With ‘Raj’ ended and British colonial ‘Sahib’s packed up for their mother land. Most of them when back to their ‘home’; first oddity they faced, lack of service from soft-footed domestic servants. Ruling for 200 years in their oriental colonies, they became so used to these ‘Khidmatgars’ or domestic helps; back home without them , for many life became painful experiences. There were many having never seen their ‘Home’ or Great Britain could never imagine a life without domestic helps.
On the bank of Ganges or Hoogly river there were many jute mills owned by mostly Scottish ‘Sahibs’; still some of their old English style Bungalows stand within the those old mill compounds, although mostly in dilapidated condition but they still show their elegance. It is surprising, how the ‘Memsahib’s could maintain them! How many domestic helps, Malis (gardeners) , ‘Khidmadgars’ were engaged for their upkeep! One of my friends after leaving Air Force joined as a Security Officer in one of these old Jute Mills. His mill was not very far from my home. One Sunday I visited him just to renew our old relation. The Mill was silent when I reached the gate. I came to know from the guard at the gate the mill was then on ‘lock-out’ by management. Therefore, the silence prevailed. Though unfortunate for the people who worked their; selfishly I felt a sense of relief as there was no humdrum. The security personals were on their usual duties, so my friend. He was at his quarter at the time. The guards directed me to his quarter. It got awe struck by its size. I knew my friend was all alone there; his family stayed back at his home. The king size bungalow could accommodate a regiment I felt. Seeing me, he hurried down from ‘Verandah’ that was elevated from land level and approachable by number of stairs. After exchanging initial ‘Hi, hellos’ I entered his drawing room. Big surprise awaited me there. I could not imagine such a beautiful Bungalow could have such dirty, hardly maintained drawing room in its womb! The old, colorless furniture seemed polished century ago scattered around; the thick layers of dust on them and floor all over turned me hesitant to sit comfortably.
Seeing my embarrassments my friend got smell; he submitted the mill being perpetually sick for decades, the management cut down the expenses on maintenance of officer’s quarters. Neither domestic helps available nor they could afford them. It was visibly understandable that maintaining such a big house is beyond the capacity of any individual. So in due course of time, they have become dungeons.
Now that was the picture of British left over Bungalows in a mill premises. You know the picture is same now in residential houses of middle class. As they too can not be maintained without domestic helps and they are rare species now. The growth and advancement in social life, the government program for elimination unemployment in urbane and rural areas, now withered those hard working, sincere domestic helps. Hoards of middle class now switching to manageable flats as maintaining house is very difficult and expensive. It seems in near future, men staying in big residential house will be stories.
I feel sometime, men came out caves and constructed houses. Now as history repeats itself, they are again returning to man-made caves (read flats). This is natural.