A few days ago, a colleague's mother was drugged by their young maid. The young girl stole a substantial amount of money from the house. My colleague's 10 month-old son was spending the night at his grandmother's that night. While the grandmother lay unconscious, the baby was left completely unattended for almost 13 hours!!
Notified by the panicking househelp who arrived in the morning to find the newspaper on the doormat and the doorbell unanswered, my colleague and her husband had to break into the apartment, to find her mother unconscious and the baby sitting on the bed, patting his grandmother.
It appears that the maid had drugged the food or drink that was served at Iftar - apparently only my colleague's mother's portions because the driver and househelp had also shared the same Iftar and suffered no ill effects. After the two old staffers left, the young maid had the place to herself and she ransacked it for cash and jewelry. She left the house soon after, telling the security guards that she had been sent on a shopping errand. And that if course, was the last anyone saw of her.
In my colleague's words: "I don't think I can ever explain the horror that went through my head during that 7 minute ride from my place to Amma's. I seriously thought I had lost the two most important people in my life. We broke open the balcony door and found my mother lying unconscious on the bed and my son wide awake, patting her on her hands. it was as if Amol was watching over his Nani. "
It must have been a sight of sheer horror but at the same time, a testament of something supernatural. For 13 hours - throughout the evening and night and early morning, a 10 month old baby was completely by himself, and a hundred mishaps could have befallen him, but he had not a scratch on him. For 13 hours a 50 plus woman with heart condition lay drugged, but did not suffer a stroke or pass into a coma.
The family is totally traumatised, shaking from disaster narrowly averted. Sad to say, crimes like this are on the rise. After relating this incident to family and friends, I heard of many similar cases, and worst ones. We need to be very careful of who we let into our houses, espcially with today's urban life of nuclear families and strangers for neighbours. Please make sure your househelp comes on solid reference (in this instance, the maid was recommended by a very close relative of the family who gave the impression that she was well known to them. After the incident they are now saying that they did not actually know her properly). Please take the contact details and photographs of your househelp and register it with your nearest police station. Nowadays, most everyone has a national ID card, so please keep a photocopy. Evem with the highest security at the building entrances, we are still vulnerable to attacks from those within the building. It's probably a horribly mean thing to suggest, especially during Ramadan, but please don't place your trust blindly in anyone.
Let's try to be on guard, and keep our families safe.