Spa mic Touch
recently been appointed the PA to the Madam, wife of a distinguished
gentleman in Dhaka. They wanted an 'English-speaking' secretary
because the other Madams in the social circle have Bangla-speaking
ones. It is both fashionable and important for Madams to
hire secretaries to manage their packed social calendars.
They need someone to keep track of their kitty parties each
day, dinners each night, parlour appointments, dressmaker
appointments, card games every evening and so on. It is
not easy to be rich and famous at the same time.
The Hubby and I applied, but they settled for me because
Madam was more comfortable with a female in the house. I
have been at this new place of work for over two weeks now.
second day of my duty, Madam said she had a prophetic dream
that night. Not having worked with Madams in the past, I
felt odd that she should want to share her personal life
with me. And at the same time, didn't quite know the appropriate
response in reply. I wouldn't want being caught overstepping
my limits so early on in my job. So I just waited.
want to do something for my country. And you know what?
My dream showed me the path."
Madam. How fortunate for us." I was certain I was making
the right noises because Madam seemed pleased.
want to open a health spa in Dhaka. I miss it here. I can't
keep going abroad every 15 days for relaxation therapy.
It is not fair on my servants here. They shouldn't get used
to such frequent breaks. They may start getting withdrawal
symptoms for lack of things to do."
But secretly I wished she'd rather continue doing that.
Can't say about the domestic aides in the house, I certainly
wouldn't mind it. And, in the capacity of her PA, if she
decided to take me along everywhere…just imagine!
I would have to somehow convince her that opening a spa
here was a flop idea.
spas mean big time investment. What with your mansions coming
up, and children's education abroad, and time for the monthly
change in your fleet of cars, I don't think you can think
of any new avenue for spending." I thought this thorough
homework of mine should impress her.
do you know of my personal finances, young lady?" she
said sounding visibly offended, "you have been with
me for less than 24 hours."
Madam. But truly, Madam, opening a spa is not simple…"
I went on to give her my understanding of the key problem
do I get this feeling that you don't want to see this spa
coming up? I don't like such opinionated subordinates. You
will have to start liking my ideas, young lady, not vice
versa," she growled. "And besides, I am not doing
it for myself. I am doing it for my country."
"Very well, Madam. I understand.
the by-lanes of Gulshan, Baridhara and Banani. Madam had
her mind set on these locations as she felt that a health
spa and the rest of Dhaka didn't quite go well. "It's
all about the image, you see," she explained. There
is, indeed, so much the important people need to keep in
mind when going about their daily business.
as we turned around the corner at one of the quieter roads,
her eyes lit up. "Stop, driver. That's it. What a perfect
location! My spa will come up here."
"But Madam, there is a school running here!"
what? Today there's a school. Tomorrow there'll be a spa.
Who knows, if my experiment doesn't work out, there may
be a mall here day after tomorrow!"
dear. Can't you see? It will be a fashion statement, the
only one of its kind in this country. In any case, schools
are a dime a dozen in this area, but there will be only
one spa. Oh I'm so excited! Can't wait to see it happen!
Hello…?" The next moment she was busy briefing
her husband and from the sound of it, it appeared that,
being the influential man that he is, he assured her of
quick execution from his side.
long, dear?" I heard her ask.
and then turning towards me, she said, "two days, he
says. Oh, I can barely wait!"
You will notify the school authorities, I suppose?"
waste energy over non-essentials? We'll deal with them if
people will be shocked when they hear this, think about
the future of these students. There will be a big furore…"
memory is short my dear. And it betrays all norms of empathy.
days later, Madam took me to the site. The educational institution
that I'd seen that day no longer existed. The building,
the furniture, the play ground, everything had been razed.
I wanted to know about the future of the school, and not
just the physical entity, but didn't probe. Couldn't jeopardise
my own future, could I? And in any case, there would be
enough parents and teachers worrying about that.
roaring bulldozers and ground levellers were hard at work
on this flattened piece of earth. Suddenly Madam realised
her vision was being obstructed by a most luscious patch
of green along the boundary walls. The contractor was immediately
pulled up for having left those trees there.
Madam. These are trees. Old ones. Don't you think this gives
a natural backdrop to your spa setting?" I butted in.
would want to come to a jungle for a spa therapy, silly
girl? Wait till you see how I transform this place."
by Madam, the public apathy to the truculent brazenness
of the entire episode is shocking and distressing. Two days
after this incident, the newspapers dropped this news item
from their column spaces because of lack of its newsworthiness.
Outcries were much less than I'd expected. Few letters decrying
(or lauding!) the act ever made way to the editors' mail
I couldn't risk it myself. The lure of lucre- they pay me
well- is far weightier than the call of conscience. Now
10 days on, the nightmare has stopped visiting me, and I
am beginning to dream of the 'strong' foundations of the
new entity instead. This spa, I am convinced, is bound to
do well. Who needs education these days, anyway?
(R) thedailystar.net 2004