Meera Vijayann

Meera Vijayann

Meera Vijayann writes on social development and gender issues in South Asia. As the current Youth Ambassador for India on Sexual Violence in Conflict, she reports on gender-based violence in India. Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, Open Democracy, Forbes, CNN and other major outlets. Follow her on twitter @meeravijayann

The hidden lives of India’s domestic maids

Kalanidhi lets out a heavy sigh as she bends forward to adjust the length of her sari. The 50-year-old’s face is gently lined; her expression is one of tired resignation.

A few moments before our interview Kalanidhi was busy, cleaning the house, sweeping the floor and washing the dishes. Now she sits crossed legged, sipping tea. She earns $16 (10 British pounds) every month for her work. This is her everyday routine, and she has grown used to it. “I have lived in Bangalore for 50 years,” she says, “and I have been working here for 15 years. At first, I started working in a local printing press. After that, I started doing household work. It’s been 10 years since I started working here in Cox town. Time passes by quickly.” She smiles.

Indian slum