Age 25: I visited the market with my Mom, who had now become 'Aunty' and I was finally 'Madam'. How I would look at newly wed young women wearing mangalsutra, beautiful dresses and lovely bangles who would come by themselves to buy the veggies. The vendors would call them 'Bhabhi' How I wondered what it would be like to shop alone and be referred to as 'Bhabhi'! The vendors became 'Bhaiyya' to me!
Age 30: I got married. My Mom was still 'Aunty'. I stayed 'Madam' and vendors stayed 'Bhaiyya'. After a year or so, whenever I was dressed in jeans and T shirts, I was 'Madam'; Salwar kameez made me 'Bhabhi'. Only the watchmen and househelps always called me 'Bhabhi'. However, little kids in the building of my sasural started calling me Aunty. I surprising felt good the first time a little kid called me Aunty. I would always wonder how I would respond to it for the first time. It was generally okay. An overdose of it felt weird though. "Aunty mat kaho na" made so much sense. At times I was happy to be seen as a grown up, at times it felt weird. But then, one day, my neighbour who was perhaps in her final year of college called me 'Aunty'. That was difficult to digest. So basically is it marriage that officially makes you 'Aunty'?
Age 34: I am permanently 'Bhabhi' / 'Aunty' for all the vendors depending on their age. I don't mind it at all now. It feels great to know how I have entered the middle age gradually. A few days ago I went shopping with my Mom. As we bargained, the vendor referred to me as 'Bhabhi' for the first time in front of my Mom while she was called 'Aunty'! That was an amazing feeling... I am glad to shop with my Mom all these years graduating from Beti to Bhabhi.
Surprisingly, the vegetable vendors stay 'Bhaiyya' for a very long phase... When we are Madam, Bhabhi and even Aunty. I guess it is the effect of having vegetables all around!
I look forward to the day when I go shopping with my Mom, when she would be referred as Maaji and I would be Aunty. And then, if I have a daughter, she would be called Beta!
So when was the first time you were called Aunty and how did you feel? Any interesting incidents?