28 November, 2020

Susie Is Home

They look after the kids, and more. Indian au pairs are the new flavour in American homes.

Susie Is Home
Room With A View
  • Au pairs get a weekly stipend of $139, with weekends off
  • Employers finance their studies, up to about $500
  • They're entitled to own room and bathroom with phone, Net access
  • Au pairs are expected to work no more than 45 hours a week


"Would you like to go to the United States?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied, without a thought.

That's no line from an M&B novel—nor even a headhunter lassoing in a potential recruit. But it's no less life-altering for that. This

brief telephone call turned the universe around for 22-year-old Elizabeth Seema Manuel. A talk with her father that finally saw her 15,000 km away from her hometown, the sleepy port-city of Kochi, to where she is now—in Hudsonville, Michigan. It's a family conversation, replayed ever so often in Indian homes of late, that signals the onset of a delicate process that involves separation, exile and a whole new...


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