A critical review of established Pakistani socialites…
One disadvantage of being a daughter and, on top of that, a mother’s confidante (a position I automatically assumed, being the eldest) is that only in rare instances can you be excused from the boring, mind-numbing, self-esteem-shattering socialite parties that she and her friends arrange every other week specifically to make life extremely unbearable.
As inconsiderate, misanthropic and magnificently sociopathic as I am, I try to come up with one solid excuse after another to make sure I don’t get stuck in the (proverbial) spider’s web, but things never quite go my way. So I sit there, brooding and whining to anybody who will listen about how bloody unfair it is to be forced to watch and be tortured by so many ageing women. Some take offence and never sit with me again.
Presenting the various types of aunties that have amused me on a regular basis throughout my life:
The “Jaani” Aunties:
One word that scares the bejesus out of me is “Jaan”, along with its various other forms, such as “Jaani, Jaanu, Jaaneman” etc. Who the hell came up with it anyway? When a fifty-year old lady tries to infuriate you by saying something like: “Jaani, are you 25 years old? My daughter is the same age and she has a baby now. Ripe age to get married, Jaani,” all you can think about is telling her to kindly leave you alone and walk away. Since that’d probably result in your mother disowning you for good, however, it’s best to refrain.
These aunties, with one foot in the grave and another in your business, ought to have left us a long time ago. On the other hand, considering their resilience, they’ll probably outlive us all.
The Maasi Museebtays:
Dressed not too differently from the “Jaani” Aunties, these fine, old, wrinkled women were sent by Mother Nature for the sole purpose of tormenting young people. Their chosen method is often by elaborate, unnecessary lectures on marriage, and how it is important to drop everything else in your life for one man and the resultant offspring your togetherness would bring in to the world.
Every week, they will call and drop in with a “rishta”, as if they have been warned of dire consequences (such as a permanent place in hell) if they don’t make another person’s life extremely awkward and difficult by attempting to set them up with a total stranger.
The Maya Khans:
Gossip queens. Annoying social butterflies. They know everyone in town and hunt young couples in order to be able to discuss the finer details of how such-and-such was spotted on a date with such-and-such in Café XYZ. I heard one of them exclaim: “Haye, Zohra! They were staring at each other just like they do in those Bollywood movies! No morals these ajj kal kay bachay have!”
If you ever go out with your significant other and see a woman with dyed, straightened hair and a superior “I-will-destroy-you” look on her face – run, RUN in the opposite direction, as fast as you can.
The Al-Huda Aunties:
Because they have nothing better to do – and they prefer it that way – these aunties collectively invade alcoves in posh areas once or twice a week just to hear someone preach. These fortunate women will usually harass you about your “praying habits” and be horrified if you dare disagree with their point of view. While you may do your best to avoid them like the plague, these efforts are rarely successful, and you will get subtle reminders on how to mend your ways, or else the wrath of God will slay you dead at any given moment.
God forbid, if you spot a ninja approaching, just wrap a stole/dupatta/scarf tightly around your head, look towards the sky, roll your eyes as if in direct conversation with God, and wait for them to pass.
The Human Weighing Machines:
Forget that old, dilapidated weighing instrument in the washroom that insults you every morning! Meet The Human Weighing Machines. Greet them after a four day absence, and they will be able to gauge the difference in your weight up to the last gram.
HWM: Hi beta! Look at how kamzor you have become. You girls these days don’t eat at all. Eat na! — Me: *scowl*
HWM (after two days): Haye beta! Why so fat? I have joined a gym. Why don’t you come with me too? — Me: *stay the hell away from me, woman* (under my breath, of course.)
There is no human way to deal with these beady-eyed women, so just sit tight for a few minutes while they pass comments on your shape and form. If that doesn’t stop them, just sit on them. That ought to teach them a lesson or two.
Thirteen is a grouch dispassionate about the shenanigans of the universe and all that it has spawned, yet continuing the rather Sisyphean pursuit of pointing out what ails it.
Artist bio: Joanne Renaud is an illustrator, who graduated in illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Before moving to Southern California, she studied graphic design at Central Washington University and art at the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This piece “Bunnie Antoinette” was featured in our third issue.