Daily life

Feeding the Aunties

12:22 PM

Your friendly neighbourhood Auntie usually loves gossip, with a possible inch of drama, and will preferably mind your own tulsi put rather than hers, the years I lived in an independent house flat in a quaint little residential neighbourhood taught me that, from the morning until the evening she will dish out the dirt, inform you that your maid should water your plants, even though you like to do it yourself, find a way to peek into your spare room to be horrified that your daughter sleeps in a crib rather than your bed, and thanks to the auntie brigade they will all know that you like to go for a walk in the morning, go grocery shopping by foot when your husband isn’t there, and ask you all type of questions about your diet, life, habits, and question your motherhood practice.  They are both sweet and invasive and some can even be mean, you inevitably end up dreading certain Auntie moments.
These are the one living in your neighbourhood, but there are random aunties occurrences to be mindful of, the one you bump into in a crowd, they often come attracted to you like a magnet to a fridge door because you are or different, or you have a child with you, or possibly both at the same time, I had aunties asking me if my daughter was mine, questioning her Indian name despite my non-indianess, those telling me I should not dress my daughter this way or that way, or in one case an hysterically spastic auntie gesticulating from one end of the coffee shop in my direction trying to explain that my daughter was eating a packet of sugar (that I gave her) and come to me scolding me about how my daughter has something in her mouth when I fail to give her attention, that one left miffed when I told her that yes it was ok I gave it to her…sigh.
And you have the shopping cart investigator auntie, that one spotted you on your lack of desiness, and is practically burning the stuff in your cart with her laser beam stare trying to figure you out, I can only imagine it is done out of curiosity and an urge to confirm certain stereotype about westerner and foods, and usually the more vegetables and pulses you have in your cart the more intent and puzzled the stare on auntie’s face goes. I can only imagine the question in these ladies head : “Does she really eat all that?”, “She must have a cook”, “Or does she? can western women really cook”, ‘Oh she went straight for toor dal, is she knowledgeable or is it just her grabbing whatever?”, “ha ha she has potato chips in her cart…I knew it, they eat junk food all the time!”…who knows, but having been asked a million time about my cooking skills, or been assumed to eat junk food like all foreigners by even certain Doctors, I might not be completely of base.
So anyway this last Saturday DH was working so I decided to head to the supermarket to tackle the “fun grocery” part of the list (leaving the healthy and wholesome for Sunday), so my cart was probably your ultimate stereotypical western junk food fest, I had some candies and chocolate to chalk off my list to finish making Ishita’s Advent calendar, and since PMS is lurking around the corner, I made provisions to tackle the beast: chocolate, nachos, rice cracker, frozen French fires and fry yourself namkeens (which I actually prefer making in the microwave), some trinket toys, some bread and some strawberries and some dry shiitake mushrooms (spot the mistakes???). Needless to say I had a couple of aunties peering into my cart, but not as long as when I have the health stuff in there, it was one glace n me, one glance on the cart, and a noticeable chin raise before she strut her stuff in another aisle leaving for the next auntie room to investigate, it really gave me the feeling of her having this mental monologue “Hmm a western woman, what’s in her cart?” “Namkeens, candies and French fries”, “ha I knew it they can’t cook to save their life, and eat only junk food, tsk tsk tsk”. Fortunately I never had an auntie pass an open comment on my cart, the closest was once eons ago when a lady picked a jar of gherkins (called pickles in US) and turn it around struggling to identify the content and turn to the price tag and and emit a slow barely audible whistle.
But yeah this weekend I probably fed the Aunties gossip material with my “fun grocery shopping trip”, a few years ago that might have bothered me big time, because I would have tried to prove the crazy staring ladies wrong throwing leafy greens by the kg in my cart, but I’ve grown beyond that, if they want to assume I live on an exclusive diet of pre-packaged crap, then be it, I know better and I know from experience that one pack of lays potato chips in a cart of leafy greens and pulses  negates the healthy lot in the eyes of one that want to confirm whatever idiotic preconceived idea they had and aren’t prepared to change.

Wisdom must have gotten to me somehow it seems.

3 comments

  1. India is full of adventure in any sector or any place it full of colour,full culture and busy place.


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  2. cutie3:54 PM

    i like your blog and i loved many of your posts but here i am amused that you think people are really interested to see what you eat ? no one is that free !!!

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  3. That's the thing some of these aunties ARE that free. I had autie neighbours in Bangalore who seemed to be interested in how I water my plants, wondered why I was doing it myself. Same auties commented a few times that they saw me eating a sandwich on my terrace and that it could not be possibly filling, my daily dog walking, outings, were monitored by them, so were my guests as in "Your husband is not there and a male friend came over..." gasp! They knew from the maids what furnitures I had, wondered why I had a kiddie pool, had countless advice about how to eat, how I should communte, how to raise my daughter...and these were the neighbours mind you, yes I had Aunties in supermarkets look at the content of my cart. It amuse me that you think nobody would care, but yes some do, and a disturbing amount of them.

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