There are several families in our building with young children. Usually both husband and wife work. They employ nannies to take care of their children.
Some of the nannies are young girls who cannot get better jobs. Some are elderly women. Some couples are originally from other states and have brought their nannies with them from there.
In the compound of our building there is an area for children to play with two benches for grownups to sit on. In the evening the nannies, with their charges, come down there. The children play while the nannies talk, or rather, gossip.
Our kitchen overlooks this space, and I can often hear the conversation of the nannies while I prepare dinner.
Most of them have many, many complaints about their employers. “My employer locks the bedroom when she goes to work” says one in a low voice.
That’s nothing”says her friend,”mine even locks her fridge. She keeps everything the children will need out on the table.”
One young nanny is worried that her employers had seen her meet her boyfriend the previous day. “I just know they’ll sack me.”
“No they won’t.” Another consoles her. “Where will they find another nanny to take care of their little terror?”
One elderly woman who takes care of a sweet little girl says,” Her mother just wants to go out all the time. When she’s not at work she goes to see a movie. Or goes to a restaurant without taking her daughter.”
“She never thinks about me. Shouldn’t I get time to go out sometimes. I get bored sitting in the house all the time.”-she says, sounding like a nagging housewife.
But however they may complain about their employers, they seem to love the children.
Every once in a while they stop their talking to shout at them.
“Hey, Raju, don’t climb there, you’ll fall!”
“Sonu, why are you pulling Priti’s hair?”
“Come here, come here.”
Dusk falls and they all get up to go home.
“Tomorrow at the same time?” they ask one another.
Gathering up the toys, waterbottles and napkins, they shepherd their charges home.