Stand-up comedy is not just a dilly-dally; it is more than just a source of laughing out loud. When the cup of daily struggles starts to feel too heavy, it is best to leave it at the hands of humour, who knows, maybe the breaking of the cup can result in breaking of stereotypes! And what could possibly be the catch here? A good laugh resonating all over the place! One can get such an experience at Deepika Mhatre’s stand-up comedy shows where she effortlessly makes the entire audience cracking up and subtlety reveals the bitter truth of the world.
Deepika Mhatre is a stand-up comedian by passion and a domestic helper by profession. No, this is not a story of a woman who turned her life around from a domestic helper to a stand-up comedian. This is a stirring story of a woman who is a domestic helper as well as a stand-up comedian.
The beginning of each day.
Deepika’s day starts even before the sun rises. Being the only earning member of her family, she wakes up at 4 a.m. every single day to make a living and look after her family. She starts her day by selling imitation jewellery on a local train at Nala Sopara and winds up her work by 7 a.m. without any breaks. She then heads to Malad where she works as a domestic helper in five houses.
Wherever Deepika goes, society’s discrimination and hypocrisy have always been a constant partner in the front seat. The same society which frowns upon domestic helpers for sitting anywhere on their high-quality furniture, using the elevators or the same routes and even using the same utensils for eating or drinking is the same society that devours on the freshly cooked food by these domestic helpers.
The good amidst the difficult times.
Surrounded by the darkness of hypocrites, Deepika came across a single ray of light, Sangeeta Vyas.
Sangeeta Vyas, one of the employers of Deepika played a huge role in bringing Deepika to the limelight. When everyone was busy with their usual festival parties, Sangeeta’s eye caught the sight of all the house helpers who incessantly kept on working even on special occasions. This incident led Sangeeta to an immensely thought-provoking stage and prompted her with the idea of organizing an amusing gathering called “Bai Log.” Numerous house helpers were invited and were given the opportunity to exhibit their underlying talents and have an enjoyable time for themselves.
Deepika was given the opportunity to share a couple of her jokes at this point. Her short performance had the audience in laughs, and Rachel Lopez, a Hindustan Times writer in the audience, recognised Deepika’s natural comedic ability right away. She called Aditi Mittal, a well-known personality in the field of stand-up comedy, and encouraged her to meet Deepika.
When Aditi laid her eyes on Deepika underlying potential, she encouraged her to pursue her passion professionally and even guided her by taking her to some of her shows. She helped Deepika to come to the stage and featured her in one of her shows “Bad Girls” which opened the gates of umpteenth opportunities to perform for several channels and reality shows. She even got an opportunity to participate in a world-famous show, India’s Got Talent.
The current situation.
Deepika’s comedic talent gained her fame, but it couldn’t help her to pay her expenses. She continues to sell imitation jewellery on a regular basis and, until last year, worked as a domestic helper in numerous homes. Due to health concerns, she was compelled to discontinue this employment, leaving the sale of jewellery on local trains as her sole feasible constant source of income. Even now, she gets up at 4 a.m. and goes to sell her imitation jewellery on local trains.
What goes unnoticed is the fact that every day we see thousands of faces, interact with hundreds of people, and barely ten of them get an opportunity to come forward and display their talents that most people don’t even get. Every day we see people, but not their talents.