Aani ma

When I was less than a year old, my mom decided to go back to work. She worked as a teacher at a nearby school. She would have loved to stay back longer with me but circumstances did not offer her that 'luxury'. There were not too many good nurseries around that time so she was hard pressed to find a maid/ nanny to look after me. The story of how she met and decided on this person never fails to amaze me, even after all these years.

My mom had been looking for a suitable person for weeks but never found one. Finally the day before she had to join the school arrived. There was literally nobody to look after me. My mom stood out in the balcony wondering what she could possibly do, when she saw a young girl, with wild hair looked a bit scruffy at the gate. Something made my mom call out to the girl.The girl, incidentally was looking for a job herself and was very keen to take up the role of a nanny. She had never done this kind of job earlier, was about 16 years old but I guess something about her appealed to my mother. She was asked to take a good shower, comb her hair and come to work at 7 the next day. The girl duly took up the role and turned out to be someone I adored. But when I think about how hard it would have been for my mom to take the decision of literally picking someone off the streets to look after me, my own childcare woes seem insignificant.

I called the maid 'Aani' and there is even a faded picture of her holding me while my mom and sister smile at the camera. Aani eventually fell off our first floor apartment. But that is a story for another day.

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