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Poomla and Babar

Delhi, India

Let me introduce you to my housekeeper, Poomla. She is a single mum with four kids and rents a room with a shared bathroom in a house near Ghitorni. Her family eat and sleep in this room. She is assigned to clean just about everywhere I tread only a few minutes after I've trodden it. She also cleans my studio every morning before I start work. She doesn't speak English but somehow we communicate and have a laugh now and again. I don't know when she ever sees her kids. She puts in 12 to 14 hours a day of solid work here. She earns around 2500 rps (around 70 dollars)a month which is not good money if you are single in India and particularly worse if you've got four kids.
She calls me Babar (lion) and scolds me if I make too much mess.
The other day we had a moment. I'd just come back from shopping for supplies and I brought Poomla a packet of Tim Tams. I found a store where you can get anything. Vegemite, corn flakes and fructis shampoo etc.
The vegemite is real but the other stuff is made in India under licence and is a poor relation.
I introduced the others to TIm Tams as well and even though they are not quite like the Australian version they were voted the new biscuit choice.
Poomla was overwhelmed to receive her Tim Tams and the next morning she told me that her children loved them. Do you know that her kids have never eaten pasta or drunk cows milk or ever had a chocolate biscuit or even a peice of chocolate.
She cleaned extra well that morning.

As well as her own work, I have discovered that Poomla has an appreciation for abstract painting and is a natural born art critic and curator. I made the discovery this morning when out of the blue she came to my studio and pointed out three of the six paintings I've done.
She was indicating her preference. To the other three she just brushed her hand through the air as a signal to throw them out and start again.

The three she likes are my favourites as well.

permalink written by  Eric Broome on December 10, 2006 from Delhi, India
from the travel blog: Journey to the Arts End
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Eric Broome Eric Broome
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I am a fine artist from the mid north coast of NSW, Australia. I work with different media including photography, painting drawing and. For me, art making is about the process. My work is abstract style. It is included in collections and has been shown world wide. I have also made site specific...

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