Excuse me Aunty…

Says the young girl. Young being a subjective term. This young girl in question being in her late twenties if I have ever cut a birhday cake. I frown at her, the two frown lines cutting deep furrows into my forehead and lending credence to the nomenclature she had graciously given me.

Let me explain. I have no issues being an aunty to the child’s friends. I have no issues being an aunty to anyone who is still officially required to be in short pants. I can even stretch the requisite mandate for overgrown adolescents bordering on their late teens. I have two decades on them, it is justified. But this I draw the line at.

So I look at her firmly. “I am not your Aunty.” I say, in what I hope is a pleasant voice. “I think you have confused me with someone else.”

Of course. She had to be one of those whose craniums were built of double bullet proof steel, and I was just itching to take up the hammer. “No aunty, I wanted to ask you to please to move to side.”

This was forgivable. I do take up a lot of space. Especially when it is front of a display counter bearing any item of clothing, bags or shoes with signs bearing numbers, the percentage sign and the word discount written on them.

This was at Shoppers Stop, dear reader. And we were there, at Inorbit ostensibly for the Wednesday vegetable haul at Spencers. Which is next door to Shoppers Stop. Therefore it was but natural that one meandered into Shoppers Stop before one meandered towards the veggies. After all, what charm does a cauliflower hold over a calfskin tote on 40 per cent discount. Anyway, I digress.

The topic at hand being the indiscriminate peppering of the word Aunty, being spewed by all and sundry. Is there an age limit beyond which one is an official aunty? The first time I got called aunty, by a man with a head full of white hair and more wrinkles on his face than hair on my head, I was barely 25. Married a year. And by default, the lady of the house. So, it was a rite of passage for me when I opened the door to the doorbell laden with the symbols of my marital status, and the man actually addressed his query to me. Rather than saying, as I was used to, “Please call your mother-father.”

He began with folded hands, “Aunty, I am contesting for this ward as an independent candidate,” and thrust a leaflet into my stunned hands and continued blasely, “Please vote for me.”

I closed the door and collapsed into a heap. Then composed myself and ran shrieking to the mirror checking self under strong halogen light for sudden onset of greying and wrinkling. Needless to say, he was not getting my vote. Nor that of my husband if I could help it.

The next morning I sashayed off to the beauty salon and chopped off my hip length hair to shoulder level and never got called aunty again until I had the critter.

Then, I guess, I was officially an aunty. And I honestly didnt mind. I was also past the big 3-0, so terminology like aunty didnt bother me anymore. I was more concerned about burping and feeding schedules and milestones, so when the hair on the leg grew to cave woman levels, not to mention the facial foliage giving the husband some serious complexes, I didnt care.  I was mother earth. Aunty was the least of my concerns.

And then the kid grew up and I went back to being a vain puss again. And therefore the bristling at the Aunty from someone who is old enough to be my younger sister. But then these days it is so difficult to tell ages. Like, ahem, ahem, it is so difficult to tell mine. Perhaps the offender was actually a pre-adult. In which case it would be perfectly legit for her to call me aunty.

But I am still lifting up the cheeks and checking nasolabial folds and contemplating silicone injections and pulling hair back tightly to determine whether some cutting and splicing might make me, well, less, auntyish. And examining spider lattice under eyes and slathering on under eye gel hoping for it to miraculously seep through skin cell barrier and plump out indentations caused by living. And checking out the hairline for new signs of grey popping up and grinning cheekily at me. And seeing the waistline grow to a tyre or two that could make the Michelin man proud. A lift, some Botox, some liposuction and some Restylane and I would be perfect. Not an aunty.

Nah, I know, I am a coward. I will slather on my moisturiser and pray for a miracle. And happily morph into an aunty rather than inject self with stuff and risk the face swelling out like that miserable South Korean woman who injected her face with cooking oil and ended up looking like the stuff bad cartoons are made of.

Yup, aunty. I need to roll the word around on my tongue a bit to get used to the sound of it. I guess the next milestone from here is Granma. Right? Better start getting used to that right now too.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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18 Responses to Excuse me Aunty…

  1. Meira says:

    No, looking at the header photo, I’d never call you aunty. Come on, you look good. And ‘grandma’ is eons away , believe you me.:)


  2. blinkandmiss says:

    I am falling in love with and going to “internalize” your pet word – “sashaying” 🙂

    Also just curious, how do you know its a “calfskin” tote? How can you be so sure its calfskin? I didnt even know its a word. 😦 I just see them as bag1 and bag2, maybe big bag, small bag, brown bag, red bag. That’s all. Don’t ban me from your blog, please – i’m still learning!


  3. preetischronicle says:

    i still think she must have called out someone else..from whatever pics i’ve seen..you are no way close to auntyish..you so rock..with your looks and your writing. Cheers!


  4. Aathira says:

    I have seen men (visibly looking older than the girl/woman) call her Aunty! The only thing I could see was as you said, she was married.

    I do not understand, is it just a simple equation, Married = Aunty !?!


  5. kiran(mithe) says:

    I may be one of your youngest readers-but that doesnot mean I will ever refer to you as an aunty!(lol) I think you are still ages away from being called an ‘aunty'(atleast as far as your photo goes)!


  6. Shilpa says:

    You dont look like an aunty AT ALL. I call anyone above 50, more like my mom’s age aunty. The word gets my goat each time perfectly grown prople(ghode like we say in hindi) call other people of almost the same age aunty just because the other person is married or has a kid. People should seriously GROW UP! Call me Ms. so and so or Mrs. so and so if you want….dont u dare say the dreaded word is what I want to tell them. Do not worry so much about these people. And NO, you are not being vain at all.


  7. Anamika says:

    Here in the U.S, I have the opposite problem. In the Bengali community, everyone is their name appended with ‘di’ ….if they are really really older than you. So I call women far older than my mom ‘di’ and they in turn, end up calling my mom ‘mashima’!!! when she visits.
    Anyone who is less than 50 is automatically first name and God save me from the dirty looks when I call any obvious looking aunty…well aunty.


  8. Mansi says:

    If the picture on the header is to go by, you are nowhere close to being an Aunty. Btw de-lurking..I love your writing!


  9. Gigi says:

    Oh Kiran! A subject after my own heart. At a puja earlier this week my daft cousin in her late 30s called my mom’s friend who is max 10 years older than her “Aunty”. WTF?!! So I get it! The gall of the woman who called you Aunty. Gah. Sorry I want to scream so much.

    I prefer the way American kids call you “Miss X or Mrs X”. But guess what? In India some curmudgeonly people used to get offended at such terminology. I recall a professor getting annoyed we called someone “Dr. ” instead of ” Sir”. Colonial hangover? I can’t understand for the life of me.


  10. Kiran Manral says:

    Meira: Will someone tell that to the grey hair on my head? Anyway, its just about rationalising what one calls another person by. No one calls the husband uncle. He is always Bhaisaab. So why am I aunty? Cant I be behenji. Well, maybe didi would be better.

    Blinkandmiss: I ask. Thats what salespeople are being paid salaries for.

    Preetischronicle: My cheerleading squad!

    Aathira: The husband has told me enough stories about fantasising over married ‘aunties’ in his adolescence to make me cringe at being one now.

    Kiran: Well, I am bordering on ancient now, so you might be allowed to call me aunty if you;re within 20 years of age.

    Shilpa: You are so sweet. I am being abominably vain. But yes, Aunty is a terminology that has the sayer’s age linked to it…

    Anamika: Didi is really acceptable. You know, it has a nice feel to it. Or if you dont know me say Ma’am.

    Mansi: No, dont go by the picture in the header. Its pretty misleading.
    Thanks, keep dropping by.

    Gigi: Absolutely, aunty is an abomination, just say excuse me if you’re unsure of what to call me, but in the words of the serial vain puss in Hum Paanch “Aunty mat bolo na!”


  11. blinkandmiss says:

    Did you see the related posts generated by wordpress?

    * Of being an aunty and other lifeshattering tragedies…
    * No Title
    * Bhanupriya aunty seduced by young man
    * Ever hot mallu girl Prameela aunty bouncing boobs in nighty

    Your husband has a valid point. Too many people on the internet seem to be interested in aunties!! 🙂


  12. Divya says:

    It’s always been dependent on what I am wearing in my case. My neighbour has a 4 year old kid, who I think, has full right to call me an aunty. Her mom however, chooses to say ‘ aunty ko ki bolo’when I am in a salwar kameez,and moves to ‘did’ when I step out in jeans !:)
    Regular reader – delurking for the first time


  13. Divya says:

    Argh, that was ‘didi’!


  14. chandni says:

    I hear you!!!

    My boo’s 13 yr old called me aunty…hell I think he looks older than me 😉

    Uh ho…ok that was stretching it a bit, but I don’t think 26 yr olds deserve to be called aunties by 13 yr olds!



  15. Kiran Manral says:

    Blinkandmiss: And am not even going to mention this to the husband…LOL.

    Divya: Yup, Arrghh. At least she tries to be sartorially correct. I live in jeans all the time. Am still firmly an aunty.

    Chandni: I wont call you aunty. Swear on God!


  16. Abha says:


    i became aunty soooo long ago (and i havent even hit 30 yet) that i just dont care!

    husband on the hand with his boying looks now being marred by a pot belly gets all worked up about being called uncle by college going girls! hyuk!

    and i wont call ya aunty! 😀



  17. Kanan says:

    cave woman level? tuff bad cartoons are made of? I am laughing out loud here. Just too funny.. I sympathize with you though.

    Kanan: Hmmphhhh. Have you been called aunty yet?


  18. Dr Harimohan says:

    when one goes above 40 barrier one better brace oneself to this word
    but surely an aunty does not trnaslate to old and wrinkled it is just the right middle between the immature teens and the the mature oldies it is just the right time and age of ones life
    just another perspective thats all


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