With a successful stand-up career and a Netflix special under her belt, Indian comedian Aditi Mittal uses her web show “Bad Girls” to highlight some badass women. Recently, she brought Deepika Mhatre, a mother of three who is a maid by day and comedian by night, on her show.
In India, domestic employees aren’t always treated with the respect they deserve but Mhatre channels everything she learnt from her profession and brings it to her comedy.
“That’s fine. Go and hide your precious utensils that I am not allowed to use,” Mhatre says in her stand up in Hindi. “But whose hands made the chapattis you eat? And whose hands apply the balm when a tired madam needs a massage?”
She uses her own and the experiences of colleagues to create her standup routine. She pokes fun at herself, the wealthy and how they haggle for a few rupees but pay full price when there’s a sticker with a price on it. She points out the outrageous social structure of India that treats domestic employees unjustly. You would never think the sweet woman in a salwar kameez that hit the stage was so sarcastic and witty.
Mhatre tells Mittal in the “Bad Girl” episode that she has been a jokester since childhood, but taking on stand-up happened when one of her employers set up an event for all the maids. Mhatre found support in the women she works for and took her stand-up to the stage when a journalist discovered her talent.
She still maintains her day job, which includes beginning her day at 4 am selling jewelry in the local trains of Mumbai, working in 5 separate houses, and then heading back to her own home and family, which consists her ailing husband and three children.
Stand-up is still relatively a new field in India but it’s rising popularity has given way to talents like Mhatre. It is unusual to find a maid with a double life as a comedian but this newfound talent has given Mhatre self-confidence. Thanks to her stand-up, she said she’s received a lot of love and respect from others, especially women she meets during work.
She is a wife, mom, maid, jeweler, and comedian, and like she jokes in her stand-up, with the right support, she might just be a politician next. More than that, Mhatre is a role model and a reminder that this world is full of opportunities, you just have to take a chance on yourself.