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Dear Aunty D: April 2022

by Aiden

Aunty Dolly gives advice, from navigating ‘outdated’ traditions to feeling like a failure.

Plain Jane Turned Pretty Preeti

Dear Aunty D,

My cousin is the belle of the town. I’m sure you’ve seen her in community fashion shows and even in an ad or two. Thing is, she isn’t what I would term traditionally beautiful. Her features are not symmetrical and she is not fashionably slim, but she knows how to do her hair and makeup, and wears only the latest trends in couture. However, the popularity has gone to her head and now in public she won’t associate with her daughter, my niece, who is dark and chubby and a little bit of a plain jane, forgetting that she herself used to be that plain jane back in the day. I can’t stand the hypocrisy. What do I do?

Dear Plain Jane Turned Pretty Preeti,

It’s regrettable that your cousin, knowing how it feels to be a no-looker, is shunning her daughter like an ugly duckling and thereby damaging the girl’s self-worth and the trust factor in herself and others for life. She’s also losing out on a mother-daughter relationship which is uniquely beautiful and one that’ll remain evergreen, well beyond when her looks and her friends no longer flatter her. Please be supportive and try boost your niece’s self-confidence, by encouraging her to build on her character and skills, which will give her the assurance and the independence she will need to walk through her life, on her own.

Does Olden Always Mean Golden?

Dear Aunty D,

While she’s very liberal and modern in other aspects, my mum is still very traditional when it comes to her in-laws – she still touches my granny’s feet and insists that I do Sat Sri Akaal to granny and grandpa first thing every morning. She also insists that I go see them every time I come home at the end of the day, before I’ve even talked to my own parents. I have nothing against our traditions, but I feel like I don’t relate to a lot of them, especially the ones that even my cousins don’t follow anymore. Would it be unforgivably rude if I just…chose not to do them? 

Dear Does Olden Always Mean Golden?

Sadly, with your generation, who have their noses buried in social media, these practices may seem like a waste of time. Luckily, you are blessed to have a mother who is sensibly bridging the generation divide through old traditions that are based on love and respect. In fact, please add a daily hug for your mum and dad. Obviously, your grandparents have walked for decades longer than you and your mum on this planet, and through their experiences they’ve gathered a treasure trove of wisdom, which they pass on to you through their blessings, peppered with a generous amount of love. By touching your dadee’s and dada’s feet, your mum is getting a bonus of a good spine stretch!

Reverse Midas Touch

Dear Aunty D,

I’m a serial failure and a total disappointment to both myself and my parents. Even as a child I was just ok-ok in everything – grades, sports, extra curricular achievements; I didn’t have many hobbies and I had maybe two close friends growing up. Even then, I still feel like I peaked in secondary school as now I can’t even say I’m mediocre in what I do. I’ve been ‘between jobs’ for going on two years, everything I touch turns to trash, and I can’t put myself out there professionally, socially, or even romantically. How do I get out of this rut? 

Dear Reverse Midas Touch,

Frankly, mediocrity is badly underrated in today’s world of extremes; if you are not super successful, then you are a completefailure. However, the reality is that there’s nothing more natural in human conditioning than being average; the semblance of balance comes across best in the world of mediocre people. So, stop agonising about your perceived failures and see yourself in totality. You might never become a Neil Armstrong, or an Einstein, but you can realistically set goals around the strengths that are uniquely yours and those that you can play up in your personal and professional fronts to slowly, but surely, get out of this rut that’s mostly inside your head. 

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