of uppity aunties and upturned noses

I have yet to tell you the dirty details about why the Baran Ceremony was such an eye opener for me.

So there I was, in a long line, waiting for my turn and watching other women do things I had never done before. I saw Durga’s beautiful face be smeared with vermilion with a vengeance, sweets stuffed into her closed, and to me, disgusted mouth, and flowers strewn all over the place being trampled by women holding more flowers in their hands.

The two ladies behind me were from the lower middle class, and stuck out like a sore thumb. I overheard one of them talking about their ailing child, whom she had left at home. When my turn came, I asked them to go first because I had no sick children waiting. She looked very thankful and climbed up up the chair in front of the idol and started doing the thing. She must’ve been up there for less than two minutes when I realized that two uppity aunties in uncannily similar blue and green sarees (almost the same design in two different colors) had just climbed up on the stage and were slyly trying to jump their turn. I politely told them (in Hindi) that there was a line, and pointed to where it ended.

The woman in the blue saree was visibly miffed, but kept quiet. For one second. She suddenly started urging (rather rudely) the lady on the chair to hurry up, because tum kitni der se oopar chadhi hui ho, hamari baari kab aayegi (you’ve been up there for such a long time, when will we get a chance)?

I smirked, which she (mis)understood, as she started asking me and the other women why we were not saying something to the woman who was taking too long. The other lower middle class woman came to her friend’s rescue – she just got up there, less than two minutes ago.

The woman in the green saree then started pushing the woman and asking her to get off the chair. Kahan kahan se aa jate hain! Where do these people even come from?

Then I lost it. I asked her (pretty rudely) to back off and go stand in the line. Sab yahan line mein ek ghante se khade hain, agar paanch minute puja karne mein lage bhi to kya problem hai? Jab aapki baari aaye to aap bhi time laga lena. Ab jakar line mein khade ho jaiye. Everyone’s been standing in the line for an hour – what does it matter if they take five minutes to pray? Please go and stand in the line and await your turn, and when you do get a chance, take as long as you like.

Hum yahan dus baje se yahan hain, barah bajne wale hain aur hamari baari ab tak nahin aayi. We’ve been here since 10 am. It’s nearly noon, and we still haven’t got a chance.

Agar aap line mein khade hote to aa jati naa baari! Par aap to subah se mandir mein socialize kar rahe ho, kaise aayegi baari! You would’ve, if you had stood in the line instead of socializing with the other ladies in the temple.

Aur itne saare logon ne time liya, aapne unse to kuch nahin kaha! Aisa kyon? Kyonki woh sab zyada classy ladies thi? Also, many women took this long, but you said nothing to them! Could it be because they were all classy ladies?

At this point they were really mad at me because it really was the truth, but they could say nothing because I wasn’t from the lower middle class. They just kept their noses upturned and said mean things about me in Bengali, all of which I understood.

So I decided to take things a notch higher. By the way, ami bangla bujhte pari. By the way, I understand Bengali.

You should’ve seen the looks on their faces as onlookers began to laugh.

Here’s a picture of me doing the baran. I was laughing all the time, and took a good five minutes to finish just to piss them off!

Photo(10)

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anawnimiss

Blogger. Crazy bitch. Stalkee. Weirdo magnet. Wannabe housewife. Corporate Slave. Find me at anawnimiss.wordpress.com!

21 thoughts on “of uppity aunties and upturned noses”

  1. Hahaha, I hate going to temples for this reason! Hardly anyone is there because they are devotional and want to pray to the Gods / Goddesses. One, it is a social event where praying is just a side thing. Two, gossip and power struggle and showing off is just too much to handle.

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  2. There was this Satsang I used to attend where the women would sit on one side of the auditorium and the men on the other side and there would be an aisle in between and Guruji would sit on stage and give his discourse. The women’s side would almost always be noisy with them wandering around and talking to each other even after the discourse had begun. And the men’s side would be relatively quiet. And Guruji would often comment on why the women were not keen on listening to his discourse and why they were always talking among themselves unlike the men’s side. And the only time the women would truly seem interested in what was happening on stage would be when marriages would be conducted on stage in Guruji’s presence, and they would all stand up to take a good look at the bride and groom in spite of being told not to, and they would end up inconveniencing everyone else around them.

    I’ve noticed that women can be as bad as men and in fact sometimes even worse when it comes to lack of patience and lack of consideration for fellow human beings.

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  3. Well done Ana. Sticking up for those who are being abused is, to me, the mark of a good person. Good work. xs2rahulz can stick it where the sun don’t shine. Those who refuse to support the vulneable are the same assholes who are raping and abusing women and the weak. There is no fence sitting, either one believes that all are of equal value and acts to support that or one does not. And apparently he believes that people are not of equal value.

    Excellent post Ana. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Paul. I think it’s only the fortunate few who have the privilege of standing up for the vulnerable ones.

      Rahul is an ass. He’s no better than the majority of the population that thinks they are better than everyone else and have the right to judge them. If such people ever help someone, it is only to prove that they are indeed better. I don’t care for opinions from this sort of person.

      Helpful criticism is more than welcome, but I don’t need a jerk who wants to ‘date rape’ me to tell me what to consider important enough to write about!

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      1. I don’t get this – are most Indian males likes this? Here in North America we get regular news stories about women being raped and even murdered by young males in India. I had an opportunity to visit India with a team from work, but the women on the team refused to go to India where they said men were violent mysoginists and women were treated as second class citizens. We ended taking our business to China. Is it really lke that? And if so how do you, as a young woman, survive?

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        1. The women on your team were mostly right, Paul. My country is full of misogynists.
          For every Indian woman, there are two types of threats – from men outside the family, and
          family members.

          Within the family system, a woman is expected to be the self-sacrificing care-giver who puts her family’s needs above her own. Men have needs, and women are there to fulfill them. Marital rape is not considered rape in most families because of the same reason (though the law recognizes it as rape).

          Outside, all women are used to catcalls and whistles and obscene gestures from random men on the road. (Most of these men are from the lower rungs of the economic ladder.) If someone gets raped, most people will be found dispensing advice on how the victim should’ve worn “decent” clothes, behaved properly, avoided using public transport after dark, and ventured out in groups. It’s always the victim’s fault.

          In my case, I fight with at least two people on the road each week because they said or did something inappropriate. At work, people talk more about what I’m wearing than they do about the quality of my work. When my ex-husband announced that we were going to divorce, his parents asked me if I had been cheating on him – they didn’t ask their son that question. If a marriage breaks up, it must be the woman’s fault.

          Now, finally, I am in a good spot in life, and my new family treats me exactly like they treat my husband. But I still have to follow the ‘advice’ doled out by my ‘well-wishers’ and ‘wear decent clothes’ and ‘behave properly’ if I want to not be raped.

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  4. Fascinating…all the way around. So proud of you for sticking to your guns with your aunties. Laughed my a off when I read your response about knowing Bengali.
    This also made me realize how fortunate I am. I’ve had women like that in my life, but I’ve been able to systematically remove them from my life. Harder to do with family members…so, even if they are around physically…they don’t get to me mentally any more.
    You are who you are and I’m so thrilled that you share yourself with us. xo

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