“I have seen stand-up comedians make fun of their maids. Now I will make fun of you and all of you have to listen,” proclaims Deepika Mhatre in Hindi, as soon as she comes up on stage. The crowd erupts into a loud cheer for the comedian, who is a maid by day. Yes, her acts at open mics and Aditi Mittal’s show has made her so popular, that she deserves all the accolades she has been receiving.
She drives home the point, on how ‘classist’ a society India is, through the eyes of a maid. All her jokes are witty, but at the same time, hard-hitting. Like this line – “Main jis building mein kaam karti hoon, main bahut special hoon kyunki hamare jaise logon ke liye special lift hain aur bartan bhi. Aap chupao bartan ko, roti toh mere haath ki todte ho na.” (Where I work, I am very special…because there is a special lift for people like us. You hide your vessels but you eat the roti made out of my hand only, no?). She constantly pokes fun at the elite society, but with a smile on her face.
First encounter with stand-up comedy
Life changed for Deepika, last year, when they held a talent show on Women’s Day for all the female staff who worked in the complex. But, on the evening of the show, when she took the stage, there were hardly any residents from the apartments who had come to cheer them on.
With encouragement from Aditi Mittal
That very evening though, there was a reporter and she really liked Deepika’s style of comedy. The reporter then told Aditi Mittal, the famous female stand-up about her. Next thing she knows, Deepika gets a call from Aditi, who invited her to her house. Aditi found Deepika’s material to be original and extremely funny. She encouraged Deepika to attend open mic events in the city.
Being one of Aditi’s bad girls
In February, Aditi featured Deepika on Bad Girls, a show on her YouTube channel, which focusses on women who “are doing what they aren’t supposed to do”.
Comedy and other chores
Since then, Deepika has been performing at many open mics. But, not without a struggle. Deepika has been waking up at 4 am every day to take the first trains to sell her jewellery, reach her employers’ homes in the morning, return home for a short nap in the afternoon, cook and then head out to perform at a venue.
India’s got talent
Open mics have taken a back-seat now, with Deepika receiving offers to perform at various events, including awards and game shows, and she’s been given a slot in India’s Got Talent in October. Deepika is willing to even work in movies, if given a chance! Her attitude towards life sums up in this line though, with which she signs off in her act – Main chalti hoon…bahut kaam pada hai kyunki main maid nahi rakh sakti. (I’ll go…there is a lot of work to be done since I cannot keep a maid).
Well, this is one funny Bai we would like to hire, to perform at our events, obviously!
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