt it! Though I don't really know why :)

And no!! I feel greatly relieved when my beau cooks something for me, especially when I am exhausted :)

GettingThereNow said...

First case- definitely casteism and untouchability are in play. If they cite hygeine as a reason, that means they don't trust YOUR housekeeping skills :P Vaise, hygeine is cited as a reason just to convince oneself that one is not a bigot.

Second case - tell me when you find out :D

Unmana said...

Impulsively me: Ah, but this wasn't about sharing a glass. It was about using a washed glass or cup that might have been used by a peon.

And to the second paragraph: so am I. But all people don't feel the same way. Also, would you find it suprising, or funny, if it was the beau who was the default cook in the relationship?

Cee Kay: I agree with you. I see no reason why a) a peon shouldn't be as clean as me, and b) why a washed glass should be objectionable. Objecting to a glass not having been washed well is of course, totally different.

And as to the second case, I suspect the answer, but I would love to be proved wrong.

Rohini said...

Very true about the caste and untouchability concept. ppl haven't grown up yet!

and abt the husband cooking for me.. i am yet to experience that coz i'm still single...

Unmana said...

Rohini: I hope you do experience it, and as more than a stray experience!

When's the wedding?

Rohini said...

December! :) not sure if i am waiting eagerly or scared abt it! i guess both.. :)

Usha said...

I guess it is mostly hygiene but if they do it even when the cup hasn't touched the lips of another then it is the latter.
In the case of second if the first part is true then the second isn't.

Saurabh Roy said...

I guess the first thing u mentioned resembles closely to that primitive thinking that ppl belonging to lower cadre profession aren't hygenic, infact untouchables got classified on that basis..though later things took a disastrous turn...and bout the second thing u mention...thats really something to think about

i-me-moi said...

it's all about upbringing. and it's all so convenient both to dispel and assume.

- My family has always taught me that servants are human beings and no lesser because of the money they make is less. We have always given them the same cups. Clumsy maids were given cheap ones but we used the same mugs if required.

- Another thing my family followed was not to treat any visitor to the house differently. To this day, we offer the postman water from the same glasses we drink water from of course. And we invite him to sit inside for a bit if he looks tired on a sunny day, assuming we have known him for a while of course - one can't be too cautious with safety.

To all those people who keep separate glasses and cups I ask, how can you refuse them the right to drink from something that they have cleaned for us.

Having said all this I am not sure how I would feel about this issue if I wasn't brought up like this.

Unmana said...

i-me-moi: You've been brought up very well!

"How can you refuse them the right to drink from something that they have cleaned for us." Indeed!

diya said...

I guess it will take sometime for us to get over this hangover from the past, we are trying to shake it off though, but some of it still remains. In my parents house there was a separate set of plates, glasses, bowls etc for the domestic help, driver, electrician, plumber etc. In my Mom in laws place I found her giving the family's steel glass to the help when she asked for water. The maid however was inhibited and she never touched her lips to the glass, and washed it after use. However my Mom in law would blow a fuse if the help were given tea from the family's share. Tea for the help had to be prepared separately! This problem is not there at my parents'. In my house the help is free to use the family utensils, however I will not take out the best cups for her as I do for my guests!
Another problem is the use of toilets. In Delhi my MIL would not dream of letting the help use our loo, in fact none of the ladies in the colony allowed it so the poor women relieved themselves in the secluded nooks and cranies and would be told off if spotted by the residents. The residents association constructed a two storied office for themselves inside one of the parks of the colony amidst protest from parents whose children played there.We were discussing this when our help quipped-"they should make some toilets for us instead", that's when I realised that their problems would never be considered while discussing the needs of our colony.Sadly neither will they be allowed to use the toilets that they have spent half their lives cleaning!

Unmana said...

Diya, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you - we have shaken off some of it, some remains and hopefully will be shaken off eventually...