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Dear Aunty D: November 2022

by Aiden

In need of social graces in school or marriage? Aunty D has you covered!

Chubby Cheeks

Dear Aunty D,

I have just entered high school and have had chubby cheeks all my life. While most people in my immediate friends and family are accustomed to how I look, when distant relatives visit, my cheeks are suddenly the centre of their attention. My uncle from India has come to live with us, and he can’t stop himself from pinching my cheeks whenever he is around. It was okay when I was younger, but I feel embarrassed when he does that now. He is here for another two months, and I don’t know how to ask him to back off, politely. 

Dear Chubby Cheeks,

The sooner you (wo)man-up to this cheek-pinching uncle the better. Seat yourself squarely in front of him in the presence of your parents, so that all parties concerned equally understand that you, as a mature person, are addressing an issue which is important to you. Keep your hands in your lap and at no cost touch your cheeks. Then with all due respect, but with a firm undertone, tell him you don’t want undue attention to your cheeks or any particular feature of yours. Then promptly make your exit with grace and purposefulness; squashing all avenues for discussion/explanation.  


Dear Aunty D,

I have recently moved to Bangkok and am enrolled in one of the international schools, as the norm goes for Indians in Thailand. I don’t have too many friends here since it has barely been any time since the start of the year. Most of the time, I’m awkward in class, and want to be left alone doing my own thing. But there is a girl in my class who constantly keeps looking at me and looks away whenever our gazes meet. I feel like calling her out on this silly behaviour, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Does she want to be friends with me?

Dear Peek-a-boo

As a new student, saying that you’d rather be left alone is sending a very stand-offish body message, which isn’t a great way to start your life in a new school and a new country, unfriended. Look on the bright side and assume she’s keen to become your first friend. So, rather than continuing this I-see-you-but-don’t game, go right up to her and introduce yourself, with a little more detail than how the teacher introduced you to the class. Go from there – the worst that can happen is she’ll snub you and you can go back to being left alone, like you wanted!

Move Out, Marry, or (Metaphorically) Kill

Dear Aunty D,

My only son, now 30, has been the most challenging part of our lives for the past few years. My husband and I are both early risers and like to have a quiet and simple lifestyle, contrary to our son, who is an outgoing extrovert who loves socialising and inviting people over. While I was okay with taking care of his mess until a few years ago, my ageing bones have no more energy to clean up after him. We have repeatedly asked him to find a partner or move into a different accommodation so we can be free of responsibility. Still, he doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. How do we get through to him?

Dear Move Out, Marry, or (Metaphorically) Kill,

Your son is the product of our Indian culture that’s nullified the parents’ needs and desires and made the sole reason of our existence to perform our kartavya (duty) towards our young till our very last breath. Instead of teaching them to fish, we spoon-feed them fish (pooree/cholae or halwa), kitchen-to-mouth service. Though many of your relatives will chide you and tut-tut-tut your stance, I’d cheer you on, to do what we scorned the Western parents for. Offer him an ultimatum; he either leaves and fends for himself, or he’ll need to start paying towards his boarding, lodging and adhere to your timings like in any decent B&B!

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