Later the purveyor of the maid meme, my cousin in Kerala, messaged me privately to clarify that he had definitely not intended any disrespect towards Indian maids. It was a joke, he said, maybe not even a very funny one, that was pointing to a more hopeful future, where familiar routines would return. Life wasn’t routine right now. It was almost two o’clock in the morning in India and he’d just got back from a shift in a hospital where he works as a frontline doctor, tending to patients with Covid.
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