Monday, January 9, 2017

Baby and Child Care

BABY AND CHILD CARE
A Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

This happened almost 32 years ago – in mid-1985.

I was newly posted as an Instructor (“Directing Staff” – in “Pongo” jargon) at IAT Girinagar Pune – which – in those days – was the premier inter-service technology training institution.

On my very first evening – I set off on a long walk in the beautiful verdant campus nestled in the hills.

On the way – I noticed a pram (perambulator) – with a baby inside.

The baby was around one year old.

The baby was sitting inside the pram.

The pram was unattended.

It was the height of summer – and – the hot sun was shining brightly – directly on the baby.  

Yes – the baby’s face was exposed to the bright sun.

The baby’s face had become red – and – the baby’s eyes were cringed with irritation.

The baby was crying due to discomfort.

I moved the pram into the shade and looked around.

I saw a group of maids chatting nearby.

I called out to them.

A woman came running – it was obvious the she was the “ayah” responsible for looking after the baby.

I admonished the maid for leaving the baby unattended in the hot sun.

Well – “admonish” may be a mild word – I shouted at the maid and gave her a severe scolding for neglecting her duties and leaving the baby all alone in the hot sun.

I told the maid to take the baby home – and I waited – till the maid walked away with the pram.

Thereafter – I proceeded on a long evening walk.

On the way back – I stopped off the Officers’ Mess Library to browse magazines – then – I had a couple of drinks in the Bar.

I returned home in “high spirits” at around 8 PM.

The door was open.

I walked in.

I saw a beautiful woman sitting inside holding a baby in her arms.

I recognized the baby.

So – this was the mother of the baby who I had rescued from the hot sun.

I thought the lady had come to thank me for my good deed.

But – that lady had not come to thank me.

She was annoyed with me and she had come to caution me.

“Why did you shout at my maid…?” the lady asked me angrily.

“Your “ayah” had left the baby all alone in the hot sun…” I said.

“There was no need to shout at my maid…”

“But – your baby was crying – your baby was feeling uncomfortable in the hot sun – and your maid was chatting away…”

“That’s none of your business – it is my baby and I will see what to do. Do you know – all because of you – my maid so upset that she is threatening to leave…?”

“You should sack her for being negligent in her duties and not looking after your baby properly…”

“You want me to sack my maid…? And what should I do…? Should I quit my job and sit at home all day to look after my child…?”

I was about to say “Yes” – when my wife came out of the kitchen carrying a tray with two cups of coffee.

My wife motioned me to remain silent.

The lady kept her baby on the sofa beside her – and she said to my wife: “Please tell your husband not to shout at my maid again. I have a full-time job – I leave my house at 9 in the morning and come back after 6 in the evening – I am totally dependent on my maid for looking after my baby – so – if my maid quits – I will be in a big problem – I am sure you know how difficult it is to get a full-time maid…”

I wanted to tell the lady – “Why don’t you quit your job and look after your baby yourself”

But – it seemed that my wife had guessed what I wanted to say – so – my wife was signaling to me to keep my mouth shut.

My wife said to the lady: “I am sorry for the trouble – in future – my husband will mind his own business…”  

I went inside.

When I came out – the lady with the baby had left.

“She is a funny woman – her maid was neglecting the baby and had kept the pram in the hot sun – I did a good deed by scolding the maid – and – instead of thanking me – the baby’s mother is annoyed with me…” I said to my wife.

“Try to understand – she is a “career woman” – she has to work full-time all-day at the office – so – she needs someone to look after her baby…” my wife said.

“Why do women have babies if they don’t want to look after them…?” 

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
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