When we let our first cook go, I was certain that we would not have another cook during our stay in India. I was initially in love with the idea of a cook, but knew I was more in love with the idea of learning how to cook Indian dishes properly than I was with having someone cook for us. I actually like to cook, so figured that I would learn by osmosis, or, failing that, taking lessons.
Then Lakshmi fell into our lives. We knew after one week that she was a good fit and a good cook, and that she liked us as much as we liked her. The biggest key for us was that she made life easier. I had oodles of extra time to play with the lils now, and that just made things a little more relaxed. She started working for us part time in mid-April, with an agreement that she would start full time in June, when we returned from our Canadian vacation, and our friends (her other gig) left for their home in Minnesota. We were set.
Then, while we were in Canada, Willy got a message from our friends letting us know that Lakshmi had been offered and accepted, a full time job with another family. It was a “9-5” job, which meant that it was extremely unlikely that she would have any time to cook for us. We were crushed. We thought that we had it all figured out, that she was going to be spoiling us and the lils for the remainder of our stay in India. It stung because we were all attached to her, especially the lils. We didn’t tell them while we were in Canada, and I was dreading telling them upon our return.
The day that we arrived back in India, Lakshmi called me. I didn’t end up getting to the phone in time, but was relieved to have missed her call when I saw the call display. I was too tired to have the conversation with her and didn’t want her to be the stereotype. I had been warned about the helpers who stay with you until something better comes along, regardless of what you have pre-paid them for, or what your verbal agreement is. We knew that there was an outside chance that Lakshmi would find something else, but she assured us that she wanted to work for us, and would only be looking for something much closer to our eventual departure. We had paid her for the month of May based on that assumption and had negotiated a wage increase for her increased hours upon our return.
Monday came and Lakshmi came to the house as usual. She went to the kitchen and started cooking right away, and acted like nothing was different. When I finally worked up the nerve to ask her about the other job, she explained that she asked them to wait until we left. She couldn’t bear to leave us (ok, the lils), and asked them if she could work part time until we left. Happily they agreed! Sometimes, it just works out.