This is a high school story – don’t roll your eyes at me! And not only is this a teenage-drama, it’s also filled to the brim with shady-Indian-Auntyness, and why they are notorious.
Once upon a decade ago, there was a girl. Let’s call her Misunderstood (M). She became friends with Naughty Girl (NG) at the start of high school. Naughty Girl was smart but very rebellious – at least, she was in the Indian community. She would skip classes, flirt with all the boys and was even rude to teachers. M and NG would always get into trouble together. However, at the end of the day, NG would always pass all her classes, but M? Not so much.
One day, M’s mother got a call from NG’s mother (Bad Aunty), who proceeded to tell her how terrible an influence M was on her saintly child. According to Bad Aunty, M was not doing well at all in school, so M’s mother should kindly tell M to stop hanging out with NG.
Of course, M’s mom graciously told Bad Aunty where she could kindly stick it and that she she was welcome to tell her own child, and her alone, whatever she wanted her to do. The real concern though was how did Bad Aunty know about the state of M’s academic records?
This is where it gets Indian. It was later revealed that M’s art teacher (Bad Teacher) had long, incriminating conversations with Bad Aunty about all of NG’s friend’s report cards. (Yes, this actually happened). And Bad Aunty literally used this information to decide who her child should be friends with, before calling their mothers to say mean things.
M’s mom approached the school about this, but had no proof, and so the case was left unresolved.
Let’s pause here to just let it all sink in.
An Indian mother is, as we know, is almost by nature, pretty nosy; but THIS? Reaching these levels of Shallow and Cruel and passing unfair judgment on other people’s children especially when your own child is lacking a moral compass is sad. On top of that, talking openly about students and their academic records is frankly no one’s business but the student’s own, and of course, her parents (funders?). End of Story! No exceptions!
Any-hoo, back to our story!
NG stopped hanging out with M soon after this, but it was ironically more heart breaking for M. She had always been judged for her school marks and she didn’t feel worthy enough. It had psychological effects on her and since then, even in success, she has always felt afraid of being perceived as ‘stupid’. It’s something that travels with her even today, more than ten years later.
Funny thing though, seeing as this is a story about Indians, is that over the years, Karma showed herself, and that too in many forms. First, was when M grew to be a rather cool person; she followed her creative roots and became a designer. She studied hard and earned her degrees, and was a legit grown up. Above all else, she was still the nice, polite human being she had always tried to be.
NG became an engineer and even got married, but promptly got divorced, and there were also many rumours of her drug (ab)use and self-medication. She was even missing for a while (like, actually not-to-be-found, but voluntarily, and for her own reasons).
The best moment for M was when Bad Aunty apologised to M’s mother for what she had done. It took her a while, but she finally realised that M had never been the the bad influence in the first place, and how she turned out was proof of this. It meant a lot to M to know that Bad Aunty had been wrong all along. It hurt to be labelled so early in life and sometimes it still hurts.
It’s uncomfortable to talk about things like this because it hits home for many of us. Being in the Indian community makes you prone to judgement from grown ass women who should mind their own business. Yet, it happens all the time! Still, always be true to yourself. The good in people will always shine through and the rotten actions of people will find regret just as powerfully.
On behalf of all the Misunderstood kids out there, don’t let the aunties get you down.