Scenario- Sunday afternoon, kids finally taking their afternoon nap. Nobody home. I inform maid that I am going to have a bath.
I locked the kid's clothes cupboard and placed the key in one of the lamp of Ganesh idol well above the reach of the kids.
By the time I finished, the kid had woken up and was creating a racket. I called for the maid and realised that instead of following the kids to the bathroom, her voice came from the other part of the house, possibly the next room, the bathroom window of which faces my bathroom window. I found it odd but paid no attention.
We immediately went out to give Duggi a walk near the back garden. By the time hubby returned and I came in to open the door. The maid came in and told me she is going home. I watched her leave as usual.
Then I went to pick up the cupboard key to get the kids changed for an outing. Key missing. I searched a few places and could not find it.
Conclusion- the maid has taken it.
I looked in another cupboard and found the till then missing duplicate right in front under their powder box- by luck or design I don't know.
I opened the cupboard and found one of their red T-shirts which I had kept inside on Friday missing. Luckily I found it stuffed inside the baby bag. My guess is she wanted to wait for a few days and if we forget about it, she could flick it. And moreover she did not have a bag that day to stuff it in.
The next day I looked her straight in the eye and said- give me the key. If you give it to me I will not speak a word of it. If you have taken it home, send your husband (who is an employee of the security agency on contract in our complex and is staitioned on our gate) and get the key from your house. Or else I will tell your husband's office that his family is not to be trusted. Infact as a representative of the association, I had signed the contract for security so they would definitely entertain my words. As expected she denied even knowing that I had locked it. I gave her avenues to redeem herself saying go to the bathroom and check of you have dropped it so that if she has hidden it in her sari, she can take it out and give it. I left her alone in the kids' room so that she gets a chance to pretend she found it under the bed. She never complied. Infact the first place where she looked was the place I had by chance found the duplicate. I wrote the riot act and gave her lots of pieces of my mind explicitly telling her that my house is not a free for all- whoever wants anything- just take it- whether it is edible, valuable or not been used for long. Atleast once a month I go through the pain of searching something that is missing or misplaced. She has the habit storing up my kids' good clothes in the cupboard which is accessible to her, hoping that once it is out of sight, it is out of mind and then she can conveniently take it away. She never denied the fact that she nicks stuff. The whole day she pretended that she is looking for the key in various places. She promised that she would find the key for me. I told her, I never asked anyone about my bracelet because I am not sure where it is. But the key- I know you have taken it so you will have to give it to me.
The status on Tuesday- She found the key next to the microwave under the extra garbage bags/milk bag etc that I keep there. She doesn't know that I had done a thorough search the previous day over there. But keeping my bit of the bargain, I did not mention the key again to her.