There is one four-letter word which sends a shudder through my body and makes me break out in sweat.
Believe me an Aunt can be the next deadly thing to a cobra bite. I have one and I can vouch for it.
I often wonder what is that makes them so domineering and dangerous. One look from an aunt can make you feel like a small, insignificant creature, legless and brainless.
I have been weighing many theories in this regard. But my conclusions have always been incomplete.
I asked a psychiatrist friend of mine, whom I consult occasionally for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, but he had no answers. He shrugged and said, “Aunts will be aunts. They are like a fierce dog ready to bite you on the seat of your trousers at any provocation.”
He gave me very sound advice while dealing with them – listen and speak only when spoken to. Keep the answers to the bare minimum with brevity the need or the hour.
And, when they rebuke you, just let the barb go outside the off-stump like a good opening batsman.
Instead of making it difficult for you, swallow the pride and agree to whatever she says. Suppress the ego and stamp it under your feet.
Trying to get her on your side will be difficult but keep trying. This advice sounded practical so I decide to go the whole hog to be in sync with the Aunt.
He wished me well for my future endeavours and said stay calm at all times.
But sometimes theories defy logic and reason completely. That proved the case with me.
When I tried to pick up small talk about the weather with her, she reacted strongly by saying that this unsettled weather made her ill and she may die shortly which will make me happy.
Any mention of siblings, relatives or anyone connected with family was met with a curt reply about their worthless contributions to her.
I decided to skip the small talk and instead adopted the old policy drilled from school of “speak when spoken to”. But this meant more awkward silences and a tension which cut through the atmosphere like a knife.
Then I found a method which slightly uplifted my mood. I began to count the number of days left for her to go back to her lair.
This act made life a little easier and as each day passed meant that my D-Day was nearer.
There was hope. I was within an ace of writing a novel about a man trapped in a tiger’s den with both his legs broken and trying to claw back to the human race.
The name “Silent Torture of a Tormented Soul” sprang to mind. I even imagined that it would a best seller and the whole world would appreciate except an old, stern lady sitting an armchair at home.
The Day finally arrived. With a firm “Bye, be a good boy,” she left without a smile.
Then it struck me. Aunts usually see you since the day you were born, later crawling all over the floor with snot running out of the nose like a leaking pipe.
They have seen you in the buff, cleaned your poo and wiped your dirty mouth.
In that case, one can understand her feelings. Nobody who has seen the old snotty you can respect you in later life I guess.
Elementary Eh, Watson?????