Auntysville

Published: September 22, 2010
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The auntys of this world can be a nightmare

All of us know them. Whether it is a wedding, a funeral or a birthday party there they will be asking questions, making oh-so-helpful suggestions and gathering information to file away for future reference – aunties!

It may start innocently enough. But don’t be fooled by their innocent questions – otherwise you may regret it.

6:05 by the chaat table

Aunty Jan: Beta, how are doing? And how many rozas did you keep?

Bobby: Just kept a few. I fell sick one week before Eid and missed a few.

Aunty Jan: Oho! You must take care of your health. Get well soon. Say my salaam to your mother. You must eat healthy food and sleep well.

6:10 by the chocolate fountain

Aunty Jan: Have you heard?

Aunty Begum: Heard what?

Aunty Jan: Haaye! I can’t even say it! Laali’s son, Bobby does not keep fasts anymore! He just skipped them so conveniently. Haaye haaye. What would his dear naani say? I am tau bas too worried he would straight away go to hell.

Aunty Begum: Oh no! Tauba tauba! Is that so? He is a big sinner. I must tell Paashu that we will not have them to tea. I can’t have heathens dirtying the Wedgewood.

6:55 Islamabad

Aunty Jan’s enterprising network has spread the word from aunty to aunty – adding some more masala and color to the original conversation each time the tale is told. Bobby had no idea that a simple conversation could land him in so much trouble. They are like a walking talking local twitter. However, all conversation are not so innocent. Some aunties go straight for the kill.

Bibi Aunty: So, beta, what do you do?

Annoyed Girl: I recently finished my studies.

Bibi Aunty: Mashallah! Mashallah! So, are you married?

Annoyed Girl: Yes, I am.

BiBi Aunty: Oh. Mashallah! Tell me beta, how many kids do you have?

Annoyed Girl: None yet but we are both so young that we decided –

Bibi Aunty: Oh my God! Why don’t you and your husband visit a doctor? You must go for a physical check up. I can recommend an excellent gynecologist.  My bechari niece she was childless too. But then she had her treatment and now look at her four fat babies! You should pray for yourself. You should ask your husband to pray as well.

These session can go on unless the person Bibi Aunty is talking to makes a quick get away. It’s not only married girls who are attacked. though Aunties feel like they have a great deal of wisdom to offer the unemployed as well.

BiBi Aunty: So, beti, what do you do?

Graduate Girl: I just graduated from college and am looking for a job.

BiBi Aunty: Well, I saw an ad of  a bank in the newspaper yesterday. Why don’t you apply there?

Graduate Girl: I did, but they need someone with experience and references.

BiBi Aunty: Why don’t you work in some NGO? My niece is working for one and they are paying her very well.

Graduate Girl: (sarcastically) Oh my god! You are so right! Of course why didn’t I think of that?  Sure, thats what I will do.

If aunty’s are good at anything it is suggesting – everything from  prayers to jobs. But while aunty deaerest is is good at offering suggestions she should also offer disclaimers that she knows nothing about the job market. She only follows perceptions and assumptions. If something was good for her nephews and nieces, she thinks it must be good for everyone.

They keep offering stupid and useless advice. Auntys can get away with asking the most inappropriate and disrespectful questions. Has someone’s daughter eloped? Aunty is here to investigate.  They will discuss everyones personal lives even grown women who have families of their own.

At weddings they may accost mothers.

Aunty Khala: Arey! This is your daughter?

Worried Mom: Yes, she is.

Aunty Khala:: The apple certainly fell far from the tree. You are still so lovely. Your skin is milky white and glowing – why doesn’t you daughter look like you? Is she married?

Worried Mom: No

Aunty Khala: I know a very reliable matchmaker! There is a lady in this mohallah, I forget the name but she is supposed to do wonders for even the most unlikely candidates. I will find her number and give it to you. Go and meet her.  I pray for your daughter. I wish that she gets a very nice person. These days one can’t trust people too much.  I pray for every girl these days. I pray  that they get settled at the right time. After all who will want them when they are older than twenty-five?

Aunty’s don’t just pick on us girls though. At times, when they see a good-looking young man in some function, our aunty will investigate. The question answer session will slowly evolve according to the aunty’s requirements.

It will start with: “what’s going on these days?” quickly followed up “what are your plans for the future?” If the candidate is worthy of further investigation comes where do you work?” and then the inevitableany plans to get married?”

A clever aunty knows how to reel in her bait – she will ask boys or girls to fetch them a cold drink or some food and then attack.

Some investigative aunties display more tact. Instead of approaching the target they strike an elder sister.

Info Aunty: So you are just two siblings? Where does your brother work? How much does he earn? How much do you earn? What does your brother do? What are his qualification? What is your qualification? How long has he has been working? Why didn’t he go abroad? Why doesn’t he go to UK?

When aunties get together they can be pure evil – even if it as a funeral.

BiBi Aunty: Haaye! I am so sad that she is no more. She was my best friend. Why was she living in this house – it looks like a rats nest?

Aunty Begum: May she rest in peace. She just never paid for a full time maasi. I swear I can’t breathe with all this dust. They are the cheapest people I know!

Aunty Khala:You know, na,  that her elder daughter ran off to marry some boy of her own choice?

Info Aunty: Haan haan! I know. Sahmeful behavior.  This elite class of people is just disgusting – no moral fibre! All their children are the same. They party and even drink.

Aunty Begum: Thank God, my children are not like that.

BiBi Aunty: I pray that all the children are safe from such evils. We must train our children to be good, upstanding citizens – just like us!

Sadaf Fayyaz

Sadaf Fayyaz

A freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and writer's take on life, culture, media and everything else.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ghausia

    I just love reading your pieces they’re always so entertaining! I swear, its like a breath of fresh air, reading something that makes me giggle with glee instead of wanting to cry or kill myself. I’m so glad I’ve never experienced this aunty phenomenon, though I can’t understand why as so many of my friends have. I experience it with family which sucks because I can’t be rude to them as they’re such nice people who just can’t help being narrow-minded. Just imagine, at my uncle’s funeral, a mami asked what I was doing in college and when I said arts, she goes, “Kitne afsos ke baat hoti hai jab tum jaisi aqalmand larkiyan arts leti hein”. Yes mami, and kitne afsos ke baat hai that my uncle died at such a young age, lets focus on that. When I started wearing glasses at nine, my mamun kept calling me “Arastoo” or “Aflatoon:, I knew who Aristotle and Plato were, but who the hell was Arastoo and Aflatoon? And if not that, I was “Professor Sahiba” simply because I was a writer and wore glasses. I think that each one of us could fill pages detailing our encounters with such aunties and family members. Sadaf please don’t switch to serious articles, your humorous blogs are just what we need in these dark times!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    Which aunty are you Sadaf? you seem to know them all ;)Recommend

  • maheen usmani

    Hilarious! Great stuff, Sadaf :)Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pkfloods Muneeb Khan

    good piece :DRecommend

  • CRITIC

    cool stuff lolRecommend

  • http://ayeshahoda.wordpress.com Ayesha Hoda

    Ha ha ha. It’s unbelievable the way such people talk, pretending to be wise and concerned.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/khawars Khawar Schehzad

    hahaha Good One Recommend

  • Lord Elrond

    whattay whattayRecommend

  • parvez

    I love reading your articles but this one went on, and on and on. I lost interest half way through. Brevity is the soul of wit.Recommend

  • http://taha.javaid.over-blog.com Taha Javaid

    how much do you earn? what are your qualifications, sadaf!? :PRecommend

  • abc

    Hey Sadaf, your articles are always light to read but i have one problem. Your comments and your articles are always centered around marriage relationship issues or aunties! Obsessed with Aunties you are! Move on to some other topic man, there are plenty. Recommend

  • tubah

    every aunty is someone’s mother… Be careful, your mom might be one of themRecommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Hehe………In fact you wont find these aunties in some other culture,,,,,
    @Ghausia…………These are sugar coated poisonous realities……I guess you will find a lot of such aunties in shadi fuctions and death occassions….basically……”aur sunao” culture and attacking others,,,ainek kiun lagati ho? nazar kiun kharab hey? kab sey kharab hey? weight kiun kam hey? kind…….
    @Raza……:P I am not abhi……(I know so many like Aunty Discrimination, aunty broadcast, auntypoke, auntysuggestion, aunty mashwara, auntynoisy, aunty thanedar……:)
    @maheen, Muneeb, CRITIC, Ayesha, Khawar…………..Thanks………Recommend

  • zubair

    hopeless aricle, I wonder why ribune has such a low level of writers/columnist/bloggers, patheticRecommend

  • fatima

    cool! so true.!Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    @tubah the topic was suggested my mother. :)
    @zubair a typical type of keyboard mafia…….Recommend

  • Taha Kehar

    Although a well-orchestrated dialogue, it is too strongly rooted in stereotypes.Recommend

  • Sakina

    WOW!! hahahaha.. amazing article… yea i agree aunties can be Gabbar Singh in disguise :P ask me! hehe…Recommend

  • Ahmed Fayyaz

    I would suggest why you left out uncles, out of this post? Uncles act the same way as aunties do……..But this kind of behavior is more associated with a special class of ladies…Intellectual women and sensitive ladies would never behave like that..Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Taha yes…Just a stereotyped, not prejudiced……:)
    @Sakina You can share your experience….:)
    @Dad, I know that even some men behave like this….”kia horya hey?” But let the focus be towards some special kind of ladies…….who think their food wont get digested if they dont ask private and personal questions from everyone………Recommend

  • Taha Kehar

    @SadafFayyaz: But I must say, it reminds me of the ”ghutnas” from Kamila Shamsie’s Kartography! An interesting post!! Recommend

  • sabeen

    Stupid piece of writing. Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @taha It may remind you of “Shiatan ki Khalajan” by Shafiq, It may remind you some characters of “Chandni begum,,”, It may remind you some characters of Ismat Chughtai, Chandar and even Razia FasiH ahmed’s Mrs. X of ,”Aadhi Sachaiayin”… and some others too…Many writers have written on them, in their own style………Recommend

  • GM

    wonderful!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • SF Critic

    A serious waste of space. Not like everbody doesnt know already about this aunty culture. Agree with zubair and abc. You should reply to your critics as well, not just your well wishers. Calling them your “keyboard mafia” doesnt let you off the hook :)Recommend

  • Samir

    so what happened to info aunti live? good stuff! Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    I dont feel like replying to those, who lack sense of humor……..A typical keyborad mafia…..:P
    They can submit better write ups to ET, I wont mind…….If you knew, you could written on it…..again a big :P…….The bigeest thing is that my critics come with hidden names, like abc, abc is famous for leaving a negative critic on each blog of mine…..(whatever topic it is) critic and Sfcritic…..can you guys come with your real names like other commenters? i dont feel like replying abc, xyz and bla bla kind commenters…..Sorry and regarding the mafia, many bloggers are complaining about that……So the keyboard mafia is really every blogger;s mafia now…….Recommend

  • Humanity

    which aunty are you .. or are you still an aunty in the making ?

    Keep in mind, aunties are only a reflection of the Pakistani culture and society .. all about form with very little substance.Recommend

  • soobia

    i agree with you completely. and to top it off, the ending was just abrupt. Recommend

  • abc

    Jee, cuz see the thing is i really dont like the topics of your blogs, and the write up is poor, Tribune should atleast edit them.

    BTW, behen ji aap ki shaadi hogai? kyun nahi? kitni umar ho gai hai aapki? :PRecommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @humanity……….POKING and interfering is a part of our culture….Are you trying to say that?
    @soobia…..Really? Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @abc……..Then dont leave comments :P Just ignore it………Recommend

  • abc

    Ah and… its hard…. to take a blogger seriously……… when they write like this…….. when your finger is stuck on one button. Plus your topics are so similar. Thats my problem. Bus.Recommend

  • http://www.comartworld.net Narissa Khan

    Well, most poorly educated, interfering, nosy women with too much time on their hands r like that. Best not to associate with them or tell them bluntly to mind their own business. Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    I guess thats the best thing to avoid them…….Recommend

  • USL

    I’m going to agree with “abc” here. He/she is right in a sense that you write about more or less the same things and it’s becoming a little taxing and boring – if I might add. And well, “it’s hard to take you seriously when you type …. like this”. Spot on again “abc”. Thirdly, not every person who criticizes you belongs to the “keyboard mafia”. When you write on a public forum, it’s best to accept both negative and positive responses. Negative comments are good in a sense that they help you do better next time.

    About this post; not your best :). No offence here. Recommend

  • soobia

    ok it wasnt THAT bad of an article to get soo many critics attacking her! i think we, well, i mean I have already read a few articles on the same topic so have been a little numb with the read. so in that sense (only because it is unfair to the writer), i take my criticism back, but only partially. I still feel that the article ended abruptly and that it could have been wrapped up differently. but good work anyway:)Recommend

  • Ali Qureshi

    i hate this aunty mafia btw.. half of the time they r discussing star plus in their lives.. and rest of the time, they r making star plus out of others’ lives :PRecommend

  • Potentially mean

    totally agree with whatever u said but i also have to agree with some of the comments here that it was kind of too longRecommend

  • Munazza sami

    @zubair: come on dear…….we should take all kind of matters under discussion…its a platform for discussing public issues lightly
    its really a lovely and bit true article but some time some AUNTIES are really nice,sober and totally different from these types of aunties which is discussed in article……..but good and unique effort sadaf…Keep it upRecommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    @munaza The ladies who are educated, and well read would never behave like that. These are only some special kind, who bore others. My friend list has even some nice aunties, who r truly good. They never poke in your personal matters. Not All are like this, but a specific class. So lightly attacked them.
    @soobia I appreciate your criticism bcz its not personalized.so keep up the critique.Recommend

  • sana

    @sadaffayyaz:

    As a Pakistani girl, in my early twenties, I can see why you would be affected by this aunty business.

    If I am absolutely honest, the only reason I read your blog was because I thought the sketch was cool! By the time I got to the second anecdote I was struggling. Not because what you had written was untrue, but because it was just boring and lacked spunk!

    I just 2 questions for you. Answer them if you can.

    Has your own mother/khala/phupho/nani/dadi not been the ‘aunty’ you so passionately lash out against?
    Do you not indulge in similar behaviour? Maybe not as an ‘aunty’, but as a part of the society I am sure you have also gossiped about random people without knowing actual facts.

    Let me just say this… there is an ‘aunty’ in all of us.Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @sana No and absolutely not…….Thats it……..:)Recommend

  • http://facebook.com/uzair.javed Uzair Javed

    Good and a light read, no doubt. I shall agree that it sorta ended abruptly. I was definitely expecting something more but it was a FULL stop! Yes it was. You write good, i must say. So keep writing, its good for us!

    Well, as regards you critiques, the people are, first, not capable of forming ideas. And some who are capable of forming ideas, cannot effectively put them in words and can’t express those! You are among few who have sense of humour, have ideas, can express them, and their expression has effectiveness as well. (yes, you can take that as praise). And i personally admire and respect people who are not the followers of the normal ‘lot’ and have and can form ideas and thoughts of their own. Regarding those who are either not capable of forming ideas or incapable of expressing them effectively, are normally found criticising and are normally prejudiced in a jealousy manner! (No offence to anyone)Recommend

  • Maha

    First I am all HAHA…seriously :) GOOD1!! but could have a better ending it was bit unexpected dear. If you write similar stuff you are better judge,why dont you write some for change, you are good at writing that is sure.

    And let me tell you Sadaf these abcd’z efg’z ho’z dy’z are your real fans.:)Recommend

  • Samreen A.Khan

    =) ……”haaye haaye” is really hilarious!! Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Yes I the ending para was some what like………..

    .”One can judge and estimate how these wonderful combinations work and act like local twitter. This special character you would find everywhere, in every form and in every sphere of life. Our life is useless without such characters. They loves asking question from others and hates being asked questions. They attackspeople of every age and profession. From single girls to unemployed ones, from married to issueless, from moms to young boys, and leaves no one. They bombard everyone with her questions and people would never ask her in return. Sometimes one can see an AuntyDiscrimination who keeps asking from people where they are from. They love to know why a girl or boy is single, if married, why childless, if childless, why childless, if childless, why doesn’t go to a doctor, if goes to a doctor, why doesn’t the treatment work. If treatment doesn’t work, why not change the doctor, if changes the doctor, what is the result of new treatment? These characters love to know why a girl is fat and why a girl is slim. They would suggest thin people to eat more and fat people to diet. Imagine what our lives would have been without them? These characters are very versatile. They can play the role of Auntycritic, Auntyinvestigation, AuntyDiscrimination and AuntyBroadcast at the same time. No spice, no masala, no broadcasting, no chilling and no questioning, of course. They comes up with a poster of “don’t ask me, I will ask only.” After all, she is a true representative of ‘Aur Sunao’ culture.”………….

    But I guess it made the post longer and thats why it was edited….however the same para is included in my blog………..My BlogRecommend

  • Malik Usman

    Hahahahahaahahhaa OMG ROFLOL!!! :D :D :D

    This is so wonderfully written and Yes, it’s totally true! Btw, I have been through this Aunty-Experience so many times.. Really funny!!Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Usman Would love to hear your experience……Most of us have gone through…….all this……Recommend

  • Hira

    hahahhahaahhaha hilarious….and can we kill em all..i swear they actually make their daughters and nieces and daughter in laws like themselves..i onyl pray dunt end up being a mascot of auntysville….Recommend

  • http://www.pakspectator.com Sana Saleem

    Very Nice ! Aunties Exposed :)

    This is absolutely correct about aunties. Most of them know nothing but like to comment on others and suggest others only to prove that they know alot.

    I also know an aunty who can talk and suggest on any topic but poeple can’t bear her for more than 20 minutes or so…Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Hira and Sana……..hmm Thanks……but its a bitter fact…….presented in a sugar-coated manner…….That must have been an Aunty Suggestion…….:)Recommend

  • fozia zafar

    so entertaining…:DDDD its awl aunties buisness.,,well written.Recommend

  • http://dannish-dannish.blogspot.com/ Daanish

    funny,interesting and reassuring that nothing changed at homeland.

    To be honest I cannot live with them but I miss them:)Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @fozia…….:( It goes like this………The steorotype is used……It doesnt mean that Aunty has to be an old 50 yrs lady…….this symbolically stands for a kind of behavior associated with even young girls and women….even friends……remember aapa begum, aunty flowerbody (khala gulbadan by jedi), Hukumat aapa………Masi Museebtay………Bi Jamalo……..
    @Daanish……..You know what our society would have been a boring place without them…No masala, no spice, no chill, no info………..Recommend

  • atts

    lol, good oneRecommend

  • mian jalal manzar

    somehow i never get bored of loco aunty analysis……nicely put!Recommend

  • Omzy

    Terrific piece I must say a good read indeed :)Recommend