Nannies and Parents

See that little baby in the arms of a beggar? See those eyes looking blankly? He has been sedated. He has been rented out. He could be your child.

This is a real case and it happened in Bangalore, the city touted as the IT capital of India.

A seven-month-old baby of a working couple who relied on their ayah—recruited from an employment agency, and hence thought to be above board—was used for beggary. The unscrupulous nanny would pack off the tiny tot with beggars for Rs 100 a day, while she settled down to a quiet afternoon in front of the TV set.

Begging is big business here and in some cities doctors help amputate limbs to make the emotional blackmail more potent. Children are often kidnapped. These are usually from poor families.

This time an educated couple is in the forefront. The mother who worked for a multinational company returned home to find her son missing. The nanny audaciously told her that he too was out on work. For three weeks this had been going on. Several questions need to be raised about the work culture and careerism. I don’t see why a woman has to give up everything once a baby is born, but biologically a child needs the mother more at this stage. As long as women are the only ones who can reproduce – and for now we will leave out the experiments of pregnant men – then there is some responsibility to be shouldered. The father can attend to other chores, if a woman feels she does not want to be left with role-playing, but her duty is towards the baby. A man does not produce milk.

This lady had obviously weaned the infant away, but there are other dimensions. Why do cities that boast of getting ahead in life not have basic facilities? Can offices not have special baby rooms if they have rooms that lie vacant for weeks until there is some special conference? Why are there not enough crèches run by accredited organisations that will take responsibility?

Nuclear families are important because it helps new families grow up. However, I am sure a parent of the parents or a relative would be happy to help. Since there is a lot of movement to other cities, it is possible that no family members is around. I am afraid this won’t appeal to a one-track feminist mind but I think the woman can take a few months off or work from home. In this information age where you rarely meet people, it is not a far-fetched idea. When the child is slightly older the father can swap roles to make things on par, if it is of such importance, though I wonder how women who cannot trust men with their kitchens, would trust them with a baby…

This couple is moving abroad, and it must have been planned earlier. They are not filing a police case and want to remain anonymous. I can understand their hesitation. But one nanny losing a job from one organisation won’t solve the issue. I dread to think what would happen had the child been a girl. This is not to say that a boy cannot be abused sexually. A girl is just so much more vulnerable.

A seven-month old has been the victim not only of a greedy nanny but of the new social mores that have canonised go-getting. The couple too is a victim. We all are and the only way out is to out our rusting new ideas.


  1. fv,
    you are so right...
    about parents i wonder whether they are victims only or perpetrators of a crime against a hapless child by relegating their most precious member to the custody of lowly paid woman of low morals, in an effort to attain better standard of life..
    while they are ready to deny the basic environment of love of a mother to that litle baby...
    to top it they do not want justice for their child...so remain anonymous and allow another nanny in another part the same privilege of abusing the child.
    i think only victim is the child...
    ps: these warnings are appearing regularly in media, papers.

  2. FV,
    I read the report in the paper and I was also socked and annoyed ....shocked at not that the maid leased the child out , shocked at the fact the mother and father had no idea...and they "outsourced" their child's upbringing to a maid in her teens who is struggling with her own dillemas in life . On the issue of having children, my views may be a lil different, lets look at basic fact on why we want to have children (or child as it is the fab thing these days)...first most people have children because it is "standard" thing to do in a marriage, one more check box item in the list of To dos in life...some have it for taking the family name forward which is plain BS...they replicate more morons like them ....some for gender ...which is my view is a bigger criminal offence than genocide ...i know of so called well educated professionals who have third attempt at a child because .they had only two daughters ...they misuse ultrasound more than illterate folks...
    Parenthood is an experience which one should committ time, effort and a substantial part of their life to...these parents (not the mom alone) obviously thought of parenthood as one more LCD TV purchase....I recently had a conversation with a colleague who was more worried about her stretch marks and her breasts and providing her nanny with a cell phone ...I wish there was a prequalifying test for being a parent ..
    We are replicating like rabbits and ignoring this huge issue..

  3. Parents are culprits,society cannot be responsible for every behavior.Poor people are begging everyday but only because this case is of rich people it gets importance

  4. Mash:

    Years ago when I was in college and my littlest cousin in school I had gone to their house only to find her in one corner with a big bowl of chips; her nanny was in the balcony with her boyfriend behind the door. I shooed him off, but since he was the local goon I could not walk that lane alone again for long. I was livid with my aunt, who was not even a working woman, and had gone out for a while.The only positive that came out was that she did not leave her with an untrustworthy person again.


    Your views on procreation are so right. Oh, I do know women who have caesarian section deliveries only to make it less painful or to time with the birthday of their favourite god or hero.

    Btw, ultrasound goes on without any care quite routinely, and educated people still have problems with the girl child only family.

    There is also a lot of pressure to produce children even from the peer group. I guess they all want as you say clones of their kind.


    You are right this case has been highlighted, and about time too. It must have been a silent problem for long.

  5. fv,
    The only positive that came out was that she did not leave her with an untrustworthy person again....
    children shouldnt be left with even trustworthy people for too long...
    human race is yet to come to grips with the concept of trustworthiness...

  6. Mash:

    This is so cynical:) In personal life I believe in blind trust till betrayal follows. Then I can write poetry...

  7. cynical?? its practical...and conclusions have been arrived at based on readings of history, fiction , non fiction and autobiographies...

    dushmanon main hota to shayad bachh bhee jata,
    kyun doston main chhod aaya main use..
    i donot know the name of shayar who said it...magar tha koi samajhdar.

  8. It cannot be across the board, Mash.

    "Woh meraa dost hai saare jahaan ko hai maaluum
    daGaa kare woh kisi se to sharm aaye mujhe" (Qateel Shifai)

    This is the pinnacle of faith:) Agar dushman hota tau parwaah hoti nahin.

  9. pinnacle of faith...
    dost hee dagabaaz hua karte hain..
    hum jaane kyun phir bhi bharosa kiye jaate hain..
    oh i fully agree..nuthing is universal..not even the universe:D
    uske aage ki syaah kaali raat..dhikhai hee nahi deti(pls pardon the incoherence)

  10. Yeh subah kabhi tau aayegi...

  11. Mohtarma,
    Jaanisar Akhtar wrote "woh subah kabhi to aayegi" aur aapen use "yeh" subah bana diya ...sara connotation hee badal gya ...woh aur yeh ...kaafi muktalif hain ...:)
    Sorry for being picky :( dil pe lag gaya tha ...


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