The stage is set. I’m standing at my sink, doing housework and haven’t changed out of the clothes I slept in. My hair is messy and there is no makeup on my face, except for the smeared mascara from last night. To make light of the situation and to make myself feel better I tell the world: “Today, I’m in maasi-mode.”
However, by using this term maasi-mode, I have demeaned a woman who earns an honest living for herself and her family. How would we feel if our profession was used to describe a messy state?
This International Women’s Day as we talk about women empowerment and equality, let us vow never to use the term ‘maasi-mode’. I have been guilty of using this word myself, so I’m the first to admit my mistake. There is no shame in any profession and we need to give equal respect to every human as we expect for ourselves.
(Maasi is the word used for maids in South Asia. The word was actually used in Punjabi for aunt but slowly that was replaced with the Urdu word khala and now maasi is primarily used for house help in Pakistan.)
I was quite spoilt by having househelp readily available when I lived in Pakistan. When I moved to Canada and had to take care of cooking, cleaning and washing myself, I realized the hard and endless effort that goes into it.
I’m not advocating that people stop using house help. The maasi and all the staff available in South Asia makes lifestyle comfortable for those who can afford it and also provides economic opportunities to millions.
I’m just requesting to give respect to every profession. Let us be aware of our everyday conversations and how they can hurt someone’s heart.
Let us stop using the term ‘maasi-mode’ to describe our state when we are messy and doing housework.
Being a maasi is a profession, just as being a doctor, engineer or home-maker is. This Women’s Day let us give respect to all women and be part of a big change by being respectful and thoughtful.