“Kamala Aunty’s son is already married Why are you not getting married?”
“Sarala Aunty’s daughter already has two kids. Why are you not having one?”
“Pushpa Aunty’s son works in Wall Street. Why are you not getting such jobs?”
I am sure these lines are not unique in our lives. We all have those “aunties” that our mothers talked about. For some reason, these aunties have perfect life with perfect children doing perfectly well in life. It is always us who are making mistakes in our lives. I do not blame our parents who follow this “aunty” society per se. They love us, and they want us to have a perfect “aunty” life. One, they genuinely want us to be happy, and second, let me be blunt; they really want to be ready with their answers when aunties ask about us. In any middle-class “aunty” society, a perfect child is someone who has “engineering” and “MBA” degrees, working with international IT companies, married, and has a child.
Before I could spell “doctors” or “engineers” and what they do, I had already announced that I wanted to become one. My parents were ecstatic that their little daughter had already predicted about her “bright” future. While I obviously made my parents proud, I gave sleepless nights to my aunties. After all, their kids had not announced so. Perhaps my cousins hated me as their mothers taunted them about my announcement. However, my parents’ proud moment was shattered when my youngest brother announced that he wanted to become a bus conductor or a traffic police in one of those family gatherings. His innocent mind noticed a conductor’s ability to stop a moving bus, or a traffic police’s ability to stop the traffic with a hand signal. He was mesmerized with that “power” and in one of the parties, when aunties asked him what he wanted to be, he proudly announced “Conductor”. I still remember that Bollywood-style “dramatic” moment. “Did he say doctor or conductor?” – that was the discussion point. Aunties giggled, and my mother wondered what went wrong. I do not know what actually went wrong but my kid brother ended up becoming a doctor making my parents proud. Nevertheless, that proud moment seems to be short-lived as “aunties” have already started raising questions about my brother’s unwillingness to get married, which has made my parents restless once again. I am sure once he succumbs to the pressure of getting married, very soon aunties will start talking about his children…!
Oh! Aunties are not too pleased with me either. I have been married for sometime and still do not have any kid (by choice). Do I have problems with kids? No. I absolutely adore kids. I love them. In fact, kids love me as well. I feel raising a kid is a blessing, and a beautiful experience. But I have chosen not to experience it for a reason that is known to me. Yet, my “choice” has made aunties uncomfortable, and thus they are giving sleepless nights to my mother. “Conceiving problem?”, that is the rumor I have heard about myself in our “aunty” circle. Every time I meet any aunty, they give me long lectures about my “biological clock” and some doctors’ contacts. One of them even proudly guaranteed a kid if I go to a certain “male” doctor. Oh yes- aunties never assume “husbands” can also have medical issues- like impotence or infertile sperms. It is always women who could possibly have issues. Jokes apart, I seriously wonder about those women who really want to have kids, but not able to. How miserable aunties could be with such women with their remarks? Oh! Aunties are extremely mean towards unmarried women. I have many friends (women) who have chosen to stay unmarried, and aunties have all sort of queries about them. “Is she characterless?”, “Boys must have rejected her?”, “She is not beautiful, no wonder she is not getting married”, and so on- there are thousands of such whispers that mothers of unwed daughters have to hear. Poor mothers have no options but to taunt their kids. My unmarried girl-friend jokingly says, “Even the bank manager “aunty” hesitates to give me loans even though I make more money than most of men in this country.”
In some ways, we are all aunties. It does not matter if you are a male or a female. The moment you find faults in others’ choices of lifestyle, and perceive that your life is perfect, you have become that aunty. Every now and then, I myself have become an “aunty”, though I try to acknowledge my mistake and rectify myself by accepting others the way they are. Life is about discovering what genuinely makes us happy and following our happiness. A person can remain happy in many ways in a society, and a group of happy people makes a happy society. So, why do we have to succumb to this “aunty” society that has made our mothers’ lives miserable, Why can’t we learn to accept others’ choices – gay, straight, married, single, kids, or no kids- they are happy. And Parents- when will they stop comparing and emotionally blackmailing their children just because aunties are gossiping. Trust me, if we want to please “aunties”, then we are falling into the biggest trap of unhappiness and dissatisfaction because aunties are there to find faults in our lives.