Clearly, some of you were good little boys and girls in your youth. That means that you are conditioned to associate the words “uncle”/ “auntie” and the vernacular with respect. You can’t help it. If this was just Plain Jane, the 50 year old down the street, you might be polite and pleasant, but if somebody who calls herself Bunty Auntie starts speaking to you in your mother tongue, you snap to like a pointer.
One morning, while back, it was 4am and I had been asleep for fifteen minutes. I was woken up by a phone call and I was a little, I don’t know, pissed off?
Me: (barely making sense through all that incredibly righteous indignation) Hello?!
Her: Hello Beta, this is Shabnam aunty!
I usually tend to wake up very quickly when someone calls herself aunty and speaks in Hindi/Punjabi/any language my twisted little psyche associates with authority. Seriously, wouldn’t you? For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out whether I knew Shabnam aunty, but I wasn’t too surprised, my mom often makes friends who call me at random times to you know, chat. [Link]
p>Now me, I would have just hung up. Uncle, Auntie, I don’t care. Don’t call me at 4AM unless you’re blood of some sort, a close personal friend, or an early morning booty call [the last was added after Jeet reminded me of such things ]. But an auntie I’ve never heard of? Clearly, Sleepy is made up of sugar and spice and everything nice and I am not because she continued the conversation:
Me: Um Hi?
Her: How are you Beta?
Me: Good aunty, how are you?
Her: I’m fine beta, give the phone to mummy now.
Me: ????????? Um, aunty, mom’s at home, not here.
Her: hahahahhahahah, so cute.
Me: (o.k., seriously, wtf?! and I start talking in Hindi as well, cuz you know, maybe she’ll believe me) She’s at home, do you want her number?
Her: Enough now beta, give the phone to mummy. (All stern like, velvet glove/iron fist stuff, which ya know, doesn’t sit well with me, ever)
Me: Mummy isn’t here.
Her: Are you making fun of Shabnam Aunty Beta? That’s not very nice. (o.k., this is what she said, Beta, aap Shabnam aunty ka mazaak uda rahein hain? Bilkul theek baat nahin hai. It was like she was flirting with me )
So yeah, we went for a few more rounds and then I hung up. ON. AN. AUNTY. [Link]
p>The next morning, of course, Sleepy felt remorseful:
I don’t know, probably shouldn’t have hung up on her because what likely happened is that she called the right number and chewed out right number’s children for being cheeky, obnoxious heathens. And then had the kid’s mom chew them out, and the dad, and the grandma etc. etc. And then they probably got chewed out for bringing shame on the family cuz Shabnam aunty’s very fond of gossip… [Link]
Personally, I don’t get it. Maybe it was my particular family upbringing, maybe it’s because I’m a boy, maybe it’s because I’m just too much of a coconut. I understand what Sleepy is saying, and while I think of myself as being reasonably nice, the title “uncle” or “auntie” just doesn’t cut any ice with me. Will I be going to a hell that I don’t believe in, populated solely by aunties bent on making me miserable? How many of you salivate automatically when this particular bell rings?