Ask Auntyji: Relationships


There’s no issue too big or too small, whatever your problems, AUNTYJI can solve them all!

Relationship Advice.Indian Link

Helping the help

Dear Auntyji,

My wife and I have been married for seven years. She is a very good wife and mother, but she has a very bad habit that has recently caused us all manner of strife in our otherwise happy home.

When we are here in Australia, my wife is nice to everyone. She smiles and talks gaily and is as happy as a ras malai. But when we go to India for our family holidays, something happens and she turns into this monster. Let me be specific. My wife is wonderful with everyone but she berates the helpers with such ferocity that I am left reeling. She will scold them for all manner of minor misdemeanours, and over the past three visits, this has been the only cause of argument for us. I keep telling her that no one deserves to be spoken to like that, and that my wife should let her sweet nature rule. Sometimes the dhobiwali is left in tears. So, the last time we went on holidays, I told my wife that if she pulled such a stunt again, I would record her and upload it to Facebook.

I was pleased to see her behaviour change, until I was reviewing my video footage and realised that five days earlier, I had inadvertently left the video recorder on while I went to the lobby to pick up a parcel. In the 10 minutes while I was gone, my wife had a go at Bela the cook. When I returned, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But then, my son told me that every time I left the house over the four weeks on our holiday, my wife yelled at the domestic helper. I was so furious and decided to upload the video to our Facebook account. I think you can imagine the rest, Auntyji. My wife has not spoken to me and there is definitely a chill in the air. I don’t feel any remorse for what I did, because she had been warned, and this is more a demonstration of her character – she behaves differently when she is being watched by me. So what are your thoughts, Auntyji? How do I resolve this pickle I am in?

Relationship Advice.Indian Link

Auntyji says

OMG! Cry me a river, Sheru!  Man, you are not in a pickle, you have become the entire chutney! That was seriously the most scorched-earth policy I have ever seen instigated for a ghar ka drama. You would have to be the most courageous admi ever, or the most nasamajh – or even the most righteous for following through on your actions.

Now, I am not one for promoting acts of aggression in the household, but I think this one deserves special dispensation. On the face of it, your wife showed her true character by engaging in aggression when you were not around to witness it. Berating a domestic helper is the hallmark of a weak, insecure and often horrible person. I have no sympathy for anyone who treats other people like that. Unless the domestic helper has just poisoned nani, or run off with your spouse, they deserve to be treated the same way as any other person. Your wife brought this on herself, if you were to look at it from a logical point of view.

But, in the spirit of ensuring that there is domestic bliss, perhaps showing your wife the video and asking her to explain, would have been a more loving way of dealing with this situation, rather than uploading to Facebook and making a fool out of her. She humiliates the helper, you humiliated her, and the cycle continues. Nothing has changed.

A conversation is in order. Talk to her and tell her that perhaps uploading the video was reckless and you should have showed it to her to demonstrate how much of a dayan she looks when she is going kali on Bela the cook. Other than this, I have no other advice to give. The damage is done, so I guess I’ll be leaving. You are a courageous man. Happy wife, happy life. That thought never crossed your mind when you pressed upload? Dimaag kidhar tha, mere sher dil?

Mark of love?

Dear Auntyji,

My fiancé of 12 months has just told me that he will get a tattoo of my name on his bicep and I am appalled. I am not a god that deserves this type of devotion. How do I stop him from going ahead with it? I have seen drawings of my name – Shayna – in various scripts on his computer. When he is happy with the look and it is just so, he will get it tattooed. Auntyji, I am beside myself because I hate tattoos. I think they are rather common and vulgar and every second person walking down the street has one. It’s mindless conformity and I am not in favour of it. But how do I tell Chris that this is a bad idea? I have told him countless times that I hate tats but ladka meri baat suntha hi nahi hai. Can you make a suggestion please?

Relationship Advice.Indian Link

Auntyji says 

Oh, my sweet gulabo, truer words have never been spoken. Tattoos, once the preserve of sailors, criminals and tribal cultures, have been appropriated by the mainstream – by people who are essentially saying that they will never ever change their mind about anything.

Where once tattoos were a cultural marker, with significance and meaning, today they have become meaningless in their ubiquity. Tattoos in urban settings, unless they are of Ganesha or Hanuman on your back, or on the back of a Yakuza or on the face of a Polynesian, are meaningless. ‘I love Rosie’, or ‘Namaste’ or the yingyang symbol are an eyesore.

So now that my preaching is done, how to solve your problem? Easy. Casually drop into conversation with Chris that you’re considering changing your name because it’s too ethnic sounding or you now know a girl with the same name and you hate her or that you are tired of this name. Come up with any reason, it doesn’t matter. The point is, you’re considering changing your name. Then go to the online site of Births Deaths Registry whatever, and download name change forms and leave them lying about the house. Then, start the process of choosing a new name for yourself. Keep coming up with new names and insist Chris calls you by your new name for a week while you work out whether you like it or not. This will delay Chris tattooing your name on his person. The risk you run of course, is that bogan Chris will decide that instead of your name, he wants a picture of you tattooed on his back, or some other image. If he decides to do this, threaten to call off the wedding. I mean, if you hate tats, why is he insisting on going down this road? Is this his attempt at getting out of the marriage? This is the question I would be asking him. Maybe it’s not about the tat at all. Maybe it’s about you, Shayna…

The original Australian sub-continental agony aunt. Email:
Previous articleLearning by example
Next articleA race to equality