Aneela is mad because she was stuck for three hours with the Desi Aunty From Hell...being lectured on how "sons are best"...maybe its something in the air, I am just back visiting Chandni's blog where there have been a couple of exchanges in the comments section about whether its moms and grandmoms that are responsible for female infanticide. I can understand the dynamics in place that drive them to articulating their “preference” for the "little prince"...their insurance for old age for they know how their world is structured(how many of you were betting Ms Rajo Devi trying for a boy next year...Bala Ram didnt look THAT happy in the pics) ? Plus as I commented on Chandni's blog I have come across moms who declared they were glad they had sons, for they wouldnt wish their sad lives on any daughter. Even then, every time a woman expresses her desire for a son or when you are confronted by the Desi Aunty From Hell who will pooh-pooh anything you have to say about little girls---for a minute you do contemplate doing some time for cold murder.
I think it is the inanity of the situation that gets to me...here is a woman, with the benefit of age, experience and (I was hoping) wisdom in conversation with another woman who is all dewy eyed about the future and her's (and her child-to-be) place in the world and all that the horrible crone has to offer is pure venom about her own gender? And to be so self-righteous about not staying at a daughter's place even when there was a family emergency. That doesnt merit for brownie points in anyone's book any more...does it?
I have never thought of my mom's summer breaks or when my aunts visit their daughters as something EXCEPTIONAL...I take it as FINALLY some mom-daughter bonding time now that the trials and tribulations of mopping up after childhood spills , long years of putting up with teenage drama queens and twenty-something "what am I doing with my life, mother" queries are over. I dont want to be robbed of the best years of the mother-daughter relationship just because my mother will miss out on some medal for being a 'virtous mom'.
So the Desi Aunty dribbled and dribbled some more patented desi vitriol...the kind of bak-bak we do best...and all this within hearing range of a dad who was fussing over his two daughters perched on his lap...my baby-to-be was kicking like anything, DUNK MEAN AUNTY IN THE CURRY POT NOW, MOTHER!! Sadly, mother didnt and was hoping her words could do what her fists couldnt.
And Desi Aunty didnt have an opinion about XY better than XX alone...her other fav topic was asking me why I thought people left India (in her case) for Melbourne (or elsewhere)...I was tempted to say "to get away from you, woman" ...see I cant answer for others--when it comes to Gman and me, it has been more "wherever our jobs have taken us" rather than a conscious decision to pack up and leave...and do you actually LEAVE? khair, that is another post in the making...coming back to the Aunty, she was pretty passionate about her idea of the quality of life and the value of the dollar, and I wish she could just HEAR herself for a minute.
"Dekho Aneela, what can I get for a dollar here when I can get so much for a rupee in Delhi"
(and at this stage let me clarify this is not a comment on Aunties from Delhi...Ive heard equally ridiculous comments out of the mouths of women from Lahore, LalaMusa, Peshawar, Calcutta and Chennai)...and I replied "Im pretty sure that inflation has hit the markets of Delhi and it is difficult for the poor and not-so-poor to meet the proverbial two ends meet"...
and she is pretty vehement "No for one rupee I can buy so much, I can buy a comb, I can buy a reel of thread, can you for a dollar" ...
"Umm, cliched though it is...man or an aunty cannot live on a comb alone..at some stage you need some decent carbs et proteins and that you are not getting on your one rupee"
Listen, this is not a simple-lets decide over a dinner- argument, and the Aunty in question has grown up children, so I cannot get into the aspirations-for-children and how its getting more and more expensive in South Asia..as the state has more or less stepped back and we see "privatization" of security, education...my family for one can "buy" their electricity courtesy generators otherwise a growing powerless Islamabad is in a state of darkness in more ways than one. Anyways, for the next couple of months Im having dinner at home and not stepping out of the house if I can avoid it...frankly, I dont need the drama...my hormones are driving me crazy as it is. And I would like my baby to be delivered in a nice hospital room and not a maximum security prison block, where I will end up if I have to share a table with one more crazy uncle/aunty.
And Im frustrated as we still fail to understand that ITS CLASS STUPID (and not religion) that drives all that you find problematic in my part of the world...for the last couple of years my work has allowed me to interact with young Pakistan that is embroiled in the "well not so silent" revolution and I am constantly exposed to them espousing their version of Marx (and not so much of religious dogma that the world accuses them of)...yes in the end they think that a hodge-podge of Shariah and culture/religion/civilization will get them through but what REALLY gets them going is inequality...in a macabre version of Six Degrees of Separation what links a sullen teenager screaming at a father who cannot buy him new clothes on Eid with Tehelka's strategic advisor dying in a pool of blood in a hotel in South Mumbai? And as we continue to think that our civic duty is done with disposing of our qurbani ki khaal to a "good cause" and our political and military elite worries over the numbers (money and head count) rather than REAL structural reforms Im sure we havent seen the end of this nightmare...
And Aneela was VERY MAD that she had to stare at the "How Deepika got her Chinky Eyes" headline on the Times Of India website (yes I should not venture beyond good ol' The Hindu, however Im a media-entertainment whore and will trawl anywhere for a my daily fix of Bollywood goss) for a good week till some sense (and a sustained hate mail campaign) made them change it to Chinese eyes...not good enough as they still speak of using sticky tape to get the necessary slant.
Aneela will now go to bed..and hopes she is in a better mood this evening.