An Ode to My [Least] Favorite Auntie

I always ran into you on the days I least wanted to. You knew how to cut to the core of me, of everyone, of the weak- and strong-willed alike. Your bullshit detector was unsurpassed.

Foolishly, for a time, I thought I could anticipate your moves and quickly learned I would never be fast enough: you were always one step ahead. I tried valiantly to dodge your never-ending stream of inquisitions over standardized test scores, cumulative grade point averages, class rank, college major, graduate school, first job, starting salary, rent payment, home purchase, and potential spouse — I always failed miserably, stuttering, shot down and wounded on topics I would have never even thought to imagine. Like how much my student loan payments were. It always seemed easier to surrender immediately to your poison bite than to fight it and prolong my own demise, snared and tangled in a weak web woven of my own lies.

I always suspected you knew the color of my underwear, how much I’d paid for it and strongly disapproved.

I avoided Indian functions my entire senior year of high school because of you… …This was especially problematic when all I wanted to do was go to the temple to pray I would get into a far-off college to escape your evil clutches.

You were infamous. People in other cities knew you and were warned by their mothers to steer clear. You were a fast-talking, smooth-moving, sweet-smiling hustler. In my opinion, your greatest triumph was that — despite your status as an equal opportunity offender — you were still always invited to everything. But then, you also made the best payasam in a 4-hour radius and used heavy cream in your aviyal instead of just milk.

You remembered and verbalized details with a selectivity that borderlined on humiliating: where I didn’t get into college, what I wanted to be and wasn’t, and the other Indians you knew in my age group that did things better. Your questions were poison double-dipped in sugary innocence. I never realized what I’d just consumed in our conversations until it was too late.

Like Visa, you were everywhere I wanted to be. Once I saw you at the mall on a Wednesday night when I was on a clandestine date with my boyfriend. I pushed him into the nearest Foot Locker as you approached, but to no avail. Within an hour, I got a phone call from my mom asking who I was with, why we were holding hands and how I could have been so stupid. Another time, from the passenger seat of a moving car, you saw me jogging on a local highway and called my parents to let them know you thought it was dangerous. And also that my shorts were too short. I never jogged again.

Your role among your peers oscillated among the aunties between strictly functional and purely ornamental, breezing past both ends of the spectrum with an air of nonchalance so pungent it was rivaled only by your tea rose perfume. You always managed to be assigned a job by My Favorite Auntie that strategically placed you in the middle of the action but that you could also pass off at the drop of a hat.

You lingered. You listened. You smelled fear and attacked.

You missed your calling. As a Guantanamo interrogator, you would have extracted policy-changing confessions; as a CIA agent, you would have been the second coming of Mata Hari. And if the federal government put you on the trail of Osama Bin Laden, it is my personal belief that you would not only find him, but be able to report his SAT score, high school grade point average and record of admittance to Governor’s School.

My whole life I’ve believed that your line of vision resembled the viewfinder of an AK-47. You always had a target and, with the skill of a true gamesman, you never missed your mark. You taught me how to be coy, how to answer questions without really answering and how to play cat-and-mouse with alarming dexterity. The great flirts and politicians of our generation have you to thank.

I’m grown-up now. And independent. And though I have relatively little to hide, I’m still slightly afraid of you. But when I visit my parents, and see children, teenagers and adults alike running away as your silk-shrouded fin weaves through the crowd at community functions, I miss the simplicity of a long ago time when you were my greatest adversary.

89 thoughts on “An Ode to My [Least] Favorite Auntie

  1. You know what would be even worse? Marrying favorite auntie and waking up one morning, married to evil auntie!

    According to Moornam you can prevent that if you have the right skills :)

  2. According to Moornam you can prevent that if you have the right skills :)

    Going down on evil auntie….yuck. must hold back vomit…

  3. MoorNam wrote:

    But remember, as bad as Evil Auntie is, it’s more likely due to the impotence of DogPound uncle. So don’t blame it all on her.

    A N N A wrote:

    !!! MoorNam, I’m looking at you in a whole new light.

    yeah me too… as a manhater. not condoning dog pound uncle’s behavior, but m. nam makes it sound like evil auntie is simply a victim of her circumstances. should we let child abusers off because they were abused as children? give me a break… these aunties are fully aware of the stress and anguish they inflict on others because they ENJOY it. i dealt with all this crap growing up, and like barmaid, i skipped out on community events because i got tired of the never ending comparisons of me to kids 2-3 years older than me. “where will he go to college? why doesn’t he do ?” i know my parents enjoyed shutting her up once i figured out where i was going to school.

    anyway, the more i see these idiotic posts, the more i’m convinced there’s something missing or malfunctioning upstairs for m.nam. =)

  4. absolutgcs,

    It was with a bit of shock that I read you statement..

    should we let child abusers off because they were abused as children?

    Are you equating evil aunties with child abusers? Do you know the things child abusers do? Do you know the kind of emotional and physical scars they leave on their victims? Are you saying that evil auntie statements like “Why did you not get into ivy league?” is on the same plane as leaving cigarette burns on thighs and back?

    What’s the matter? Did my post strike a raw nerve? Too close home to the truth?

    i’m convinced there’s something missing or malfunctioning upstairs for m.nam

    Considering that you have not demonstrated any competence in discerning the depravity of child abusers…

    M. Nam

  5. absolutgcs writes: MoorNam…a manhater

    The list of people who understand me so well grows larger and larger.

    M. Nam

  6. Post # 42 is classic. Hats off to Moornam to analyzing it so granularly. Maybe a “Satisfied” Auntie is not an evil auntie, but then the question is who will bell the cat ;-) . Dogpound Uncle is too busy counting his cash. Any volunteers? it is a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it!!, Save us from the emotional torment!!!.

    Also, I wonder how many of us will end up being like Nosy Auntie and Dogpound Uncle? Scary thought..eh?:-)

  7. According to Moornam you can prevent that if you have the right skills :)

    So the solution, according to certain people, is that Evil Auntie just needs a good shag. Interesting. Where I have I heard that before……Oh yes, “That woman’s a real btch. She just needs someone to give her a proper *** and that’ll sort out all her problems”.

    However, I’m sure being stuck in a dysfunctional marriage certainly causes some of Evil Auntie’s attitude problems. To what extent this is her own fault is a matter of debate and probably depends on the specific person (and her husband).

    these aunties are fully aware of the stress and anguish they inflict on others because they ENJOY it.

    It’s often just because of basic immaturity on their part and, as Amitabh mentioned before, because they manage to get away with it for too long. A combination of arrogance and frustration with some part of their own life (current situation or something in the past) probably has something to do with it too. Although I suspect upbringing and environmental factors (social circles along with observation/influence of parental behaviour & older role models when they were much younger) are also factors.

  8. I actually don’t recognize Moor Nam’s portait of Evil Auntie. She isn’t unsuccessful in the west, quite the opposite. If she was, she would never get invited to status conscious desi gatherings. Instead, she’s usually reasonably successful, not ugly (she’s ugly inside, not out), and hard to dismiss on materialistic grounds. This is what makes her criticisms sting – she can claim to have it all, so people feel like maybe they should listen to her.

  9. She isn’t unsuccessful in the west, quite the opposite.

    “Power (and success/status) corrupts”, etc etc.

    Although again this depends on the person. Some people become nasty because they gain too much power, others because they feel they have too little.

    Varies from Evil Auntie to Evil Auntie ;)

  10. Evil Auntie just needs a good shag.

    Once the auntie is already become evil, it’s too late. Uncle should have taken care of business decades ago.

    The ill effects of weak Indian men on their (largely innocent) wife is too broad a topic to be discussed here. Rest assured – if you see a good auntie (like the one on Barmaid’s previous blog), she would have had a satisfied life (on all fronts).

    Anupam Kher plays the typical dogpound uncle in “Bend it like Beckham”. His wife’s character is the typical evil auntie. Remember the scene where he wants to watch his show on TV and she shuts him up with a wave of her hand?

    they manage to get away with it for too long...

    …because as I said before, the Dogpound uncle makes good money. Again well depicted in “Bend it..”.

    M. Nam

  11. You know what would be even worse? Marrying favorite auntie and waking up one morning, married to evil auntie!

    Hah! For us girls the worse thing is waking up one day realizing you have evil auntie as your mother-in-law!! :S

  12. Certain relationships in the northern Indian culture offer enormous potential for someone to become an evil aunty…women, of course, often get this treatment from their mother-in-laws and jethanis. Everyone can potentially get it from their tayi/chachi/mami. Sometimes bhabhis can be evil too.

  13. It’s funny that this thread is already much longer than the one about favorite, beloved aunties. Nice guys/aunties always finish last.

  14. Sometimes bhabhis can be evil too.

    Evil Bhabhis, Cousins, Didis, Nanads, etc are almost worse because they can act all sweet and kindly, when really they’re just threatened by a new female presence in the family. All the parents, Auntie & Uncles think she’s being kind and welcoming to you, but really she’s just bullying you. She will only rest when she’s either completely dominated you, or you run away. Standing your ground is a long ugly fight, and the fact is their family will blindly back her up in any altercation is only another struggle you have to fight. Pray to Parvatiji that you get a husband with the balls to stick up for you…

  15. Moornam :

    The ill effects of weak Indian men on their (largely innocent) wife is too broad a topic to be discussed here.

    of COURSE it’s too broad a topic – to be discussed anywhere – because it’s baseless and riddled with ambiguity.

    i would be VERY cautious in endorsing racial motivations for what is otherwise, simply put, shitty behaviour. i think the “fun” of this musing, and subsequent thread, was our being able to “bring it home” with personal, anecdotal flavors that made it poignant but light.

    remember, if it walks like a bitch and talks like a bitch …(regardless of race).

    isn’t that Dog Pound Uncle I hear whistling for you? MoorNam!

  16. Evil Bhabhis, Cousins, Didis, Nanads, etc are almost worse because they can act all sweet and kindly, when really they’re just threatened by a new female presence in the family… Pray to Parvatiji that you get a husband with the balls to stick up for you…

    blech! i soooo don’t want to deal with this crap… so much else to do in life!!

    i will just be the indian girl that never got married or married a ‘gora’ and give the evil aunties something else to talk about!

  17. I will just be the indian girl that never got married or married a ‘gora’ and give the evil aunties something else to talk about!

    Keep an open mind…..Give the “kaalas” a chance too, not just the Goras. Remember…once you black, you never go back.

  18. i will just be the indian girl that never got married or married a ‘gora’ and give the evil aunties something else to talk about!

    And goras are not at all evil. They have their version of evil aunties abound. In NPR (National Public Radio) a few days ago they were talking to earlier Asian brides of American GIs/ servicemen, and they invariably talked of subtle racism/ humilation from their husband’s families.

    So long, sweetheart.

  19. i would be VERY cautious in endorsing racial motivations

    This is an Indian blog?!!

    isn’t that Dog Pound Uncle I hear whistling for you?

    Dog Pound uncle can whistle?

    M. Nam

  20. I know a couple people like this myself. I usually ignore them. My parents would as well. Then they just stew in their own inadequacy. But she did tell my mom I smoked. That sucked.

  21. regardless of whether she has become the least favorite auntie or our favorite, she has her own inadequacies, regrets, or misfortune. the question is not whether she is successful or unsuccessful, well-off or not, sexually satisfied or frustrated – in spite of all this, does she take her bitterness and personal frustrations out on others? for me, that’s the difference between evil auntie (and do I know her and her ignorant, invasive questions) and my favorite auntie.

    my evil auntie sure can make a mean appam though.

    someone asked this already but i have to wonder why this post receives so many comments compared to the one about my favorite auntie. why only analyze evil aunties’ motivations, and not the favorite aunties’?

  22. MoorNam, “Once the auntie is already become evil, it’s too late. Uncle should have taken care of business decades ago.” But don’t you remember the evil aunty in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? She was evil until Dog Pound uncle slapped and subsequently impregnated her. Then she was barefoot, pregnant, and completely docile. I was trying to figure out why your comment left a bad taste in my mouth until I remembered that scene. It ruined that most feel good of movies for me.

    Oh, and in my experience Evil Uncle and Evil Aunty come in pairs. And that just had to be because they recognized their mutual evil :)

  23. i will just be the indian girl that never got married or married a ‘gora’ and give the evil aunties something else to talk about!
    And goras are not at all evil. They have their version of evil aunties abound. In NPR (National Public Radio) a few days ago they were talking to earlier Asian brides of American GIs/ servicemen, and they invariably talked of subtle racism/ humilation from their husband’s families. So long, sweetheart.

    hahaha… i think the ultimate thing you can do is to be a SINGLE MOM!!! which quite honestly is my dream! i want to adopt kids from the Motherland and just be a mom—forget the husband! who needs him?

  24. A side question for the females: Do you think that marry a “gora” is an empowering move, or somehow viewed as negative? How about if the person outside your race is African-American or Latino? Does that make a difference? I am very interested in what reactions Indian women get when they date, and how they view dating outside the race vs. Indian men. Sorry, way off topic, but you can post on my blog if you like (link above)

  25. hahaha… i think the ultimate thing you can do is to be a SINGLE MOM!!! which quite honestly is my dream! i want to adopt kids from the Motherland and just be a mom—forget the husband! who needs him?

    u said it sistah! i think i could honestly be content living in india or africa doing my work as long as i am near an orphanage and around lots of kids! everytime i bring this up with my parents i fear their hearts will stop though… trying to ease them into the possibility!

    dark knight… i’ll leave a comment on ur blog when i get back from my weekend!

  26. I did not know these aunties could torment the 2nd genners so. I thought their power stopped with us. alas……….

  27. I did a bit of revenge on the evil auntie. she did all of what’s listed above and worse. Her ugly doctor son married this gorgeous babe from india. The babe has more in common with me as I lived in India for my first 13 years. At a family gathering she seeks me out and is genuinly happy to talk to me. Recently they had a kid, and another cousin remarked at a gathering that the kid resembles me. The steam coming out of the aunties ear so warmed my heart. I love this. I feel sorry for the daughter in law…but she’s the one who married for money.

  28. I did a bit of revenge on the evil auntie. she did all of what’s listed above and worse. Her ugly doctor son married this gorgeous babe from india. The babe has more in common with me as I lived in India for my first 13 years. At a family gathering she seeks me out and is genuinly happy to talk to me. Recently they had a kid, and another cousin remarked at a gathering that the kid resembles me. The steam coming out of the aunties ear so warmed my heart. I love this. I feel sorry for the daughter in law…but she’s the one who married for money.

    And you are well on your way in becoming an evil uncle.

  29. Just to clarify….The kid looks nothing like me (ITS NOT MINE). The cousin who remarked that the kid looks like me, was having her own revenge on the evil aunty. The ‘alleged affair’ is all a figment of imagination of a suspicious mind that resides within our aunty’s brain.

  30. Vic, that’s some SERIOUS revenge. This evil aunty may now think that’s not her grandchild; she may treat that kid really poorly in that case. Hopefully they’ll get a paternity test or something rather than live under those doubts and take it out on the kid.

  31. That Maury Povich is tantalizing. If we could get the aunty on there too hmmmm. Amitabh..I did not do anything to cause the situation. The only thing I am guilty of satisfaction to see the uncomfy look on Aunty’s face. I am sure the paternity tests have been done. The daughter-in law was told to never ever speak to me again…and she’s kept her word. Oh well life goes on.

  32. M. Nam wrote:

    It was with a bit of shock that I read you statement.. >> should we let child abusers off because they were abused as children? Are you equating evil aunties with child abusers? Do you know the things child abusers do? Do you know the kind of emotional and physical scars they leave on their victims? Are you saying that evil auntie statements like “Why did you not get into ivy league?” is on the same plane as leaving cigarette burns on thighs and back?

    well clearly you didn’t understand the point i was making. the point was not to equate aunties and child abusers, but rather to understand that just because people are exposed to particular environments, they should not be forgiven for their actions in the future. not a very complicated point and one that the legal system has a firm grasp of. but i’d like to add that i dealt with abuse as a child growing up as well as evil aunties. so yes, i do know the emotional and physical scars victims suffer because i’ve had to deal with them my entire life. if you or others reading this were abused, my intent was not to belittle one’s experience as an abusee but rather to point out that abusers shouldn’t be forgiven simply because they abused themselves. just as aunty’s shouldn’t be forgiven for their behavior because of sexual dissatisfaction or any other explanation M.Nam would like to conjure. pestering aunties aren’t on the same plane as child abusers, not even close, but then that wasn’t my point to begin with. it’s amazing how often M.Nam makes points assuming the background of people (or lack thereof) as a basis to prove your perspective or invalidate others… and fail time after time.

    What’s the matter? Did my post strike a raw nerve? Too close home to the truth?

    nope, i’m not married nor have i had any problems in the satisfaction department on either side of the relationship. nor have any of my s/o’s exhibited evil aunty behavior… rather your ludicrous man-hating ways inspired my response

    >>i’m convinced there’s something missing or malfunctioning upstairs for m.nam Considering that you have not demonstrated any competence in discerning the depravity of child abusers…

    yeah… that was clearly my problem. i suppose a relatively simple mind wouldn’t have been able to understand my point. or was there another reason?

  33. u said it sistah! i think i could honestly be content living in india or africa doing my work as long as i am near an orphanage and around lots of kids! everytime i bring this up with my parents i fear their hearts will stop though… trying to ease them into the possibility!

    sumiti, its so funny that you say that! i worked in an orphanage in Mumbai for 3 months and fell in love with the children. since then i’ve wanted to adopt and live in india and do charity work. my parents are openly horrified by this…

    my advice? keep trying!

  34. What a fantastic post. This is my first comment in this blog as a result of relating so well with this post. While I don’t know of an Auntie as evil as the one you describe, I can attest to the intense frustration that comes with going back to my hometown to attend a wedding and being barraged by aunties and uncles alike on “when it’s goign to be my turn”.

    It was humorous at first…I took it lightly more in a “Oh that Auntie is so cute”…but after a while you beging to feel a little bit of blame behind their questioning. I’m 31 years old and their questions are slightly veiled accusations which really ask, “Why don’t you stop being so picky and get married already!”

    So many don’t know how hard it is to really find someone in this world that you connect with, and it’s hurtful (and not to mention rude) to constant probe someone about it. So many of us want to be married, and find ourselves sensitive to the topic.

  35. I am late to this blogparty but I just wanted to let you know: I couldn’t finish this post because I started crying midway through.

    I’m at work, and I don’t have PMS, so it’s not me; it’s you! Thanks a LOT, I have to go home now . . .