Equality

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