The name tag.

                  A couple of years back, I turned 40. Now, 40 may rhyme with ‘naughty’, as in ’40, the time to be naughty’, but, believe me, there is no ‘naughty’ feeling whatsoever. On the contrary, the feeling that sets in, is of nostalgia. And, anxiety — about the future, about growing old, worrying about the ghost of menopause lurking in the shadows, round the corner. Anything, but ‘naughty’. It is the age which is equally proportionate to the number of creams on a woman’s dresser that fight ageing and help cover up the sly wrinkles that begin sprouting in all the wrong places.  However, the worst part of entering this age is the ‘naming ceremony’. Although, the  ceremony has taken place quite some time back, yet, once women are 40, the name tag of AUNTY gets stuck permanently.
            It is understood that little kids are going to be calling us ‘aunty’, whatever age we may be in. But, youngsters, too? Especially, those who happen to be just a few years junior?  Any woman dressed up in ‘salwar-kameez’ becomes an ‘aunty’. I, too, was given that name tag. And, although I did cringe with embarrassment, I began to accept the fact, that I was growing old. But, one day,  some kids simply swept me off my feet and made my day.
        One evening, couple of years back, I was relaxing in the lobby of our building after my walk with Chikoo. A few minutes later,  a bunch of kids came over and sat in the seat opposite, staring at Chikoo, whispering to each other. Their nervous, yet curious, glances told me they would ask me something about Chikoo, but I did not pay much attention. Suddenly, a little boy asked me,”What is his name, aunty?”  Before I could reply, his friend — another little fellow aged 11 or 12 –shushed him embarrassingly and said,”Hey, why do you call her  ‘aunty’ ? Call her ‘didi’ ( elder sister)!” 
          Awww…he made my day! I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, but the remark from that little boy (the second boy, to be precise)  told me that I still had time! Maybe, I did not look that ‘old’. Or, maybe, the jeans and Tee I was dressed in, saved my honour!  Either ways, I was on cloud nine. Nowadays, it really does not bother me — the ‘name tag’. But, it does feel good when someone ‘compliments’ me by calling me ‘didi’ and not ‘aunty’. A friend of mine is now going through the same issue. A  young woman she knows, calls my 40 year old friend, ‘aunty’. And, this makes her cringe! I can understand her situation. Being called aunty by kids is absolutely fine. But, by a 24 year old? NO! That is a bit too much! I mean, come on…she herself is now a new mother (my friend helped her during her pregnancy) — .and, thus, an ‘aunty’ herself! 

         Human nature is so funny, no?   We don’t want to accept facts of life!  Celebrate birthdays — we will. But,  grow ‘old’…Nope! Cut birthday cakes — sure!  But, blow out the ‘correct’ number of candles on our cake…No way! Demand respect from youngsters — yes, they better show some respect! But, call us ‘aunty’ — NEVER! 

NaBloPoMo November 2014

8 Replies to “The name tag.”

  1. I would have never guessed that you crossed 40 already, Shilpa.At least not from the photo displayed here. I don't think age as a big deal. I turned 30 last year. When I was in my 20s I felt 30 was old and I am running out of time. But now I feel not much different. Few of my friends turned 40 last year, when I see them they are happier, healthier, and looks younger than me. Age is just a number. Aunty, Didi all are just references. We should not let those affect our better self. And seriously I thought you are 30 max. If you told you were 25 I would have believed with no doubt. 🙂

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  2. First of all, thank you for the compliments, Vinitha! The photo here was taken last year, after my 40th bday! I ought to thank my genes!
    Actually, I really don't mind either aunty or didi. It was just an idea I had after a chat with my friend. I really don't get affected by it all, as long as people don't call me 'granny', I am fine! 🙂

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  3. Have you had the experience of being called 'Aunty' by someone just 10 years (or even less) junior to you? Now, that really annoyed me, not the 'aunty' tag, but the fact that she addressed male friends of the same age as me by their names! Talk about complex.
    Personally I don't mind being called whatever, but this sort of selective addressal does irritate me. And also when men 'friends' (some friends they are!) make fun of you by calling you 'aunty' when they are 'uncles' themselves. I really don't get how that is funny. Or perhaps the fact that they are acting juvenile is THE joke?! I have a blog post up my sleeve on that.
    Btw, you don't look 40!

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