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Of Didi, Aunty & Madam #MyFriendAlexa

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You’re looking beautiful, Aunty.’

The teenaged girl with braces had to repeat this line thrice, before I realised her compliment was directed at me.




These were my thoughts when I was first called by the term every woman hates being addressed by, ‘Aunty‘.

Then I told myself that being newly married probably gives one a leg up in the respect department, whether you like it or not, and consoled myself at being called ‘Aunty’.

I have been a universal ‘Didi’ ever since my sister was born when I was 3 and a half years old, and have never given being addressed as thus much thought. Until Mamta Didi came along, but then that is the matter for another blog post.

An Aunt is a close and intimate relationship, denoting a sister of either of your parents. I still marvel at the ease at which we slip into addressing anyone and everyone thus. Yes, even I call people ‘Aunty’ and ‘Uncle’.


But then our hypocritical Indian Society and upbringing dictates it.

‘Don’t address elders by their name’. * why do they have names then? *

‘Show respect to elders’. * whether they deserve it or not *

Which is why, ‘Aunty’ and ‘Uncle’ seem to be the safest terms to address anyone you are introduced to, or know remotely, or even not at all.

Why does being addressed as ‘Aunty’ rile women up? Click To Tweet

For one, we do not want to be anyone’s ‘Aunty’ unless we are related to them. Even the ones we are related to address us with various variants of it, ‘Maasi’, ‘Bua, ‘Chachi’ and the like.

So when unknowns and unrelated call us Aunty, we wonder, if we don’t know you from Adam’s how are we your Aunt? Got it?!

Then there is this, ummmmm, image we have in mind that an Aunty is someone who is elderly. No idea where that thought came from, but that is the general thought behind the dreaded A word.

If you thought Didi and Aunty were the only terms that rile me up, let me tell you that ‘Madam’ is another word I abhor! ‘Madam’ is a School Principal. ‘Madam’ is a Teacher. ‘Madam’ is Sonia Gandhi.

Madam is not me! Don’t Madam me, please!

So which is the safest way to address me? I have simplified it to a single alphabet.

Just call me ‘M’.

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  1. Haha..It was a fun read. I still remember the time when I got married and a 5-year-old called me aunty for the first time. It took me some time to accept the fact that I am officially an aunty now.

  2. This reminded me of Pummy aunt of Hum Panch. Even it took me a while to realize that am forcefully called aunt after flaunting marriage symbols. When I miss that sindoor, I am to didi. Funny post.

  3. Hehehe!!
    No wonder I stuck to the word M so much. Phew… I am safe 😉 Lol
    Lovely read M, I have noticed the way this younger generation is coming up (probably they are taught this in schools or by peers) they do not address others with Auntys or Uncles.
    I have observed Kavya calling many times that man, the lady as references. I remember during our childhood days our whole immediate universe were filled with uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.

  4. Mayuri Nidigallu Anagha Yatin

    Such a heartfelt, light and tongue n cheek article, M!
    British left India but forgot to take “Aunty” with them. We Indians adopted it and made it “Aunty ji” Unfortunately its roots run so deep that its simply impossible to weed it out. Poor us!

  5. Yes, uncle & aunty is a universal word from English! Most of our Indian languages do have dedicated words for every relation. But then, we seldom know or use it.

  6. Mayuri Nidigallu Varsh

    That ‘Aunty mat kaho na’ line from Hum Paanch was for fun but it indeed isn’t fun in real life. Funny, but my husband has fallen into the Uncle category due to his greying hair and slightly visible bald. I’m still the Didi for many. 😀
    Those who call me Aunty are poor-sighted souls. Why worry about them? 😛 And yes, choosing to call you M was a wise decision. I can take down my shields. 😉

  7. Noted M 🙂 Will always take care. Like you I too abhor nu academy students addressing me any of these ways. Roma is good enough for me.

  8. Haha! That teenage girl has provoked you by calling aunty. Even we boys hate being called uncle. Thus we donate one another by adding bhai after the name to show some respect.

  9. Mayuri, I am literally laughing out loud. I’ve been addressed at aunty even before I had my son. Being on the heavier side, it was assumed that I am elder as well. Such ridiculous benchmarks of the society, I tell you. Awesome post.

  10. Mayuri Nidigallu Neha Sharma

    Hahaha, omg that’s a fun post. You won’t believe but I was called aunty by a little boy when I was doing my masters. Thankfully that word never bothers me. It seems I had accepted this fact quite early that sooner or later I will be stepping into this aunty uncle category, why not start embracing it before time. 😀

  11. Hehehe….I truly agree to every bit. I was called uncle in class 7 Getting married, grey hair surely promotes one to the next level of salutation.

  12. Hahaha! Totally agree, no Aunty, no Madam and definitely not Bhabhiji! Down south, you become ‘mami’ the counterpart of aunty! Don’t know which is worse! I just pray I am not elevated to ‘mataji’ status too soon!!

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