BANGALORE: Malls fulfil our needs when it comes to shopping, dining and entertainment options. People working behind the scenes unobtrusively find that these jobs have perks and have opened up a whole new lifestyle to their view. City Express speaks to a cross-section of housekeeping staff from
various city malls.
“I’m the eldest child. So, I work here to support my family. They pay us on time and the working conditions are good. We have been well looked after,” says Sita M, who works as a cleaner at a mall off M G Road. Several women like Sita find that these options pay better that say a domestic maid and like the feel of being in the organised sector. They associate the pay check and an account as a big step forward from their earlier lives.
Yet, this work does not come easy. Suresh, who works in the same mall, says, “I was appointed as a glass cleaner. Sometimes it is quite risky and tedious to clean the glass.” Admittedly more tedious, but he too has the same point to say: The management treats them like salaried class and that by itself is a perk for them. As another worker Lakshmi puts it: “I get weekly off now.” What better joy than a weekly off for domestic maids who work all seven days at some
homes even today.
Timings too make a difference. Uma works on the 9 to 5 shift and is happy with it. “Though it is a monotonous job, I get weekly off. It is quite hectic on Saturdays and Sundays as more people visit the mall. But the hectic work is compensated with the weekdays where the dirt on the floor is less,” says Uma, who has been working in a mall from past four years.
For people like Manoj R, who has migrated from Odisha to Bangalore, this city and the work opportunities it offers is nothing short of amazing. “Back at my place, we struggle to get a job. But here, we get paid well. Now, I am able to send money to my parents and educate my brother and sister as well,,” he says. While many criticise the mall culture, it does look like the gateway to a new life for an entire section of people; to them it represents a move forward to the class called organised sector.