It’s often hard to accept the daily struggles of life. However, humour can make life’s vicissitudes far more enjoyable and a pleasant experience. The best example of this is Deepika Mhatre, whose stand up act is well loved by Mumbai’s cosmopolitan audiences. Deepika, a domestic maid, has carved a niche for herself in the competitive world of stand-up comedy.
That said, her life is still harder than ever. She still has to wake up at 4 A.M everyday to take care of her family of five. Before sunrise every day, she boards a suburban train and sells imitation jewellery on the Nalasopara local line in Mumbai. By 7 am, she’s done with her jewellery trade and she heads for her other day job, that of a domestic help in 5 homes across Mumbai. She has seen it all as a domestic help – and it is this rich experience that she has woven into hilarious material for her stand-up comedy skits.
The attitude of the ‘Raees’ or rich families does not bother her anymore. In fact, she is able to see the lighter side of it all and laugh at it! And all this is the subject of a laugh riot for her — the way the domestic helps cannot drink water from the same glasses, cannot eat from the same plates, cannot sit on the same sofas or furniture. The irony is that at family functions and gatherings, the domestic helps are made to serve everyone and are busy round the clock – but what she finds hilarioius is how people will willingly lick the food she prepares with her bare hands, yet insist on her washing her hands multiple times a day!
The woman that gave her a chance to showcase her talent was Sangeeta Vyas.
Sangeeta organized a meeting of various Bai’s in an event she cheekingly called ‘Bai Log’. It was an event in which she invited all the Bais to come and showcase their talent to the world. Deepika grabbed the opportunity to express her witty dialogues and tongue-in-cheek humour to a larger crowd. Her jokes became an instant hit and a reporter from the Hindustan Times, who was also invited for the event, took it upon herself to introduce Deepika to Aditi Mittal, the famous Mumbai-based stand-up comedian.
Deepika now finds herself on videos in Youtube that Aditi has put up and she uses this unique vehicle of comedy to highlight the injustices that people of her social class experience at the hands of the rich. She says that she has seen plenty of stand-up comedians make jibes about maids, but now it is her turn to speak out. She enjoys turning the tables for once.
But the rest is history and Deepika is doing very well now as a stand-up comedian. She still hangs on to her early morning day job of selling jewellery though. But her life works on logic and she says that even stand-up comedy does not pay all the bills of her household, so she might as well continue doing what she can.