Up Close and Personal

There is a couple that is very dear to our family. They have been together for quite a number of years, but due to the desire to pursue certain professional and personal goals, they have put off having children till now.

A couple in their early to mid-thirties without children doesn’t raise half an eyebrow where I live, or where they live, but on their occasional trips to India, they are alternately interrograted,

Problem, aah?

guilt-tripped,

*Sigh* “I wonder when I will get to hold my grandchild/grandnephew”

and insulted

Girls these days with their ambitions, lofty ideas, equality and all..

with the stress on what they consider to be the most disgusting aspect of her female person.

Coming from family members who actually do care about you, in their uniquely bizzarre and twisted way, makes this okay. Even despite their almost flawless ability to turn you into a borderline homicidal freak.

Well, not okay, but Grr.. GRRRR.. %&%$ (under the breath) WHATEVER.

You get the general picture.

The lovely couple I’m referring to were recently visited by another couple. Friends of friends who were new to the city. Without so much as chit-chat about the weather or waiting for the coffee to cool, the Lady Visitor asks my friends,

So.. no kids, eh? Is there a problem?

At this point, she lowers her voice to a hush and leans into my friend, as if to indicate that she invites such intimate confidences all the time.

My girlfriend, being a normal and discreet human being, found herself totally thrown.

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is appropriate and 10 is totally inappropriate, please note how the Lady Visitor (and total stranger) whacked it out of the stadium for a stunning 60, only present on the scale of How Is This Your Frikking Business Again??

But wait. She even improved her game.

The girlfriend’s spouse, who is not easily gobsmacked, politely explained that they could not be sure if there was a problem or not since they had not actively been trying to make babies. He may even have tried to look stern, but this is always harder for nice people  and completely lost on the insensitive shmuckteroons.

She placed her hand on my friend’s arm, like the True Friend she wanted to be and said:

Don’t wait too long. It’s harder to conceive the older you get, you know.

But of course. Postgraduate education at ivy league institutions has this annoying tendency to make you forget the basic facts of biology. But hey, with such good friends, who needs biology?

Who needs to plan parenting when complete strangers will tell you that you should just f%&# a lot ASAP before your biological ship sails?

None of us is who. We are in good hands and those wrists are wearing watches dammit.

And because my head is still spinning, did I mention that THEY JUST MET THIS WOMAN??

In my book, her questions are the equivalent of going up to a complete stranger and enquiring,

Wow. That vaginal thrush infection is a real bitch, eh?

or

Doggiestyle really does it for you, huh?

I’m sorry. Was that inappropriate? Did I offend your innate sense of decency? Did I insult your good breeding? I just assumed that since we’ve known each all of two seconds now, we could just move right onto your Hoo-haa. This is just me being concerned about your well-being. Don’t be so sensitive now.

Indians get a lot of press for being lovely, informal and friendly people. This is largely the case. It is the blessing and bane of living in India that people will not leave you alone much. If you can’t find your way, if you half-faint in the middle of a street, if you’re struggling with two kids and baggage at the crowded airport, chances are that a complete stranger in the crowd will come up to you, offering their concern, help and often a pair of arms.

This is the wonderful bit. This bit will make you smile.

But what is it exactly about that welcome, that smile, that gives some people an automatic license to exercise over-familiarity? To go straight for the jugular of all that is sacred and personal and often, very sensitive?

So, in summary. NO.

Don’t ask me about my preferred form of contraception or current state of Hoo-haa unless

a) you have known me since before I had tits (which was waaaay late, but now its my turn to overshare)

b) I really, really like you and we have an instant and amazing connection. Five seconds doesn’t count.

If you’re too dumb to resist, I need you to know that I absolve myself of all responsibility for the look of hurt and disgust on your face when I casually ask whether you have recurrent dreams of getting gangbanged.

You were warned.

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60 Comments

Filed under Indianness

60 responses to “Up Close and Personal

  1. I have to take a deep breath and come back to this.

    When we were in India 2 years ago, almost everyone we knew(friends and relatives alike) asked us a)why didnt we get an abortion or b)was the 4th planned

    My mil had to put a restraining hand on my shoulder or thigh to calm me down. I got up and moved away instead of staying quiet

    • Its nothing short of ridiculous to me that people feel within their rights asking something like that.

      Asking why you didn’t abort a baby? When you are visiting with said baby???

      Hot skillet on skull is NOT painful enough for some idiots.

  2. Made me smile and snarl at the same time. I was offered these gems of advice too…after…gasp…2 months of married life…”Those pills are very bad…you could get deformed babies” and so on and so forth ( they just assumed it was pills or a problem)

    Hot skillet on arse is better, methinks.

  3. Good revenge, good revenge!

  4. supmm

    Uffff…this is one thing which really gets me pissed off.

    We’v been married for almost three years and yes we’r thinking abt kids, but no immediately which gives everybody an inalienable right to give me advise about my body clock etc etc etc. Duhhhhh!!! I don’t recall asking you. Last year at a Diwali party, I was getting so pissed off that my husband and his brother actually packed me off to the other room before I said something. Oh and why does only the woman get asked this? Is conception only the woman’s job? Does not the husband have a say in this? Why doesn’t anyone ask him when we’r going to start our family.

    Ufff MGM this is one of my pet peeves!!! Don’yt get me started on this.

    • Mom Gone Mad

      People don’t ask guys because their proud phalli might shrivel up and die.

      And we wouldn’t want that, would we? No, sirree… we don’t want to cause any performance anxiety.

      Much simpler for all if that is solely the woman’s lot!;-)

      Hot skillet next time, k?

  5. supmm

    And the worst is when people of my own age start giving me gyan. Dude I don’t care if your 26 and have 2 kids and that’s your dream, mine isin’t so stop imposing your ideas on me.

  6. Shivani

    Delurking to say that I absolutely, totally & othet tautological-words-ly agree with you on this. I do feel for your friend who had to put up with that dickbrain, but I’ll be honest & say that this post made me laugh 😀 Like LOUD!

    • Mom Gone Mad

      Thanks for delurking, Shivani:-)

      And glad it got you laughing. Ultimately, its the laughs that will get you through interactions with completely insane people.

  7. wow! I just entered my 30s – hubby is couple of years older and I get this talk all the time! people think they have earned the right to tell me cause they chose to have kids before I did! Can you believe a friend’s MIL who met me for the first time asked me why don’t u go to see a doctor – no kids right- you might have a problem!!! I was WTF – and who the hell are you to tell me that!
    I’m just ignoring everyone right now who even utters the word – conception/pregnancy/baby without me wanting to discuss the topic! I think it saves me a lot of trauma!

    • Mom Gone Mad

      What bothers me is how they cloak this rudeness, this insensitivity as concern. And a polite “that would be our business” would be interpreted as RUDE. Even though its what they deserve. So many people I know with one child, are constantly badgered about having another one without any regard for the fact that they might have actually been trying unsuccessfully..

      Hang in there, Minal. Fight the fight.

  8. And there was another spouse of a close friend who on facebook in front of whole world advised me to star a family – wow this when I’m younger to her, known me for what 3-4 odd visits, and she got married in the late 30s herself! So when I retorted elders first – she was offended and decided to cut ties with us! Her husband being the hen-pecked that he is forgot the friends we had been to him when he was a bachelor, away from home for a year and half-decided to chuck away our friendship for this dimwit of a woman! They are expecting now btw;-) We are not still so she is probably thinking yeah me one up on them! These are educated ppl – wow spare me some!
    I really wish ppl would mind their own business – cause till date I’ve never asked a person why are you not married yet, why you don’t have kids! It’s none of my business simple!

    • Mom Gone Mad

      Maybe you need to tattoo NoneOfYourBusiness on your forehead? For the slow ones?:-)

      • I think I really need to!
        What is amazing MGM is I never ask personal questions until I’ve established a comfort level with the person and the person has to start the topic first – until then I do not as a policy open my mouth! It’s amazing how insensitive ppl are and the tendency to know what is exactly wrong.
        So everyone I know is worried/bothered/inquisitive as to what are our plans for the futrue=kids! Yes I want one undoubtedly but I need to be in a place where I know I will not regret having the baby. Being over 30 does not mean you cannot bear a child right? People need to get that equation out of the head!

  9. AARRGGHH!! this brings back terrible memories!
    Utterly unable to comment coherently, but have just the skillet for the job.

  10. Hey folks- as the mother of a thirty plus daughter who has decided not to bear children, I get to hear the same kind of stuff from the well-meaning-but-oh-so-painful ^*&^*%& relatives. The ammammas I can perhaps excuse, but I get the &$#$%$%$# questionnaire from my juniors too:(
    All kamasutra experts, methinks!

  11. Mom Gone Mad

    LOL Dipali! No no dear.. if they were getting any, they would probably care less:)

    But power to you and your daughter! It takes real insight to make that kinda call.

  12. nat

    wow. wonder how the rest of the evening went.

  13. Thank you! Now I have an answer to THAT question! Till now, the best I’d come up with when someone asked me if I was pregnant YET (or some variation of that) was, “You know, that’s a great idea! In fact, let me go get started on it right now. Now where’s the Guy…?”

  14. reality sucks—and this is how it with some folks-their overfamiliarity is appalling.
    i gotta say, i have had a long day, a good day but a long one and i needed a laugh. your post did it. do you realize how funny you are??

    thanks!!! i needed this!

    as for your friend, she can very well ask this person to fuck off!

    • Mom Gone Mad

      Su, thanks!:-) Glad to be of help;-)

      My friend is unfortunately classy – its wasted on assholes, but I can’t see telling anyone to fuck off:-)

  15. zeno

    My pre Armaan encounter:

    aunty/cousin/stranger:zenine kandu padikku
    me:athinu aval sammadikyuula!

  16. Another thing I can’t stand is when people grandly announce “we’re trying for a baby”. Dude, I don’t want to imagine how you’re trying! Keep your bedroom frolic to yourself!

  17. Woah. Okay I need to wait a few more years before people start nagging me about getting pregnant.

    Right now people are nagging me about getting married.

    Why does it always have to be something or the other?!!

  18. Orange Jammies

    1. I am 31 and not racing down the aisle.
    2. Love children but am currently ambivalent about popping out my own.
    3. I live in India, amidst folks who knew the zygote that was me.
    4. This is where you all form a ring around me, chant “Poor baby” and fork over a group hug.

      • Mom Gone Mad

        You so win, sweetheart.

        But you MUST breed. Sensible people need strength in numbers. And from the looks of it, nincompoops the world over are at it.

        The force must be with us!!;-)

        • Orange Jammies

          Ah, but you see, if I were convinced I was sensible, I’d go at it like a bunny on steroids, but arriving at that specific conclusion may take me past menopause. (And I’m not sure that’s such a terrible thing.)

          @Dipali: Thank you, forever kind one!

  19. Era

    She’s induced speechlessness in me, although it would have been better had she remained speechless.

  20. maidinmalaysia

    even when i was pre-teen, i knew that i shouldnt ask a married woman if she had kids —
    i remember thinking that “isnt that personal?”…

    sheesh.

  21. KT

    Delurking, as I HAD to comment on this one.
    We’d been married for six years before we decided we were mature enough to handle a kid. And boy! Were those six years a pain! Every wedding we went to, I’d get asked the same question. “No, kids, huh?”. And one crazy female actually had the balls to poke me in my tummy and ask “Enthengilum problem undo?” And this, while I was on stage for my BIL’s wedding. Hubby was in the US at that time, and me in B’bay doing masters. So I blushed and told her. “Actually, I badly want to have a kid right now. Do you think he’d mind if I got pregnant when he’s not around?”
    And that was that! Now I am the arrogant bahu of the family!!
    *sigh* People, I tell you!

  22. Nice Post. Hugely enjoyed reading it! 😉

  23. Chooch

    LOL!at Zeno’s award-winning comment and your post!Never knew a skillet could be put to so many uses!:D
    Seriously,unless you’re an Obstetrician/Gynae,there’s really no need to have any such discussions and ONLY if you’re asked for an opinion!?

  24. ys

    Hm, my responses have been the following, and believe me they are VERY effective :).

    1. To mild inquirers: just smile and make them feel as if I am condescending to hear them.

    2. To insensitive dimwits: “Aunty (or whoever it is), I will surely ask you when I feel the need for your advice on this”. I say this either gravely or joyously depending on the circumstance.

    In both cases, people close to me are aware that I am giggling away within about it! I’ve been happily married for a dozen years and neither of us wants a kid. We fully respect the decisions of other couples in the matter, and help them with their pregnancy/infants when we can. My family has had no choice but to confusedly accept us the way we are ;).

  25. Oh I get that a lot!I’m used to my MIL going on about it all the time but when others offer advice….Few weeks ago, this old classmate of my husband calls up (after 21 years mind you!). After the initial pleasantries he asks the usual “how many years have you been married, how many kids do you have”.He then proceeds to tell my husband, “you are 41 years old, not old enough to have major problems, why don’t you visit a doctor”? My husband mumbled something about personal choices etc etc, he’s too polite to say anything stronger. I guess I should be happy the “friend” didn’t ask about my gynecological issues!

  26. Nice post, MGM. But I can’t understand for the life of me why you girls aren’t just letting this pass, because you DO know better. Or giving it to them in the same coin as KT did (yay, KT) and not just threatening to do it. Even better, take print outs of this post and hand it to them 🙂 These things, honestly, are too funny when you think about it in retrospect.
    That said, I’ve always been career and life driven. With a divorce behind me, when I married the man of my dreams, I decided I wanted a child right away. And I didn’t hear the end of it. So soon? We thought you weren’t that type. And to make it worse, in true rabbit style, my second baby came when my first was 14 months old. Do I need to tell you what else I heard apart from, “Enough now. No more okay?”? Er, okay, why don’t you tie my tubes as well.

    • Mom Gone Mad

      ROFL! Yeah, they should just have a tube tying function for meddlesome auntie-types!

      And no, I normally don’t let things pass:-)

  27. oh well! my SiL asks me every single time we meet when do we plan to have a 2nd. and i keep telling her like the first it will be after you! said we perform well only under pressure! :p

    but its usually (hopefully) harmless banter. my ma in law is perennially worried that we may adopt asking anxiously “doc ne bol diya hai ki doosra nahi ho sakta?” because i had l’il trouble with first one!

    frankly i just ignore them all. most strangers esp dont even realise they are being rude. they feel its normal. but people who are close tend to ask you intentionally! 😦

    cheers!

  28. ps: ofcos the post inspite of all the meanness was hilarious! and so were the comments! 🙂

    • Mom Gone Mad

      Hey Abha! Welcome! There is no doubt that the asking is intentional even though the intent to hurt always isn’t:-)

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