She was introduced to my colleagues and me by the Housekeeping Contractor as Meera – a helper who would do the housekeeping work at the office.
A 30-odd aged lady that she was, she bore an attractive smile and eyes that always welcomed any requirement. She ensured an orderly office space, a tidy lounge and a beautiful garden that stretched against the two sides of the staircase that took to the entrance of our office.
Above all, she was known for the best coffee that she made which many elite customers longed to have and would ask for if not offered for any reason.
For unknown reasons, she had special fondness for me, I presume, this was because I was in my second trimester of pregnancy at that time. It was a medically assisted conception and I was required to take lot of care of my prenatal health. Though my gynecologist suggested complete bed rest, I could not afford the same for pecuniary reasons prevailed at that time and preferred to go to work.
Every morning Meera would greet me with her aromatic coffee and her affectionate smile. She searched the entire office and found a plank like thing and placed it as a foot rest to my comfort. I never realized that the foot rest would bring so much of ease and relaxation. Before I could realize it was lunch time, she would take out my lunch pack (exactly at 1.30 pm) and make it warm in the oven that is available in the small cafeteria of our office and serve it in a platter and keep ready for me to consume. While I used to eat, she would stand there enquiring about my health and would give some desi tips to avoid mild discomforts that I used to complain. Just before I finished eating, she would be ready with a mug of water near the sink to help me have a hand wash, so that I can avoid bending to fetch water from the pail (it was mid-summer and due to severe water problem there was no running water and a bucket of water was placed near sink for use).
Then comes the second part of the day when sharp at 3.00 she would make lemonade for me from the half part of lemon that she managed to preserve from that she used to bring from market to make lemon tea for our Head. At the close of the day when she left around 5.00 pm, she would ensure to serve the last tea to me and enquired if I am going to sit late and if I would need something to munch so that she can bring from the bakers next door.
Over and above all the chores that I have narrated above, she vowed her offerings to Sammakka-saarakka, to ensure a safe childbirth for me.
I often used to wonder….. I don’t belong to her family, she is not my domestic help, I never gave her any valuable things, except a few of my old sarees and may be a small contribution of the tips that all staff used to give her, alongwith other housekeeping staff, for Diwali………….but what could be the reason of her unconditional affection and attention towards me ?
Being one among the three siblings born in a lower middle class family and married to a man of equal status, I was never entitled to so much of attention. I felt pampered ……. I was truly overwhelmed and elated……. I relished her affection and her attention and felt pampered .
Can I call it some connection of past life……. Can it be some divine hand helping me in her form …….. can it be some cosmic power in my horoscope (which I seldom believed)……….. can it be the grace of the child that I am bearing that attracted her towards me.
I am still not sure what she has found in me, but I found MEERA in Meera. I conclude …….. it was MEERA, the epitome of dedication ……. the unconditional lover ………… the zealous admirer ………….. the stubborn believer. A primitive thing that I am, cannot be her Krishna, but she is my maa MEERA.
– Kanaka Durga