Thursday, May 7, 2009


It actually started when I was all of nine. At that tender age, I became a maashi (aunty) to my cousin-sister’s son. His sweetly-lisped “Aunty” was the first trickle of something that has now become a deluge.

In my slim and svelte twenties, when people called me aunty (these cranks were few and far between), I reacted with incredulous raised-eyebrows: “Who are you kidding?”

In my burgeoning early-thirties, I was mortified. “OMG, what’s the matter with me?” Any stray aunty-call would make me start worrying about wrinkles, white hair and waistlines.

[CONFESSION BOX: There are two vegetable vendors near my building. The first one calls me ‘aunty’ and overcharges me. The second one also overcharges me, but calls me ‘bhabi’ (sister-in-law). I scrupulously avoid the former and frequent the latter.]

Aunty-fication, undoubtedly, IS a mortifying process. I used to regard it as the final crossing over into misshapen, melancholic middle-age. There are tons of ads (especially the hair-dye ones) where we see the lady-in-question hyper-ventilate with horror and shudder with shame at being addressed “aunty”. It seems to be the denial of desirability – of youth, beauty and loveliness.

But once I did become an undeniable, full-fledged AUNTY (with a lot of emphasis on the full), once the trickle turned into a deluge, I realized that there are a lot of advantages to aunty-hood as well. This happened a couple of years back, as I entered the mid-thirties (full-blown rather than fulsome).

For starters, I have regained my peace of mind. Resigned to my lifetime membership to the aunty-brigade, the aunty-calls no longer have the power to unnerve, irritate or depress me. If I do raise my eyebrows, it is merely to say, “Oh yeah? So what?”.

I am no longer combative, like a cousin who refuses to respond if people call her “aunty”. Aunty-hood is no more a disaster-zone or an enemy-territory that I am unwilling to enter. I have decided to accept, agree and adapt – the first step being the regaining of my sense of humour about the whole issue.

Aunty-fication has become a liberating experience. No longer do I have to bother about the MALE GAZE (for more on that scintillating subject, see my other blog here). I no longer feel compelled to dress/walk/behave as an object of male scrutiny. Since the males in question hardly notice me (Mumbai has more than its fair share of PYTs and yummy-mummies), I can wear what I want, do what I want, be what I want to be. Without caring two hoots for male approval/approbation. Ah, the freedom of it all!

And I know that when people like me now, it’s for my inner qualities rather than my outer quantities (quantity being the operative word here).

So you see, it is not about sour grapes at all (cross my heart). The aunty diaries are all about the seven steps to attaining nirvana, actually:

What’s your take?


Hip Grandma said...

Ha ha!!That was funny.I had no problem ever at being called aunty.But I do feel wickedly happy when after becoming a g'mom 4 times over, my servant calls me 'didi' and addresses my neighbor who is just a few months older,'chachi'!BTW thanks for your input at my blogspace.

coffeeismypoison said...

I'm at that between didi and aunty :o) but didi is more flattering by far...
good luck wid the polls :) thanks for visiting my blog :) do keep coming!

Pradip Biswas said...

I look much older to my actual age and people called me Dadu(grandpa). I did not resent to it and enjoyed it. But now possibly many people have joined my group and it is either their resentment or the change of tradition Now people call as "Sir"(not Mahasoy or Mosai). This title is such that no one resents. For ladies I hear People call as Madam and Madams smile at that. Good communication skill I suppose.

Lazyani said...

Well, well,well.

I was called an uncle from my college days as I had the habit of giving gyan to all and sundry and I had the good humour to accept it EXCEPT when someone from the ladies section did so.

These days I don't even mind that.

So are we on the same boat Aunty Sucharita?

Lazyani said...

Well, well,well.

I was called an uncle from my college days as I had the habit of giving gyan to all and sundry and I had the good humour to accept it EXCEPT when someone from the ladies section did so.

These days I don't even mind that.

So are we on the same boat Aunty Sucharita?

ugich konitari said...

Aunty is but a step towards the Ultimate Goal ....

Thats the "Aji" stage. And the vegetable vendor even gives you extra Kothimbir.....

Ranu said...

You kidding I am already grandma of my cousin's grand-daughter and since she is already married I will soon be great-grand-ma!!!

One reason I love mumbai is nobody cares what you wear or how you look. You are accepted no matter what!!!

Sumandebray said...

Very interesting point is being discussed here. But there is nothing like aging gracefully. Looks keep changing but it is the grace that can make one stand out. So I believe in “kadam kadam barahe ja… “

Double-Dolphin said...

So do you get that echo too? Aunty? Aunty...Aunty...Aunty...!!!

Anonymous said...

I am neither didi nor aunty...but I love it when a cousin's kid calls me didi instead of maasi by mistake :D

awesome post!:D:D
had a huge laugh:D

SGD said...

A wonderfully funny read!
I too am fully auntified!
No sorrows or heartburn...**Promise**
But since last week, I am noticing a deluge of white hairs instead of one or two peeping from within...a bout of low spirits followed by a yawn...that i have to visit the parlour more often...i feel so so very lazy !!

Vivek Patwardhan said...

I liked the word 'auntification'! Auntification happens immediately when you get married.

It is better than what maharashtrians call 'Kaku' [chachi in Hindi].

Read out your post to my wife too and had a hearty good laugh.


Little Girl Lost said...

LOL!! growing up in rajasthan where all married women are called aunties, even by people their own age, your post reminded me of my mom's bafflement, indignation, and final acceptance of auntification :D

really funny...

Niladri said...

great post man! I just love your sense of humour. My acceptance of auntyhood is still restricted to height!! If anybody more than 4 1/2 feet tall dares to call me "aunty", i just give them the "kaun hai tu?" look! But i'm slowly but surely getting there!! Also dread the "free kotambir" ajji stage as said by Ugich Konitari and love my maids more each day for still calling me didi!!

Lilly said...

Hilarious Aunty. Love the steps to Nirvana - I have to copy those!!! You make me laugh and I totally get you...the title of Aunty is all the eyes of the beholder, ouch!!1

Ankit said...

Nice Post Sucharita

Well the trick is in "Didi" and aunty would just complicate any situation.

Whwn I was a kid and we use to play street cricket and the usual ball going in to neighbor's house in the middle of afternoon (sleeping/napping time) and then if and only the aunty opened the door to our numerous knocks, the least I could do is call her "Didi, humaaari ball aayi hai aapke ghar mein". Again ttryin to blame the ball for choosing their house.

Well another thing for this Aunty post.

Have you seen Delhi-6. Loved the way that cameraman says uncle as "UNKILL". Its just awesome.

Mystic Margarita said...

LOL! You remind of of the sage bit of wisdom that the yardstick of one's being cool or 'with it' is the the Gariahat hawkers (in Kolkata. If they call a young woman didi, she's still a hep young thing, while a 'boudi' means one has crossed over to the matronly brigade! :)

I was called aunty by to kids I tutored while in college! So, aunty doesn't bother me now that I have reached middle age! :p

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Your name says it all so succintly. As long as we are hip, who cares about the aunty/grandma bit?

didi is flattering no doubt, and a great marketing strategy.

I too look much much older than my age. Always did, sadly.

Good humour is the only way out of this bad problem.

That gives me something to look forward to.

I love Mumbai, too, for the same reason.

I have all the intentions of aging gracefully and slowly. But people are insisting on pushing me into the age-pit by force.

It's like a damned 1980's disco effect all the time.

@Indyeah and SGD,

Glad that you commiserate. Go ahead, have a good laugh at an aging old aunty's expense.

U R right. It did begin with marriage.

@Little Girl Lost,
Bafflement is what I felt initially, too.

What's the state of mind of Aussie aunties?

@ Ankit,
Must check out 'unkill' in Delhi 6.

@ Niladri,
"kaun hai tu" is a relatively mild response, coming from you.

@ MysticM,
Aah...the didi-to-boudi transition seems so very long ago.

madhushala said...