Friday, June 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Khala, I am forever indebted to you

A personal account, cherishing the tireless care and vital support provided by household help

Update : 10 Mar 2024, 12:31 PM

My help once called me while I was dealing with office work and said: “It's raining outside, please pick up the clothes from the balconies. I will come tomorrow and fold them.”

Despite having finished her work and enjoying her free time at home, she still feels the need to notify me about the weather -- be it a foggy evening or rain outside. She knows I may not notice or avoid it while working or writing something.

She keeps making these kinds of gestures too often and I never find out the reason why.

This elderly woman, whom I address as Khala, takes care of my home. The moment she steps into my house, her motherly instincts kick in, and she goes above and beyond to make sure that everything is just right. All I have to do is tell her what I want to eat for the day, and she takes care of everything else.

Before she leaves the house, she reminds me that green chilies are about to be finished, there’s no fish in the fridge, or I need to buy some vegetables or spices.

Before coming to work, she calls me and asks if I need anything, then she goes grocery shopping and buys whatever I asked for. Sometimes, she buys some bananas and makes me pancakes for breakfast or buys milk bread, so I do not need to start the day starving.

I do not spend much time in the kitchen. I only go in to get food and have trouble identifying which jars contain which spices. Despite my limited cooking abilities, I never go hungry because she always makes something for me.

One day she came to my house with a smile and handed me a box. She said: "I bought something for you.” I discovered that inside the box, it was full of pithas that she had made for her grandchildren. She kindly thought to bring some for me as well.

Another day she bought three new food covers. She was showing them to me and said: “I found these at a street shop and bought these mini covers for you as you don’t have this size at home.” 

Sometimes she drops a bag of spinach from her hometown and makes it a dish.

She is a woman I deeply cherish. The way she cooks with such care and love shows how much she cares for me. She has made my life so much easier and has done so much for me. She has become a reliable source of support for me, and I can always count on her whenever I face any trouble.

When Khala rings the doorbell and shows up it makes me happy. It is obvious that her love for me is not conditional upon anything I may give her, but rather it comes from a place of genuine care.

She works tirelessly, often going above and beyond what I ask. Even during her vacation, she sends her sister to check on me, ensuring I am doing okay and offering any assistance I might need. 

Her dedication and thoughtfulness make my life easier, and I am deeply grateful. In fact, I even find ways to do something for her to reciprocate and show my love and appreciation.

She doesn't require any specific justifications to care for me and love me, but she continually provides numerous reasons for me to love and admire her. Living far from home, any expression of motherly affection overwhelms me, and I eagerly desire their ongoing love and care.

People who make life easier are truly invaluable.


Kaniz Fatema is a Sub-Editor, Dhaka Tribune.

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