Let me take you to 1990s, those good old days when as a teenager, I flew high (that’s what teenagers do; they rarely touch the ground), believed in the goodness of the people (naive, I know!) and was happy in my blossoming youth. People younger to me were simply ‘these kiddos’ and people older to me, say anyone who looked above thirty or, with a kid, were uncles or aunties. It was a general rule of thumb to address people. Well, I liked to keep it simple. Life was anyway tough what with crushes (I realize now. Back then they were the ‘love’ of my life, my soulmate), and a bag full of insecurities (height, weight, looks – acne, the bane of teenage life) and so on.
Now let’s fast forward to 2014. I am in my thirties, married and a mother to a little daughter. Now read carefully, my daughter calls me ‘mama’ and her friends ‘aunty’. Well, that’s reasonable. There is an occasional child or two who prefer to call me by my first name. And to be truthful, I prefer that too. So for little kids, I am officially an ‘aunty’. I don’t have any problems with that.
The problem surfaces when those life-is-so-beautiful-and-we-are-so-happy twenty-somethings call me ‘aunty’ without blinking an eyelid. That one rankles. Come on, I an AUNTY! My body shakes in rage and my heart takes a painful plunge in shame. Inadvertently, I remember the famous sitcom of the ‘90s where the lady clad in purple lycra body suit bellowed ‘Mujhe aunty mat kaho na’ (Don’t call me aunty, please)! I found it funny then. Now, I can sympathize with her pain and her shame. Where did these 20 years disappear? How could I have, from a frilly polka dot frock-clad girl, joined the wrong side of the demographic? Well, as they say, what goes around comes around.
Aunty is not a derogatory word, I know. There are a lot of hot aunties out there. You only need to type certain five words on Google and you will come across an unbelievable stream of online videos with hot and sexy aunties who rock the world of pre-pubescent, adolescent and young men.
There is this woman in my building; thirty something, one daughter just coming out of her teens and the other in the middle of it. She must have got married when she was still in school. But now she is divorced and in a committed relationship with another man in our building. Though our building kids call her aunty, I am sure they must hesitate at least once before calling her that. She is hot, sexy and wears the oomphiest clothes I have ever seen on the other side of the fashion runway. Even a few men I know in our building secretly lust after her.
Talking of men, there is this neighbour. He lives with his wife and a teenage son. Apart from the son who is regularly seen playing a game of football with other kids in the parking lot, I have never seen the couple interacting much with the other residents of the building. In fact, there have been occasions when they have completely ignored me. If it would have been only me, I would have understood. But talking to other neighbours made me realize that they do the same with them too. But now here is the catch. The husband on the other hand never loses an opportunity to talk if he is alone. Weird, right? If it were only neighbourly talk, I’d understand. But no, he talks about random things, sometimes personal stuff and on one occasion he certainly chatted me up. When he learnt that I knew French language, he said, “I know a little French” and then immediately came up with, “Vous etes belle!” (You are beautiful.) LOL! How convenient! We, women, have extra sensitive radars when it comes to men flirting with us. But the next day, I saw him at the mall, and the man went past me as if he hadn’t seen me. Needless to say, his wife was with him. Poor guy.
This ‘aunty’ is a superpowerful community. We are (more often than not) married, with children, and comfortable (not necessarily happy) in our life. We have seen the world and experienced it at close quarters. We have enough but we want more. We know we are desirable and appealing, more so because we do not want to shake the somewhat cracked but still steady pillars of our marriage. No wonder then, there are many such neighbours who sit there and bide their time. Sooner or later, some hot aunty will definitely come their way.