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The Coterie
by The Man from Matunga (MFM)

I have just finished doing a head-count of the people involved in taking care of the twins; I'll call them Maya and Mann now instead of GFM and BFM.

The Mother:

The Father:
Not so obvious, but helps whenever possible.

The Maid:

A full-time young girl who looks after the two devotedly. She joined three months before the delivery so that she would adjust to the house and WFM, which she thankfully did. She now helps WFM in cleaning the twins, taking care of the diapers, bottle-feeding them and generally taking care of the house. She is so indispensable that when one day she decided to take an evening and night off after giving advance notice, I was told a week in advance to keep myself free and available.

She was the fifth one though. The first one came for a day, the second did not turn up, the third negotiated a higher price with the neighbors and we didn't like the fourth one.

Tanushri, on Sulekha, in her new piece, sarcastically narrates an incident where her mother's friend decides to have her second child solely because she now has a permanent, full-time maid. It may seem funny at that age (Tanushri is 18), but rarely does life walk a straight line.

The Cook:

Someone's got to cook and with the twins, it cannot be WFM. Though WFM's MIL (mother-in-law) is around, she's not too keen to cook either.

We employed a cook eight months ago, so that he could get used to us. He is from Rajasthan, apparently from a community of cooks (his brother, cousins, village friends are all cooks). A good guy, though his idea of good food is to douse everything in oil and spices, so that every dish tastes the same. Over a period of time, he has toned down his taste to match ours and has even learnt Indian versions of Thai, Chinese and Italian cooking, etc. But, in the last six months, he has been back to his village at least four times for a total of about two months, because someone or the other has popped it; at least that's his excuse. Come to think of it, he doesn't have too many people left now who he can claim are leaving this world.

He carries his passport with him everywhere in the hope that someone from the UK or US will take him there as a personal cook.

The House-Maid

Apart from the maid who takes care of the twins, we have a maid who takes care of the house. She is the one who cleans the floor, washes the clothes (yes, she knows how to use the washing machine), washes the dishes (no, we don't have a dishwasher) and does miscellaneous work.


He is needed to drive one of the cars and to be around to help WFM go from one place to another, especially when she wants to go to the market or to her mother's place. He also runs small errands, transporting people and parcels from one place to another.

Grand-Parents - I

They are desperately needed to take care of the kids when we are going mad. Grandmother is ever willing to hold them. Grandfather comes home from work late in the evening and from then on is constantly with them. After dinner, both the grandparents spend time with the twins, giving WFM and me some sorely needed private moments.

Grand-Parents - II (WFM's parents)

They stay a five-minute drive away and are always available. The first two months were spent at their house, as part of our tradition where the mother stays at her parents' house for the first few months. They are amazingly doting and will give up whatever they are doing to be there for the twins and us.

And you really thought it was "double mazaa aur kum daam" (twice the fun at half the cost)? Maybe twice the fun, but half the cost? Forget it!


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