Malgudi Days – मालगुडी डेज – Episode 41 – A Willing Slave – आया
No one knew her name, from when she went, or came – for the family she was just ‘Ayah’*. A willing slave to cook and care for the three children, keep a stern eye on the other servants and to generally keep the house in running order – all for a pittance of a sari and a few rupees a month. The only sign of any family of her own were two hefty, sullen men in their early 40’s who would come to collect a part of her meager salary which she gave willingly. The story features ‘The Ayah’ and Little Radha (the smallest of the children) – their unique relationship where each indulges the other’s fantasy till one day when the Ayah leaves to becomes a willing slave for yet someone else. Everyone from eight to eighty will identify with this bitter — sweet tale. For the ‘Ayah’ forms an important figure in the Indian household. And for the Western world, our central character would be quite, quite unbelievable yet, about a Mother figurine.