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.............though not in the middle ages and though I was not burnt at the stake, the kids resembled witch hunters waiting to pounce upon some unsuspecting new bride and brand her for life with the dreaded word. Till this day I burn with humiliation at the branding ceremony.
As a young newly married bride, I was looking forward to making some new friends post marriage. My husband was a member of his dental association where there were lot of senior dentists.. I had previously met a few of them during conferences. Though senior to me by a couple of years, I was instructed by my husband not to address any one as uncle or aunty and instead use ..........bhai or.........ben as it would be too rude!!!Eager to please my hubby and mingle around with my new friends, I did the same and soon enjoyed their companionship and guidance.
I did not realise my folly in marking my age territory till the day of the annual picnic. It is a social event where dentists with their spouses and kids enjoy a day picnic. We were playing few games in the bus and the time came for us to alight. As I was alighting, I heard some voice behind me. I continued with my pace when the voice turned shriller. Looking back to locate the source, I saw a teenager about 15-16 years of age beckoning me with a word that bore no resemblance to my personality. I was confused and looked behind me to check whether he was addressing someone else, but he insisted that I was the holder to the title he was bestowing me with. With a horrified, shocked, amazed, bewildered look, I tried to protest against the injustice. The only kid who had a right to address me thus was my 8 month old nephew who hadn’t learnt to speak yet! But the deed was done. I was called an Aunty!!!!!!All of 23 years and being called an aunty!!Imagine the horror at my predicament. I tried to look for any grey hairs or any fine wrinkles, but could see none. Just 6 months back, I was addressed as Didi by teenagers. Did I age in the last 6 months? How could I skip that phase? The aunty hunters had branded me for life. I realised the ghatkopar suburban truth when I was informed by a senior dentist that once you are married ,you are an Aunty!!!!!
So I plotted my revenge drama for 7 years when the aunty hunters would be married, and I would get the satisfaction of branding their wives as I had trained my son to be an aunty hunter!!!But to my dismay, the aunty hunters married bewitching witches who tamed the hunters and put them into a trance, and hypnotised them and erased all memories of their aunty hunting days. The beautiful witches knew their days as a Didi would be endangered if their aunty hunter husbands would continue the trend. All the age defying potions and magic herbs would vanish with the dreaded word AUNTY! And life would turn into one mundane existence.
My warrior son was ready with his barbed tongue, and ready to spew forth the AUNTY word when a truce was called and the aunty hunters addressed me as DIDI !!!!!The words remained frozen on my son’s lips and he looked at me with a puzzled look as we were not prepared for this verbal attack Sensing I had been bested by the witches, I burned with resentment as my revenge drama was foiled
Thinking that finally Alls well that ends well, I looked forward to my Didi days after years of being an aunty.I thought that now I can bask in all my glory, when I caught a glimpse of myself. The grey hairs had started to show, the wrinkles falling in the right places and the couple of pounds added together to complete my AUNTY LOOK!!! .................not forgetting to mention that there is a queer, jeering, lilting, sing song way in which the aunty hunters utter the didi word as if there is a ghost of aunty in the didi word, Their hypnosis is incomplete! Their aunty hunter memories resurface and I want to hide when the next set of hunters emerge............................The grandma hunters or the dadi hunters!!!