No agony in ?Aunty? | india | Hindustan Times
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No agony in ?Aunty?

Recently, my 31-year-old sister informed me that the 14-year-old boy who was at the door to sell a raffle ticket addressed her as ?Aunty?. Flustered, she did not go on to ?correct? him.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 00:24 IST

Recently, my 31-year-old sister informed me that the 14-year-old boy who was at the door to sell a raffle ticket addressed her as ‘Aunty’. Flustered, she did not go on to ‘correct’ him.

I have often, though, witnessed severe reactions from women when addressed as a member of the Aunty Club. We all remember the Godrej hair dye ad where a woman is shocked after she’s called Aunty because of her gray hair. Then there are newspaper columnists writing about Sheila Aunty, etc.

Are we living in a world that is vehemently anti-ageist? Look at the patronising tone set by the greeting cards industry. There’s Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, nothing specific for youngsters. (Valentine’s Day is actually for the subtle benefit of Shiv Sainiks to have a day out.) The hero and heroine of any Hindi film is always young. (Pyar Mein Twist, with a mature Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia being a noble exception). In fact, so obsessed is Indian cinema about the effervesce of youth, that even a 40-year-old Shah Rukh Khan will act like a teenager.

Recently, I read a film review in which an interview by Newsweek’s Devin Gowden with the Japanese animation director, Hayao Miyazaki, was quoted.

Devin asked about Sophie, the 18-year-old heroine of his film, Howl’s Moving Castle, who is placed under a spell by a witch that transforms her into a 90-year-old woman. The 64-year-old Miyazaki replied, I made this film so that I could show it to a young girl of 60. What’s wonderful about the story is that the happy ending isn’t that the spell is broken and the girl is young again. It’s that she forgets her age.

My uncle has recently retired. Immediately after superannuation from his bank job, he decided to visit his sons in New Jersey for the first time. He simply wanted to see how they lived and wanted to assess the claims they regularly made of their ‘monetary worth’. My uncle returned to India with two conclusions. In a very ceremonial way, he declared them on his next visit home.

First, Bless the Lord who is responsible for the creation of Indian wives. And second, in the US, one can recycle one’s life anytime. You know, many old people are marrying and starting afresh at 60 or at an even older age! It’s truly a land of opportunities.

All those who do feel put down by being called ‘Aunty’, comfort yourselves by the thought that Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s steely champion for democracy, is popularly called the ‘Iron Aunty’.