Ask Auntiji: Parent tension and smoke solution

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Parent tension
Dear Auntyji,
The holiday season is coming closer and I am getting more and more tense. And I’ll tell you why. I am married to an Aussie and he has a large family here, so it is understood that we will celebrate Christmas at his parents’ home, as we do every year. But my parents who live in Melbourne, have decided to come to Sydney and spend the holidays with us. Naturally, they have been invited to the Xmas party, but I am very nervous about it. You see, I come from a very conservative Indian family, and although we have lived in Australia since I was six, my parents have hardly any Aussie friends.  They have a large social circle of Indian friends, but my father didn’t even go to his office parties because he does not drink and he is vegetarian. My husband’s family are meat-eaters and beer-guzzlers, and the vegetarian menu for the party is only salads. My mother is very particular about hygiene, so I can’t even imagine how she will react if someone uses their fingers to put a barbequed aloo in her plate. Samaj mein nahin aata, ke kya karon. My parents seem quite keen to meet my in-laws and the extended family, but I feel that they will be shocked and maybe even angry to see what kind of a family I have married into. What to do Auntyji, should I pretend to be sick and make them stay home with me?
Auntyji says:
Something tells me that you are behaving more conservative than your parents. Arre nalayak, just because your parents have an Indian social circle, doesn’t mean that they are completely ignorant about Aussie ways. Don’t they work in Aussie offices and read Aussie newspapers? Or do they only read Indian Link?
And its not like all Indians don’t drink alcohol and eat meat. Many do both!
Your parents are most likely very well aware of the kind of people who will be at the party, and they are probably quite curious to see this new breed of family into which their beloved beti has married. They don’t need you to make them feel awkward and self-conscious. If they had any reservations, they would have made some excuse not to attend.
Thoda soch samajke, you will see the solution. At these gatherings, mostly everyone brings a plate of food. You take two, some delicious aloo bondas (less mirchi) or paneer pakoras, and some tomato or lemon rice which your parents can safely enjoy. That way, they will be able to have their lunch as a part of the spread, without having to surreptitiously carry a dhaba for them.
Get your dad to sit with a glass of coke, which everyone there will assume is a bourbon mixer. Problem solved!
Aur yaad rakhna, Australia is more multicultural than you imagine, so I’m sure your parents will be treated with respect and they will have a good time. So relax and enjoy yourself too!
Smoke solution
Dear Auntyji,
My problem has to do with one specific New Year’s resolution. Every single year since I was 20, I have vowed not to smoke a cigarette in the New Year. And every single year, at the New Year party I am attending, I have a few drinks and then have a smoke. What’s going on Auntyji, why can’t I stick to my resolution? I am not a regular smoker but I can’t kick the butt because I feel I have already broken my New Year’s resolution on the very first day of the new year. It’s a hopeless situation, please help me Auntyji! I don’t want to bring in this New Year with a smoke!
Auntyji says:
Hmmm, your problem is a tricky one, because your reasoning seems somewhat convoluted. You refuse to give up smoking because you break your New Year’s resolution not to smoke immediately after making it, and that decision reflects on the whole year. Well, there is not just one easy solution but two, only you have to convince your bhurji bheja that either is the right one for you.
First, make a New Year’s resolution to keep smoking, and then automatically your brain will do the opposite, and you won’t smoke on the New Year. You can then maintain that logic for the rest of the year and not smoke.
The second solution is to make a resolution to not smoke from the second day of the year. So enjoy that cigarette on January 1, knowing that it will be the last for the rest of the year. Either way, you’re a winner. Samaj mein aaiye baat? Or is my reasoning too complicated for you? Also, for each day you smoke, think of the eventual consequences – just look at the packaging for inspiration. Chhod do, gandha aur bekaar habit hai!

The original Australian sub-continental agony aunt. Email: info@indianlink.com.au

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