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Cover Story

Get their paperwork in order

A very small section of urban people are changing their attitudes towards house helps but its growing. Partly because domestics are slowly coming to realise their worth and so are negotiating better. And partly because in new nuclear families, people have no option but to be dependent upon, and trust their domestics more and more - and with that trust, naturally, comes respect, affection and investment of both time and money. 

My cook/housekeeper is like a mother-in-law. She brought my husband up, and so she can end every argument with a triumphant 'don't talk too much you, I've seen you running around pantless'. Her name is Ephrozine (Eppa) Matthias and she loves my children with a fierce possessive passion. I don't know about 'space' because she doesn't seem to relish it but she loves holidays. Last year, she travelled with us to Australia (where my folks live) and went on all the scary rides on the Gold Coast theme parks.

My mother-in-law took her to Israel on a pilgrimage last year. She's very bossy and cranky and talks incessantly and is very, very difficult to live with but she is also totally awesome. She gives all of us Rs 1, 000 on our birthdays.
My younger girl, Rekha, has been with us for five years now (which is very unusual as everybody before her ran away screaming because Eppa was so bossy. ) She's sweet, silent, strong and superb. She also has a driver's learner's licence. I think the best thing you can do for your help is get their paperwork in order - passport, voter ID etc. And get their medical done once a year as well.

- Anuja Chauhan, author of 'Those Pricey Thakur Girls'

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