As soon as we moved in, we got to know from one of the neighbours that swimming classed were going to commence for kids. We immediately got Mantam registered, bought them swimming costumes, caps and glasses. Abbas used to accompany them to the pool and while he would watch the instructors teach, he made mental notes and later practised over the weekends. Mantam had a blast chilling in the pool during the peak sunny weather. R Aunty (the nanny) was a blessing in disguise. There was no need to instruct her on anything, she took over all the household activities like a piece of cake. She would even go the extra mile to clean the suction plates of chimney, make Idli batter and offer Mantam to prepare Upma or dosas for their evening snacks as against the usual fruits, biscuits etc they were used to. As we began going to the park in the evenings, Mantam gradually developed a social network of their own and I found a friend in S (AJ mom) who would also bring her kids A & J to the park around the same time.
Once we settled down after unpacking and setting things up in proper places, we started planning for Mantam’s birthday in June. Now that Mantam had a whole bunch of friends within the apartment, they could finally have guests of their choice. Their birthday went extremely well and the guests and the hosts enjoyed equally well. We were still on a high after the successful party and everything seemed hunky dory from the home, work and Mantam’s school perspective. Just then my manager (who had referred R aunty initially) informed me that she heard from someone in the apartment that R aunty’s ex-employers were pleading her to join them back by offering more salary and that she had agreed to go back in July. I was in a state of shock!! It was already mid-June and if she truly had such plans, wasn’t she supposed to inform us before hand? I decided to confront Aunty after reaching home.
When I asked her if what I had heard was true, she said that she had plans to go back but she would do so only when we found a replacement. I asked her why she didn’t think it important to inform us about her decision? To this, her explanation was that she had already started hunting for a replacement and would have informed us when she would have found one. I found it very lame and in that heated moment, I told her that she could stick to her plans of joining there from July 1st and that we would make alternate arrangements. We informed one of our acquaintances who was Mantam’s previous school’s van driver to find a nanny for us as he stayed in the same area. His wife (M) was ready to join and we readily agreed as we knew this man from 3 years and he was absolutely trust worthy.
Although we got a replacement for R aunty pretty easily, M did not even have 5% of the qualities that she had. In contradiction to R aunty’s proactive and enthusiastic approach to work, M was very laid back and did her assigned task for the sake of completion. I had to instruct her on every trifle matter yet I would have to redo a lot of her work. She lacked common sense to an extent that Mantam had more of it than her. This quality of hers became such a pain that I was utterly fed up. I wished I sent Mantam to daycare and did all the work myself rather than having to deal with this lady. Abbas would calm me down and advise to have more patience and teach her things slowly. It took almost 2-3 months for her to come up to the mark (the expectations from her were fairly low) But by the time she had become more proficient with the household tasks, a fresh problem had cropped up. Mantam and M had started having arguments and disagreements among themselves. I had to provide counseling over the phone from work to settle disputes. We would separately have talks with M and Mantam to understand their concerns and advise them to be more considerate for the other. But the next day at work would find me providing on-call support yet again.
M went to her hometown during Dusshera for 3 weeks and brought a young girl as her substitute. Again teaching this girl each and every thing was a pain, but atleast I was relieved when M came back. In November one Friday Mantam’s school was off and they were at home the entire day. When I returned from work, Mantam told me that an uncle had come home that day. When I inquired more about what he did, Mannu said that he sat on the sofa and talked to M aunty. Without wasting a second, I dialled M’s number Me – “Who had come home today?”
M – “My father”
Me – “Why?”
M – “I met him on the street. So called him home”
Me – “Howcome you happened to go to the street? Mantam were at home today.”
M – “I meant to say that I was in the balcony and happened to see my dad on the street”
Me – “Ok. But why did he come home?”
M – “To see”
Me – “To see what?”
M – “To see the house”
Me – “In future, please do not let anyone enter our home in our absence. If you want to bring any of your folks home, bring them when we are around. I know it was your father, but atleast you could have informed me that he had come”
M – “But he didn’t even enter the house. I spoke to him outside the main door”
Me – “Ok, fine we’ll talk about it tomorrow” and hung up
And guess what? She stopped coming to work from the very next day without informing. Thus started the hunt for next nanny. After hundreds of phone calls, our apartment security guard referred R. She joined form December and is currently with us and I am ever so grateful to M for that episode. R is a gem of a lady, Mantam are beyond elated to have her around. We even gave her the house keys when we went on vacation. She looked after the birds, plants, and the house. She even bought veggies, changed bedsheets, cleaned the water filter the day we returned. I couldn’t ask for more after a tiring train journey. Hope she sticks on with us!!
I started writing about the new home and digressed to write about the nannies! Will write more about Mantam’s activities in the next post!