Beware The Indian Auntie
The Indian Auntie is a fearsome creature. She is usually married, with a dot of red paste on her forehead to prove it. She is generally overweight, her sides seeping out over her colorful sari, her neck bulging with flesh. She eyes you with unbroken scrutiny on a train, breaking her intense gaze only when she dozes of and begins to snore. When she awakens again, her unflinching stare is once again fixed on you.
The Indian Auntie rarely smiles. It is not in her nature. Rather, her face is fixed in a permanent expression of disapproval. She disapproves of young boys and their antics. She disapproves of young girls who wear dark lipstick. She disapproves of married couples who hold hands. She disapproves of old women who beg. She disapproves of Westerners across the board. She probably disapproves of her own husband, though she could never show this in public. She takes her disapproval of him out on everyone else around her.
The Indian Auntie grunts when she eats. She shovels huge handfuls of food into her mouth, her fingers dripping with rice and curry. She is ferocious about food, and it is at mealtimes that the Indian Auntie forgets to disapprove of everyone, and shows that she is capable of a remarkable, single-pointed concentration. Nothing can break her attention at mealtimes. She grunts and tears her way through one plate of food, and then loads up another. The Indian Auntie is an admirable eater.
The Indian Auntie is an unparalleled gossip. In a scenario typical to this breed, she and other Indian Aunties will gather together on a public bench and watch. Their favorite object of scrutiny seems to be the Western woman, though an attractive young couple, or perhaps a group of squealing young Indian schoolgirls will also do the trick. When such an object of scrutiny passes by, the Indian Aunties will hush up their gossip for a moment, and all crane their necks to watch. Their sudden silence is noticeable and unsettling. As the respective object passes their bench, a deep air of disapproval seeps out from the clustered Indian Aunties, permeating the atmosphere with a strange, inexplicable stench. Then, once the object has passed fully by, and the Indian Aunties can crane their necks no further, they will whip back into position and begin shouting, gesturing, and pointing. There is no doubt whatsoever as to their verdict: Object Is Condemned. Unwavering Disapproval To Be Henceforth Applied.
The Indian Auntie likes to make one wait. If she has somehow secured a position of power, she will use it to her fullest advantage. Perhaps she is responsible for taking cash at the post office. Rather than accept one’s extended bills, she will actively ignore said person, and chatter away to the clerk next to her, despite the fact that he is busy and not listening to her. When one clears one’s throat and holds the bills out further, she will shoot a poisonous look in their direction, and proceed to file her nails. When one begins to fan oneself with the cash, and look around in obvious impatience, the Indian Auntie will acquire a smug, satisfied expression, and begin to pick lint off her sari. When one says fuck it, throws down the money, and walks out the door, the Indian Auntie can be heard to splutter in anger and begin to speak in rapid, disapproving Hindi. In such instances, one should not be bothered about the ten rupees that one has just lost because the Indian Auntie would not make change, but rather skip down the street, happy to be out of such nefarious company.
However. There are rare, strange cases when an Indian Auntie acts entirely out of character. Most such cases are undocumented, and in all probability, legend. Reports have surfaced from various parts of India claiming that an Indian Auntie, for instance, made way for a crippled person in line. Other alleged cases involve an Indian Auntie giving food to a hungry dog. Again, such cases are rarely documented, and tend to come from unverified sources. But this author was indeed witness to such a strange, unprecedented case not long ago. A cruel Indian Auntie with a penchant for violently wringing out her laundry and then hogging the whole drying line presumably had a burst of kind-spiritedness after ten days of meditation (along with this author), and did something entirely out of character. She smiled. And when an Indian Auntie smiles at you, the entire world changes.
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