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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Remembering the Ides of March

She came to me when my first born was just about an year and a half old. I wanted the lil one to spend some time away from me ( or was it that I wanted some time away from her? It matters not a wee bit now) and so spread the word around that i was looking for a two hour nanny for the baby- someone who could take her out in the pram ,or to the park. Poonam appeared one November morning, almost out of nowhere,and took the baby in her arms. No questions were asked from either side. It seemed  from the first day that she had always been with me. She was young- a young bride from Calcutta; a very Parineeta looking Bengali girl ; the same cotton saree with  red border ; blouse with puffed sleeves , long plait snaking till almost her hips , kohl ed eyes and sin door . The baby was entranced by the blazing red on her forehead and would forever be trying to touch it. Poonam's sindoor came back to haunt me many a times because even  when the baby  grew up she remembered the sindoor and would look at me wistfully, hoping to see the red in my hair parting.   Every morning Poonam would come at the dot of nine and the duo would go off for their jaunt to the park. Exactly an hour later they would come back. The same routine was repeated in the evening.
Two years passed. Poonam by now was a mother too, to Piya. Her charge had joined kindergarden and was busy with school, newly made friends in the colony etc.  and so Poonam had started working in the house . Her work was perfect (till now I am looking for a maid who can do dusting like she did !) and she was meticulous about being on time. I was happy.

Some more years passed. There had been an addition to Poonam's family- she  had a son Rahul, whom she doted on. Time always wrecks changes - she was now fat ; the bengali sarees had been stowed away in the trunk which she had brought from Calcutta and she now wore the dress of Dehi-shalwar-kameez. Her work was good, not perfect , and she had acquired a temper .  I was a silent spectator to the changes , preferring to be quiet and uninvolved ( remember the dusting ! ).

Spring was in the March air . The husband and I were enjoying our morning cuppa on the terrace . I had just spotted a beautiful bird  (  very small ,red tailed ) and was calling out to the children to come running for a dekho. Just then I saw Piya standing at the gate . My blood turned cold.  Something in her face told me that the life of the teenager would never be the same . For many, many days -nay even now-I was/am haunted by the grief and loneliness on the girl's face.

Poonam had run away in the dark of the night with her neighbour . She had taken her son with her. She never came back.


  1. Everyone longs for a deep relationship... Your Poonam found it, let's hope.

  2. Hi Tomichan:) True everyone wants a perfect relationship, but since everything is relative I don't know if any of us ever find what we are looking for, or are satisfied with what we have- leading to many Poonam type incidents. What say?

  3. Yes, Ramita. It left me very saddened.

  4. Came across your blog as I was browsing the Internet. As I neared the end of this post my stomach began to sink. People who work for us become a part of our lives and we feel so connected to them, whether we like it or not. This is such a sad ending to what seems to have been a beautiful relationship otherwise.

    1. Chaitali- it feels so nice to have you 'visiting' my blog:) Yes, the incident is something that saddens me to this day- and I very often wonder about Poonam's - and equally often wonder what made her take the step....