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.
ew, I know this auntie too. And she’ll probably outlive us all. Another great musing, Barmaid!
DD, we all know this aunty. Blegh.
Barmaid, another fabulous post.
Love it. But as long as there are more favorite aunties than least favorite aunties, we’ll be ok.
Really, Barmaid? This auntie??? That’s strange — like DD and Pooja, I know her too, but I had absolutely no idea that she was schooled in sexually provocative interrogation tactics. Who knew she was into that sort of thing? Definitely didn’t see that one coming.
Although, now that I think about, maybe we all should have. In fact, maybe that explains everything….
Damn Barmaid don’t you know that the only thing keeping you from pushing Auntie Misery into the vat of hot sambar is your respect for your parents not Auntie Misery’s hold over you 🙂
Being successful (as you are) is the best come back to this aunt. That and asking her to wipe the lust drool off uncle’s mouth.
AK — Get your mind out of the gutter! Chee! 🙂
I’m sorry, I just thought my mind was in the human rights reports. Turns out it’s the same thing these days.
I have a few aunties like this. But honestly, I have an aunt who is a combo of this and the post before. Bad mood swings would be a possible explanation. But I never found out, never stayed around her enough to find out.
Good post BarMaid.
Great post!! I loved the recipes in the website that linked to the Avial recipe- Man !! I’m drooling just reading them. Thank you so much!!
Seriously! It sometimes makes me wonder if they come coded like that? I think as women of the current generation we need to vow to break this nasty cycle!
… that was nice! It was a simpler time but our reactions to those childhood impressions are still very similar to our gut reactions today in a more complicated time. It’s amazing how our mind gets conditioned so young, so simply and we have the rest of our lives to uncondition it, with so many complexities!!
It was one such aunt who added “centum” to my vocab. I don’t know what you think, Barmaid, but I still believe “centum” is a tamil word.
is this the same auntie who wants to be your pal and wants you to tell her everything about your life, only to turn around and use it against you at her convenience?
JOAT’s right– being successful and happy, and treating Evil Auntie with kindness is really the best comeback ever.
I’ve never commented here before but this is too amazing to let pass. I much prefer the cynical snarkiness to the mushy love letters, especially because far too many of the aunties I know fit this mold.
I believe it’s also a prereq for this aunty to come with a son/daughter who has one or more of the following traits: Bharatnatyam dancer or tabla virtuoso to your tone deaf ear and two left feet, Med school admission to your questionable liberal arts major, “simple” demeanor and style of dress to your miniskirt and sarcasm, etc etc etc. Least Favorite Aunty must then brag about this offspring at every given opprtunity while subtly berating you and your choices, thereby causing your parents (and by extension yourself) to develop inferiority complexes that years of therapy will be unable to correct (I mean not that I would know…) 😉
A few more things that Evil Auntie does:
Tries to convince your parents to get you married off to candidates who are wildly below your expectations (and very different indeed to the people you’ve previously been involved with), just so she can indirectly needle you and your parents about the low opinion she obviously has of you (especially compared to her own children), and so that it subsequently gives her more ammunition to bitch about the poor quality of your spouse. It’s a set-up.
Is incredibly threatened by “modern”, liberated, semi-Westernised Indian women, and tries to poison your mother’s mind about such 2nd-gen desi girls (especially with regards to the idea of considering them as potential daughters-in-law), sometimes accompanied by allegedly-true “horror stories”.
Makes subtly insulting remarks about you when talking to your parents just because her own kid was rejected as a potential arranged marriage candidate by the person you happen to be involved with.
Mistreats you and/or your family in some major way, and then later has the nerve to ask your parents for a favour when she needs help about something.
Acts like a wide-eyed, oh-so-innocent type, but is extremely vindictive and scheming.
Barmaid – that was superb – absolutely fantastic! right now – as we write – there are people being groomed to take on this least-favorite-auntie-but-everyone-still-keeps-in-with-her-because-we’re-scared-shitless position.
evil auntie is a bitch of the first order – pretends frienship when she is only interested in schadenfraude. thank you for highlighting this..
and isn’t it always the case this Auntie will herself have some child who will do much the same thing but Auntie of course will not tolerate others saying the same things she says to them. oh no.
Jai – your point no. 5 in your post above – just brilliant. this is Auntie’s main line of defence!
Thankfully, growing up my parents didn’t have the patience to suffer nonsense, so I wasn’t very exposed to aunties of this type. But, I definitely know who you’re talking about.
Very true…especially about the unending chain of questions and that quick-as-a-hawk eye. Part of our woes lies in the fact that we ourselves are inherently suspicious of our own people. Once we drive away the ghost of suspicion that haunts us and start having even some faith in the actions of our family members, be it the parent-child relation or the spousal one, a million such aunts wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever to our existence. Sigh, I just wish my girlfriend’s parents had some faith in her. They don’t even need a nitpicking aunt to strike off a fire there.
Wow, that was golden! Kudos to another excellent composition. I’m just lucky to have parents who’ve shunned this “Aunty”. However, now they’re practically outcasts in the community b/c of her…
Love it! 🙂 Funny how my mental picture of LFA seems to match yours exactly!!!
fantastic post, pledge. because of its excellence, you’ll get a pass from both the sharpie AND the freezer today! 😉
funny.. I guess you are still afraid of your Aunt.. Is that the reason you hide behind a nick while others blog using their own names (I guess..)
Guests: Ads, PG, Cicatrix…
ALL of these people “hid” behind a “nick” as well. It’s VERY common in the blogoshpere. I hid (as you so charmingly put it) behind a nickname on MY first blog, as well.
Add one more to my previous list above:
Bravo Barmaid, for calling everybody’s least fav aunty out and doing it so damn well. I know a few, in each town and city I call home (except Toronto, which is probably why I’m going to live here forever). The BBC aunties in Porbandar, the chamchi aunties in Calgary, the desi inquisition in DXB, o lord. Now that I fear them no more the only thing they want from me is for me to become one of them! Nahiiiiiiin!
Oh, thanks for clarifying.. I’m relatively new here and thought all other bloggers use their real names atleast when they get inroduced…
Hardly – my real name isn’t “Ennis” for example. It’s my blogging handle so I can keep my professional life separate from my blogging life. The last thing I need is for my clients (and colleagues) to google me and find the mutiny rather than my professional work.
beautiful post. as i was reading this, i was imagining a clash between the good vs. evil auntie, like gandalf vs. sauruman, in an ancient kitchen, going at each other with spells and karandis.
Eeew so many gross paedophiliac truths about Uncles rearing their ugly heads. I remember reading (and watching) Bridget Jones, though, and realising that every culture has its own annoying aunties and uncles who routinely enjoy torturing the next wide-eyed generation like lambs to the slaughter.
Just as well there’s the nice ones around who make all the community-related contact so bearable.
How funny– I think of you as a regular. 😉
As Ennis revealed, not all of us do, for very good reason. Who would want to get Dooced??
Oh hi Ennis!! not your real name eh? Ok which city are you from beta? Where does your papa work? Are you in the university?? And Barmaid I am reading all your post very carefully 5 times and trying to find out who you are.
Dont think all your chokras and chokris can hide from me in the blogs…Evil auntie is quite Net-savvy these days and is reading all you Indian kids blogs OK..
LOL.. I agree.. I think unless you are a ‘student’ / in the ‘academia’ where anything goes, it is better to hide…
lest we forget the unsung hero, DOG POUND UNCLE, who was kept clenched tightly in the fist of his home-wrecking hyena of a wife. he’d say nary a word, maintaining a fixed distance of fifteen feet from the eye of her hate-breeding tornado. you’d always find him hunched in a diminutive pose, dressed in the same, unfortunate checkered with his hands clasped lifelessly behind the back. on occasion, and in the absence, of his far-worse-half, and desperate for the sincerity and affections of those who cared, he would share a hurried glimpse of what lie in his heart — like the new guitar he bought for Vijay, who just “can’t seem to put it down”, or Reena’s recent interest in softball where she has “so much fun with her friends”. his brightly lit face quickly turned gray on the arrival of Least Favorite Auntie, as he excused himself, gesturing a strained apology – perhaps for something he felt he had done.
DOG POUND UNCLE, WE SALUTE YOU.
^^ -even as a student, things have a way of coming back to haunt you…
Jai, your #5 is critical to the entire concept of Evil Auntie. Evil Auntie also will do anything to make sure you are diametrically opposed and that everyone will see how “Bad” you are for disagreeing. -I’ve had conversations with Evil Auntie where I tried to be nice and congenial and agreed with her on some trivial matter or another (“why yes, the sky IS blue”). She has actually changed her position, mid-conversation, just to be difficult and bitchy and argumentative, and try to show how insensitive and opinionated and Vesstern I am. And she’s so covert, it’s near impossible to call her on her shit, because it often goes under the radar.
That’s ok, because I know her kids were shoplifters and have self-image issues that will cost her as much as her fancy kitchen, in therapy.
Hail Mogam… er… DOG POUND UNCLE!!!
I like these 2 posts. The favorite auntie reminds me of a couple of aunts I have. The least favorite auntie reminds me a horrendous uncle I have. I decided I have no moral qualms about being disrespectful to a bad person (no matter what their age is).
You’re right, the children of these kind of women either end up messed up OR just like their mom. Some end up hating their mom. I know some people who had an evil auntie for a mom and now they can’t stand her.
I think the only reason these Aunties have any power is because we desis are taught from a young age to respect our elders…so we politely put up with their poison because we can’t be rude to them.
The BBC aunties in Porbandar, the chamchi aunties in Calgary, the desi inquisition in DXB OMG… you know the BBC Auntie in Porbandar? She is in NY now…run for your life….:-)
dead-on, Amitabh. This particular auntie’s kids are just as evil and bratty and self-absorbed as she is, AND they dislike her. So it’s a double-whammy. The kids will not only take over the title of Evil Auntie, they may be more powerful and bitter…
“Strike him down, and take your fathers place at my side” Its like the dark side of the force…
we should consider positive outcomes of this cause celebre, like a searchable, online database of Least Favorite Aunties and Mean As F**k Uncles, complete with mug shots and history of known crimes and atrocities committed, like a sex offender catalog.
Oh LOL…try being a white American living in INdia where EVERYONE thinks they are my aunty….because here I am, alone in India, why? Where is my husband, beta? Is he dead? LOL…Your skirt is showing your leg madam…..you should not do this in India…..In India ladies do NOT get tattoos….etc etc…its endless…..
Love your work, Barmaid…….
I’ve got an Indian 55 for you if you are all doing that today…will bbl
One of the characterstics of Evil Auntie is that there is much self-hatred, usually caused by lack of self-fulfillment. Funny that AC brought up Dog Pound Uncle – such aunties usually have Dog-Pound uncle for their husband.
This DogPound Uncle himself is usually good at nothing else but his work, ergo, he makes good money. But it’s all downhill beyond that. He was a mama’s boy, and still is. When his mama tormented his wife(evil auntie) in the early years of marriage, he did not defend auntie but sat sulking in a corner. Consequently, this uncle is also bad in bed. It’s probably evil aunty who had to initiate sex all the time. Once his mama died, his docile wife became a raging tigress and dominates him like his mother once did. And that probably drove their sex life even more down the drain. A woman who doesn’t have a man to go down on her becomes frustrated, angry and mean spirited. She stops taking care of her body. She can see only bad in other people. She stops trying to improve on anything – what’s the use?
Hence, you see that evil-aunties are shapeless, and lack taste in clothing. She wears trousers and a loose shirt to the mall, with twelve gold-bangles. Her legs are unshaven. Her hair is single-braided with more oil than Iran has. Despite being decades in the US, she still cannot drive on the freeway. Whenever she has to go anyplace new, her husband has to take her there a couple of times till she “gets” the route. If one day they close a road for construction, she gets lost terribly because she has no sense of direction.
All this she tries to make up with religion/culture, hence goading the kids to do Bharatnatyam/Tabla, memorize the Gita (without understanding head or tail of it) etc etc.
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.
MoorNam, I’m looking at you in a whole new light.
I can never do NY again. She used to sit on the stoop every morning, noon, and night and every time I walked through my gate she would sneer and begin talking about me to her gaggle of hangers on before I was even out of hearing distance! Are you from Porbandar? Did you escape her humiliating clutches too?
I am sure many of you have seen this site before, but it sums up evil uncle and auntie (and their two “perfect” children) well. Not to mention pompous indian guy Johnny.
All the greatest hits of the indian commmunity listed on the left:
We covered it back in March of 2005. Gosh, that search box sure is handy. 😉
Here’s an ode to may favorite uncle
way to sum up why i haven’t gone home for thanksgiving in the last 3 years.
and…has anyone had a favorite auntie somehow morph into being evil auntie? b/c i have and its the most horrible thing to look at someone and know there was a time you’d happily run into their arms and now despise them with every bone in your body.
yes, and it’s such a betrayal 🙁
You know what would be even worse? Marrying favorite auntie and waking up one morning, married to evil auntie!