Friday, November 26, 2010

Saving The Aunties

Being called 'Mom' is way better than being called an 'Aunty'. In fact Mom is as positive a moniker as Aunty is a negative one. While Mom conjures up images of loveable, respectworthy, and nice, Aunty brings to mind a plump, interfering and obnoxious figure. This is mailny because (Indian) films and ads portray the Aunty as a crude, criticising or match-making busybody. So much so that, the Indian habit of showing respect by using the A word has turned into one of disrespect. So my shock at being called Aunty is not age-related, but image-related

One of the biggest compliments I got as a teacher was when a sixth standard student accidentally referred to me as Mamma. It was as if an honour had been bestowed. Whereas being called Aunty, leaves one cold. The other day I read a post by a young lady that did some aunty-bashing.The writer assumes that an aunty assumes that a young person is arrogant, perverse and slutty if she speaks English, goes to work and has male friends home to fix the taps. This is probably how all youngsters typecast Aunties. I think of each Aunty in my acquaintance, and try to check her against the prototype given above. None matches. It's too bad that we cannot live up to the expectations.

Now is when I express my apology to all the women that I called Aunty for the last twenty years and all the men that I called Uncle, too. And a word to youngsters: Wipe that smile off your face; youll be there before you know it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Priceless Surprises

In life, as in art, surprises break the tedious lack of variety. If it weren’t for them we’d chaff under the boredom of routine. Surprises are nice when they are pleasant, like when a tail end not-so-great batsman scores a century for your team - leaving you thrilled or when you find an old student’s comment on your post and feel a warm glow in your cardiac area. They can be overwhelming, as when your present student gifts you a Chanel perfume or when you find a 10 KD note tucked away in an old handbag.

Some surprises are so predictable. Don’t you feel distinctly unexcited on being given a cake again for your birthday just like last year……… and every other year? It’s like a poet put it, “Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!” It is strange because the absence of the cake might just leave you disappointed. The mind is a strange thing. It craves novelty – at least mine does. Which is why I feel at loss when asked what I’d like as a gift. How would I know? However I do prefer being asked rather than be given some electronic gadget over which I have to feign excitement. (I think I should correct and say that the female mind is a strange thing.)

The element of surprise and creativity are great in a marriage. It isn’t only the love notes in the lunchbox variety. As the couple settle into familiarity that borders on routine or contempt(can’t say which is worse), the ability to surprise (still) with a teasing smile or even a rare flare of temper can make some waves that offer respite from a deadly inertia. Opening the door to find your not-hirsute-anymore husband do a dance step for you might seem silly, but the shared humor and memory could be a strong building block.

Of course, there are the nasty ones too – like when a married, 26 year old girl addresses you as ‘Aunty’ and you turn around to see who the aging person is and then realize it is you yourself – that’s a nasty surprise, a terrible shock actually. The only consolation is that she calls your husband ‘Uncle’.

Now you know what trigered this post. Humph