In this age of intemperance of virtual content, we sure see a dearth of real heroes, and hence reel heroes assume responsibility and serve as fitting adjectives to many a virtuous nouns of our lives. Sitting behind computer screens, managing our social profiles on the internet, and keying an ‘aw’ or ‘aww’ each time a notification arrives, we have conveniently ignored the real issues that need attention. And celebrities form the pulp of the problem. Our social media activism, especially when it comes to celebrities, sure needs a makeover. Not that we would like to believe it but the cult following that Bollywood enjoys becomes a testimony to this fact. From romance to revenge, we imitate our beloved stars without paying much heed to the fact that they only play those characters we actually admire. Rage informs fandom here, and we tend to follow the suite no matter how bittersweet the reality can be. A recent blog entry by a domestic-help startup brings to the fore yet another example of overweening attitudes of the Gods of cinema.
BookMyBai is a platform that offers domestic help services, and the company has spoken about the kind of abuse their house help face at the hands of Bollywood celebrities. Anupam Sinhal, CEO, BookMyBai, starts off by saying, “I am a big fan of Bollywood movies. I also admire a lot of actors for their acting skills. However this admiration takes a huge U-turn when it comes to deal with some so-called “Bollywood celebrities” and providing them with a service.”
“BookMyBai has worked very closely with a lot of Bollywood celebrities and provided them with a good domestic help in Mumbai and other cities and our experience has not been less than horrendous. This piece that I am writing is to bring awareness of how some of these Bollywood celebrities exploit services. I know that I am generalizing and weighing them all in the same scale. But I am only talking out of my personal experience of providing a domestic help to over 20 Bollywood celebrities in Mumbai. This is also to put in a word of caution to other buddy-startups who might fall into the trap and end up losing that precious revenue,” he adds.
A few appalling excerpts from the BookMyBai blog:
[quote] The helper was from Bihar and he wanted to go back to Bihar to perform the last rituals. He promised to be back after 15 days since he wanted the money to support his family. The “celebrity” called us and told us that she wont let the person go till the time we send in a replacement. This was at 5.45pm on a Saturday evening. Our office is shut on Sundays. We promised to send a replacement on Monday and requested her to release the helper since he has to go for his mothers last ritual. Guess what! She did not. She could not care less. We did give a replacement on Monday. But the helper missed out on her mothers last ritual. I have no words to the extent of disgust I now have for this lady. [/quote]
[quote] The extent of torture and harassment to the maids was so high that we replaced maids 7 times. Each maid worked for 7-10 days before giving up and quitting. She drives a 3 crore car. Doesn’t give food to her domestic help. NO FOOD!!! Really!! Drink tea and eat bread 3 times a day. Wow! [/quote]
[quote] This experience actually convinced my team that we would not deal with celebrities anymore. Physical abuse of the maid was almost a daily affair. As soon as we got to know, we asked the maid to leave as soon as possible. When she came to our office, we could see physical marks on her body of physical abuse. We supported her and wanted to file a complaint in the local police station. But she asked us to let it go. She didn’t have the time to run to the police station every time the police calls her.
The best part is this – We have a very strict abuse clause in our contract and the employer is not given a replacement if there is any form of abuse. The celebrity called us and told us that she has 4 lakh followers on twitter and she would post bad tweets about the company if we don’t give her a replacement. We inquired with the building security guard who says no one stick in this home for over a week since she beats them all. [/quote]
[quote] She has all the money in the world. Yet she couldn’t solve her maid issues. Her attitude towards the staff was not less than someone who is uneducated. Verbal and physical abuse was a part of her daily routine. The maid got so fed up that she just absconded to her village and never came back. [/quote]
The company has put a blanket ban on Bollywood celebrities, as the owner mentions, “As a matter of fact, now BookMyBai has a blanket ban on all Bollywood celebrities and we have instructed our team not to provide domestic helps to any of them.”
You can read the complete post here.