Lalitha Bai was a maid in our locality, where I grew up as kid.
She lived in the slum areas, near our society, with her husband and three children.
Her daily task used to be waking up early in the morning and getting her children ready for school. She then went from house to house in our society doing the menial jobs of cleaning, washing and cooking.
She must have been in her 30s when I was a kid and whenever I visited my old society, as I grew older, I still saw her everyday, at the same time, doing the same things.
Her husband was a drunk and passed away early, and she continued to work harder than before trying to earn as much as she could.
As her kids grew up, they got married and moved on with their lives.
Lalitha Bai continued to live in the same house, all alone, still working those same jobs, probably because that had become a part of her life.
Even, though she had a tough time making the ends meet, she still had a kind word for everyone and a helping hand for those who went to her seeking her support.
I knew of people whom she had given money to, even as she herself struggled for her daily food. I knew of people whom she nursed when they fell ill without expecting anything in return.
She was a honest woman, who did an honest job, fought against whatever the society (in general) took away from her and lived happily in whatever bits and pieces life threw at her.
A couple of years back she died.
She must have been around 70ish.
She died from a cardiac arrest while leaving the house of one of her employers, after taking care of their newly born kid.
Her body was found a few hours later lying on the stairs and taken to the hospital by the one who found it.
Some how I heard of her death, in time, and managed to go for her funeral. Her funeral was attended by around 20-30 people from her immediate family and neighbors.
I did not see any of her Employers from past or present, at the funeral.
She would have had a little “Tsk Tsk, Poor Lady”, said in her condolence, even as her Employers would have gotten busy making arrangements for a new Lalita Bai to take care of their half-finished tasks.
She had left hardly anything behind which could be bequeathed on her children. Perhaps her only “Jama Poonji” were her children themselves, who had grown up into being fine Lads and Ladies, doing well for their own and the thousands of lives that she might have touched due to her dedication and hardwork.
I am sure Lalitha Bai had no properties worth Crores of Rupees.
The act of forgetting her would be set in motion a few moments after she departed the living world…..
Her honest, hard working, helping nature going unrecognised and unrewarded after her time in the world got over, death being her only reward…..
Disclaimer: This post is not related to any recent deaths or their subsequent star-studded funerals. This post is dedicated to the 1000s of Lalitha Bais who are only doing their job and getting paid for it, in return. There is no reason to make their statues, dedicate obituaries or give them 24 X 7 prime time Media coverage.