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30 January 2008

Mystery of the missing mom

Kahan hai mummy?

A combination of factors has triggered this post. I am thinking about my mum. Then, the mommy blogging controversy. And when articles about Mumbai are recommended as excellent reads, I was thinking about the issue of slum dwellers and issues -which in turn is always linked to how we want them as maids and servants and how they contribute to 'local economy'. And last but not the least as it often does, ads often seem to bring out the blogger in me.

There is a new ad airing here which is for either a new dish washing detergent- or wait, I think it is scotchbrite scourer. It shows a family of husband/father and two kids wailing, 'Kahan hai Mummy'- where is Mum? They are shown playing board games, posing for family pics, watching television, doing a host of activities- all without Mom in the picture. With a gap where she should be. Then Lo! She opts to buy the new scourer pad and dishes are done in a jiffy leaving here free for more time with her family. Happiness all around. I just can not stop laughing.

Seriously please tell me, when was the last time anyone saw a 'Mummy' in Mumbai - any well-to-do mother with a kid aged 0-12- do the dishes? That too sari clad, pallu tucked at hip, wiping brow and sweat, labouring over heaps of them at the sink. Even with creative license for little exaggeration, it is just so funny. Three servants ka zamana hai. One for cooking, one for cleaning and one more as 'back-up' if any other bunks. Or for minding the baby, chopping the veggies, dusting, pick the child from school - everything and just about anything.

Whether working moms or stay-at-home moms, no one I know does the dishes as a daily chore- unless maybe by exception. And it has little to do with time available. If the dishes are piled up for the maid has not come; it is an occasion to order take-away and creative people I know also keep a stash of picnic plates as a practical alternative to doing dishes for days when maids are not available. As I mentioned, by exception, when unexpected guests arrive or expensive china scenarios. Dish washing machines are now available in Mumbai, but the take off is low and not so deep.

For the milieu and setting shown in the ad which appears to be what is normally termed 'upper middle class' one, the ad is hilarious. Every time the three of them chorus, 'Mummy, Mummy - kahan hai Mummy.' I can not help myself but chime, tongue-in-cheek, "Mummy gayi blogging karne'. Nahin aane wali. Mommy has gone blogging, get on with life. I am rolling on the floor with laughter.

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