Murderous nanny

After a long time I’m actually staying at home this morning. Of course I am not doing anything much which often leaves people conjuring images of me swinging from a fan like an Orang Utan or lounging on a deck chair like Cleopatra being fed grapes by my willing slave. Alas! No such luck. I have to actually sit down in front of the computer and review and edit my cook book one last time. So while I was editing the manuscript , calling up the printer to make sure he delivers the copies of a book planned to be released on Sunday at our annual Charity celebration, co-ordinating with my suppliers and clients and also planning yet another family celebration next month, I decided to take a Net surfing break. I don’t know how I landed up on “The New York Times” because I don’t generally read the news at all but what I read shocked me out of my mind.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading – in a country where everything is checked, cross checked and referenced to the point of no surprise skeletons, how could a nanny’s murderous intentions go un-noticed? That apart, I realised how fragile our social fabric has become. Any incident can unhinge a person and any action of such a person can go un-punished on grounds of insanity. It is simply absurd. I think we have to re-think our rules of punishment and invoke that old law of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth“.

As a mother I can hardly begin to imagine the shock of seeing young children dead – so brutally stabbed by the person who you entrusted with their care. My heart goes out to the young mother and know that no words will ever heal her heart. But this is a risk all mothers have to take as pursuing  a career means leaving your children in the care of others. In India and many other Asian countries, grandparents happily pitch in and I know of families that have been brought up by granny while the young parents go off to work. Walking down the streets in Shanghai I could see many children brought out to play by older people.  In Europe too there are families who share the burden of child rearing with each granny baby sitting for a day or two, giving the young mother a chance to keep on working. But in a society like the US which doesn’t want to have anything to do with their parents apart from the occasional card and family dinner, it doesn’t come as a surprise that child care is in the hands of total strangers. This does not mean that the children deserve to die nor does it mean that in the care of grandparents/uncles and aunts  don die either, but a child who is brought up by the grandparents has a better chance of being cared for in a more loving and responsible way.

Women have a difficult choice to make – to work or not. Very often the need to work over rides the choice of not working and in today’s world a woman’s identity is distinct. She is no longer a daughter, a sister, a wife or a mother. She is herself, working for herself, achieving her own dreams and living her own life.

Many Indian immigrants still call their parents over for six months at a stretch to do Nanny Duty but with Indian parents now getting used to the “Empty Nest Syndrome”, an increased reluctant to live and work in an alien land, with more stringent checks for getting visas and the high cost of health insurance there are fewer grannies willing to be nannies.

With less people willing to go into service jobs, with grandparents unwilling to become caregivers it will become even harder for young women to have careers………..

Truly I am glad I didn’t have to make the choice and leave my children in the care of a murderous nanny. Those days were tough when all my friends were pursuing careers, I was sitting at home washing nappies, folding clothes and running after two young toddlers barely eighteen months apart. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been if I had pursued a career and followed my dream.

But then when I read stories like this I am glad I did what I did.

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Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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