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The Expat Life

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Womenlines welcomes its first Shutterbugs Guest Influencer Gunjan Swarup, founder of  The Wishbone Affair for photography in Singapore, at Womenlines.

Enjoy the wonderful thoughts sharing by Gunjan and lovely series captured by her of beautiful, talented, hardworking women who come to our home as helpers in Singapore-


When Charu shared with me her idea of this series on women photographers, I was excited, to say the least. Not just because this focus on strong women in their sphere of influence but it also was willing to bring to the forefront some hidden, undiscovered heroes. My last series was on ‘motherhood’, something which I hold extremely close to my heart – which, though, has not given identity to my existence but has added another beautiful, deep dimension to my life. Today, I write about another set of beautiful, talented, hardworking women, without whom a lot of our lives would be incomplete or not as easy. I write about the wonderful women who come to our home as helpers.

In the truest sense of the word, they are an extension to the family. In most of our homes, we trust them with our most priceless beings – our children, and there is no other trust which extends beyond this for a parent, that of one to let your child be handled by someone else for a few hours or days. It doesn’t stop just there, because these women come from far and wide leaving behind their own families and loved ones to take care of ours, just like it was their own. When I meet these women, they often have heartwarming or heartbreaking stories of their own to tell, but it often gets lost in their work. Some come from broken homes, some are a single parent working here to raise children behind at home, some are looking after aged parents behind, some are escaping their own difficult situations back… but what binds them here is not just the money but the feeling that they have found another home away from theirs.

As an expat, away from familiar territory and a first-time mother, I was extremely wary of letting my child away from me and be handled by someone else. I was on a sabbatical from work when I had my first child and chose to take care of him myself. I did have a helper assist me with everything else around the house but childcare. I was not in a rush to get back to work and therefore it worked perfectly for me. But what with so many of us who don’t have that option? I didn’t think too much of it, till I got another helper. My child was a little over 1 and we were expecting another one. It became imperative that I had someone in the house who I could trust my babies with and luckily we found one. Oh, The Joy! She struck a chord with my elder one from the first day and then there was no looking back and when you can trust these helps babies with another person, there is no other thing which you can’t.

I’ve come to deeply appreciate, value and love what these women bring into our families. They care for our needs and comforts, sometimes at the cost of theirs. They look after our children and homes like they are theirs. They give up on their weekends sometimes, to makes room for ours. They stay away from their family so that we can be with our comfortably. They share, love and give and all that they want is the same respect, love and care.

So this series is for those wonderful women, who make our lives easier and simpler and happier.
Thank You! You are the unsung heroes of a lot of our lives
Gunjan Swarup
On a sabbatical from the corporate world, mother to two boys, freelance photographer, blogger.

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