All of us know them. Whether it is a wedding, a funeral or a birthday party there they will be asking questions, making oh-so-helpful suggestions and gathering information to file away for future reference - aunties!
It may start innocently enough. But don't be fooled by their innocent questions - otherwise you may regret it.
6:05 by the chaat table
Aunty Jan: Beta, how are doing? And how many rozas did you keep?
Bobby: Just kept a few. I fell sick one week before Eid and missed a few.
Aunty Jan: Oho! You must take care of your health. Get well soon. Say my salaam to your mother. You must eat healthy food and sleep well.
6:10 by the chocolate fountain
Aunty Jan: Have you heard?
Aunty Begum: Heard what?
Aunty Jan: Haaye! I can't even say it! Laali's son, Bobby does not keep fasts anymore! He just skipped them so conveniently. Haaye haaye. What would his dear naani say? I am tau bas too worried he would straight away go to hell.
Aunty Begum: Oh no! Tauba tauba! Is that so? He is a big sinner. I must tell Paashu that we will not have them to tea. I can't have heathens dirtying the Wedgewood.
Aunty Jan's enterprising network has spread the word from aunty to aunty - adding some more masala and color to the original conversation each time the tale is told. Bobby had no idea that a simple conversation could land him in so much trouble. They are like a walking talking local twitter. However, all conversation are not so innocent. Some aunties go straight for the kill.
Bibi Aunty: So, beta, what do you do?
Annoyed Girl: I recently finished my studies.
Bibi Aunty: Mashallah! Mashallah! So, are you married?
Annoyed Girl: Yes, I am.
BiBi Aunty: Oh. Mashallah! Tell me beta, how many kids do you have?
Annoyed Girl: None yet but we are both so young that we decided -
Bibi Aunty: Oh my God! Why don’t you and your husband visit a doctor? You must go for a physical check up. I can recommend an excellent gynecologist. My bechari niece she was childless too. But then she had her treatment and now look at her four fat babies! You should pray for yourself. You should ask your husband to pray as well.
These session can go on unless the person Bibi Aunty is talking to makes a quick get away. It’s not only married girls who are attacked. though Aunties feel like they have a great deal of wisdom to offer the unemployed as well.
BiBi Aunty: So, beti, what do you do?
Graduate Girl: I just graduated from college and am looking for a job.
BiBi Aunty: Well, I saw an ad of a bank in the newspaper yesterday. Why don’t you apply there?
Graduate Girl: I did, but they need someone with experience and references.
BiBi Aunty: Why don’t you work in some NGO? My niece is working for one and they are paying her very well.
Graduate Girl: (sarcastically) Oh my god! You are so right! Of course why didn't I think of that? Sure, thats what I will do.
If aunty's are good at anything it is suggesting - everything from prayers to jobs. But while aunty deaerest is is good at offering suggestions she should also offer disclaimers that she knows nothing about the job market. She only follows perceptions and assumptions. If something was good for her nephews and nieces, she thinks it must be good for everyone.
They keep offering stupid and useless advice. Auntys can get away with asking the most inappropriate and disrespectful questions. Has someone's daughter eloped? Aunty is here to investigate. They will discuss everyones personal lives even grown women who have families of their own.
At weddings they may accost mothers.
Aunty Khala: Arey! This is your daughter?
Worried Mom: Yes, she is.
Aunty Khala:: The apple certainly fell far from the tree. You are still so lovely. Your skin is milky white and glowing - why doesn't you daughter look like you? Is she married?
Worried Mom: No
Aunty Khala: I know a very reliable matchmaker! There is a lady in this mohallah, I forget the name but she is supposed to do wonders for even the most unlikely candidates. I will find her number and give it to you. Go and meet her. I pray for your daughter. I wish that she gets a very nice person. These days one can’t trust people too much. I pray for every girl these days. I pray that they get settled at the right time. After all who will want them when they are older than twenty-five?
Aunty's don't just pick on us girls though. At times, when they see a good-looking young man in some function, our aunty will investigate. The question answer session will slowly evolve according to the aunty's requirements.
It will start with: "what’s going on these days?” quickly followed up “what are your plans for the future?” If the candidate is worthy of further investigation comes “where do you work?” and then the inevitable “any plans to get married?”
A clever aunty knows how to reel in her bait - she will ask boys or girls to fetch them a cold drink or some food and then attack.
Some investigative aunties display more tact. Instead of approaching the target they strike an elder sister.
Info Aunty: So you are just two siblings? Where does your brother work? How much does he earn? How much do you earn? What does your brother do? What are his qualification? What is your qualification? How long has he has been working? Why didn’t he go abroad? Why doesn’t he go to UK?
When aunties get together they can be pure evil - even if it as a funeral.
BiBi Aunty: Haaye! I am so sad that she is no more. She was my best friend. Why was she living in this house - it looks like a rats nest?
Aunty Begum: May she rest in peace. She just never paid for a full time maasi. I swear I can't breathe with all this dust. They are the cheapest people I know!
Aunty Khala:You know, na, that her elder daughter ran off to marry some boy of her own choice?
Info Aunty: Haan haan! I know. Sahmeful behavior. This elite class of people is just disgusting - no moral fibre! All their children are the same. They party and even drink.
Aunty Begum: Thank God, my children are not like that.
BiBi Aunty: I pray that all the children are safe from such evils. We must train our children to be good, upstanding citizens - just like us!
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