Okay, Aunty


It drives me nuts – being called ‘Aunty’. I wear my 42 quite happily so don’t go there.

I live in a country where everyone is Aunty. Or Uncle. Or Bhaiyya. Or Didi. Apparently, it implies respect.

An acquaintance’s daughter insists on calling me, Aunty. Her mum knows it drives me crazy but she insists too. I’ve suggested she call me ‘Ms Varma’ if ‘Karina’ is too avant-garde. No dice. She wants her daughter to be ‘respectful’.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand what’s respectful about a refusal to respect my preference.

Thing’s friend


She’s been cutting my Thing’s hair for about a year now, this beautiful young lady. She makes my little girl giggle. They gossip. They trade secrets. My little girl adores her.

She got married a year ago, this sweet little girl.

She wasn’t there when we went in for a trim last month. She wouldn’t be back for a while, her colleagues said, refusing to explain.  I was annoyed. Thing won’t let anyone else near her hair.

She came back last week. Thing was thrilled. Her friend was back.

She smiled her beautiful smile as we walked in. Her smile was the same and it wasn’t. It was as if sadness had attached itself to her person. Like a second layer of skin.

“Where were you?”, I asked.

“My husband died.”

She teared up as I hugged her.

Then she sat my little girl on the chair and made her giggle.