April 28, 2009

So you think you are old?

Scene 1: Suburb. Building entrance. 3 women are talking and playing with their kids.
Woman in skirt rushes down the stairs with grocery bag in hand.

Kid#1: Hi, didi.

Woman in skirt smiles, pinches his cheek, smiles at the ladies.

Mother#1: You are thin na, that is why you are a didi. We all are not slim, so we are all aunties.

Woman in skirt - [Weirded out as they have never spoken ever before and as Mother#1 appears to be at least a decade older]: Oh, and here I thought that it was the skirt that did it!

Now, there are two issues here - the auntie issue and the weight issue. Note: rant ahead.
So the kid called me didi. Its been 3 years since some kid did. Its been 3 years since my friend's son first called me Priyanka auntie. And yes, it did give me a moment's pause and I heard the horrid voice repeating 'Auntie. Auntie. Auntie.' in my head (like in that old hair coloring ad). Auntie. That one word had over-the-hill, unattractive, old, uninteresting and tubby all bundled into it. Isn't that what we have been programmed to think? It escapes me why we all think of growing old as bad, something to dread. The first gray hair, the first spotting of dark circles, or crow's feet - all spell disaster of biblical proportions. We all want to remain young, perfect, read, in the 20s. When we were kids we couldn't wait to be 20-something and when we are no longer that, we wish we could turn back time.
Have you all noticed how the Mom in all the advertisements have changed? Gone is the woman with her hair bundled in a bun and her saree pallu tucked in by her waist either slaving away at the stove or rinsing utensils. The new mom wears trousers or cut offs, doesn't wear a tikka and still manages the kitchen and cooks without seeming drained and tired. Drastic change, huh? Can't we have something that changes our definition like that for the word 'auntie' too, so that at least our kids won't grow up dreading the words 'auntie' and 'uncle'?

Ok, now picture this. Imagine if the woman in the skirt was actually a teen girl in a skirt, but overweight. What if the kid calls her auntie? Do you think the woman would tell her that oh, because you are overweight, the kid called you auntie? No, that is a sensitive issue. It is not politically correct nowadays to call a fat person, well, fat. The logic being that it is discriminating and insulting. Fine. Now using the same logic, how about not calling someone rail-thin, scrawny, painfully-thin, emaciated? If there is a 'normal' size, then thin and fat are two extremes and calling them that is discrimination, right? But then, I guess, the underweight people are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the overweight people.
It is not the word 'thin' or 'fat' that is insulting, it is the way people say it. Subconsciously, we are all programmed to accept a certain size as 'normal' - some of us don't even question it even when we are adults. Some of us actually envy people who are 'normal' without an effort, while we (the non-normal people, both ends of the spectrum, mind you) are not. I don't sympathize. I am sorry, but I don't. My genes - passed on my 'normal' parents and well-preserved grandparents - don't make me lucky or you any less luckier. If you don't want to be overweight or underweight, do something about it. Isn't 'accomplished' better than 'lucked out'? Exercise, eat right and if nothing works, accept your body type for what it is. If you still hanker for what you can't achieve, do it in private. Do you tell strangers in the hallway about your yearning for a fuller butt, non-jiggly body parts or lesser hair on certain limbs? Then please oh please, do not talk about your weight to me - the next time you do, you just might receive a 'Auntie mat kaho na. I am in denial!' wall hanging from me on the spot.


ME said...

Great, so i picked up what was meant for me :) Time for me to move..shake.. run actually !!!! Wot say !!!

phatichar said...

That was a cute rant, auntie..err, didi..err...Priyanka! ;-)

Priyanka said...

@Me: Run! Noble thought, my dear.
@phatichar: Lol..

SoJo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.


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