“Sir, I cannot work after 3 pm”.
My first reaction was – arre! why would you refuse extra pay for working another hour? It didnt make sense. Then it struck me, she had responded in English. I looked at my wife and as usual, my wife rolled her eyes (which usually means – “you have no idea about anything in this house”). Apparently both of them have been conversing in English for quite some time, which has completely escaped me.
Jaya didi was working as a cook with us for only a week. And she is by far the best cook we have had. Now we were getting greedy. Can she come back in the afternoon at 3pm and cook dinner for us as well and leave by 5?
“Why cant you stay later? You live closeby?”
“Sir, i give tuitions to children from 4 to 6 every day. There are about 20 kids from first standard to high school”. Thats nice! I always have high regard for teachers, and was very happy to hear this.
“What do you teach?”
“Everything. These are poor kids and need help, i help in what ever subject they need help with. Half of them dont have money to pay me, so i teach them free”
I was dazed. Here is a lady who works as a cook in our house who is going back after a hard day’s work with terrible pay and has the energy to teach kids in the evening. For free. Wow.


  1. Well said Ashwin. Touched.

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