Sumati Huber gives a scarily accurate rundown of what we should truly fear.
It’s that scary time of the year where people dress up in costumes and are force-fed treats from strangers. No, we aren’t referring to your latest family gathering, but Halloween (31st October), which is commercially celebrated around the world. “But Halloween is not Indian!” you may be saying righteously. Yes, you are correct, but we Indians do put up with our fair share of terrifying things all year round. Hide under the covers and brace yourself if you are…
Caught with a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Does your teenage child keep asking to invite a foreign ‘friend’ over for dinner because he/she just really likes Indian food? Watch out bacha, we know what tricks you are up to when you claim to be “studying with Pooja”. No way will your parents let you end up with a person who can’t pronounce your name in the proper desi accent. You may think you are being sneakily smooth but you’ve already been spotted by the watchful eyes of society going all around town with said ‘friend’ and your imminent departure to a boarding school in India is pending.
Without a maid or nanny for a period of time.
Many of us can’t even locate the water glasses once our helpers come in and make our daily existence effortless. But horror of horrors, suddenly your maid needs time off, or disappears altogether! Which old, torn T-shirt has she been using to wipe the mirrors? Where are the serving spoons? Will you even be able to serve anything without your helper around? How can you ever go out again if there’s no one to watch yourkids? There’s nothing gloomier than having to cancel your life when your maid isn’t there and you feel your house is falling apart.
Darker, fatter and more tired than usual.
Always with lipstick and a full face of foundation that doesn’t usually match their neck, the well-groomed women of society know that appearances matter. But hide your sons if they have to come face to face with a monster who dared to get a tan, gained a little weight, and looks fatigued. It’s ghastlier than anything you could encounter in a haunted house. The only way to fix this evil is to point out to the victim whatexactly is wrong with her appearance, so she knows not to commit the same atrocity next time.
Studying a non-Indian-approved profession.
Indians are doing a lot more than just being doctors these days, with a varied array of entrepreneurs joining the ranks. Saving lives is cool and all but who is going to save you when you’re craving the best homemade achaar that only your savvy aunt is pickling and selling around town? But a line must be drawn, especially if you decide you’re going to quit school because you can totally make it as the next big social media influencer for your cool fashion or artistic (non)sense. For that, you may be at the receiving end of mummy’s slipper.
‘Old’ and unmarried.
You could dress up as a ghoul, witch or zombie but nothing evokes more scares than the absence of blood- red sindoor along the parting of your hair. Pushing 30 and over with no life partner in sight is enough to make the witches of society cast spells of dismay over their bubbling cauldron of chai. But hey, there’s no harm if they can conjure up some magic potions to help your haunted love life.
An unreformed party girl and mother of two, writer, editor and observer Sumati Huber tries to make sense of our unique Thai-Indian society and the aunties that she will one day become.