Wealth brings servants, and much nervousness in India

Amelia Gentleman in International Herald Tribune.

New Delhi: Aruna Kapoor had been having servant trouble for some time. She fired one man for drunkenness, and she lost a second when he decided to start up a roadside tea stall. So she was thrilled when Shankar, a young man from Nepal, knocked on her door in early January and offered his services as a cook. She hired him on the spot.

Five days later, he prepared a dinner of two kinds of vegetable curry, lentil dal and a sweet rice pudding, known as kir. The food was laced copiously with sleeping tablets, doctors said later, and shortly after the meal Aruna, 65, lay down on the sofa and passed out. Her husband, Harish, a retired advertising executive, 72, collapsed over his plate at the table. The dog, Striker, and their daughter, Sumita, were also drugged. All four were found, still unconscious, the following morning.

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