Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Shopping woes

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Dear Auntyji

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How are you? Aunty, I have a rather peculiar issue and I need your help with this. My new husband of just two years is the nicest man. So loving. So easy going. No tamasha. No natak. And to think that ours was an arranged marriage and I had not met him before our engagement. Now Aunty, here is my problem. I am working full time and also studying for my masters. So I try to get Vicky to help around the house. One way he really helps is by going grocery shopping for me – seeing that I have little time. Usually, I make a list for him and send him on his merry way, with strict instructions to only buy what’s on the list, and to be mindful of quality of the sabzi. He comes back, proud as punch for having done the shopping, but while he gets everything on the list, he usually returns with something that was not outlined. Now, the shopping list is made with due consideration, and I plan the week’s meals, and I know exactly what I will cook each day of the week. But he comes back with eggplant which neither of us eats, or strawberries which both of us hate, or some other random thing that I will have to throw out at week’s end. It’s not like I can’t be flexible – so if he rocks up with extra eggs I make egg curry, but most of the time, he gets things which have to be thrown out. I absolutely hate wasting food Aunty, but my encouragement has been met with some form of passive resistance. He refuses to comply with my wishes, even though he too hates wasting food. So how do I fix up this issue in an otherwise idyllic relationship?

Auntyji says

Oh dear – what a fascinating problem you have. And what a fascinating man you have married, who goes out and buys things that neither of you eat. Have you asked him why he does this? Have you tried to solve this puzzle? You know, I too hate wasting food – I find that morally and economically reprehensible. Now, you can’t take back control of the shopping, otherwise you will slowly turn your self crazy trying to manage school, home and work. So here are some options available to you. Next time your husband returns with unwanted produce, you can ask for the receipt and go back to the shop with him to get a refund on unwanted items. Alternatively, you can ask him to unpack the groceries, and ask him to throw away items you will not use. This is indeed a shock tactic – and the act of throwing recently bought food into the garbage will be quite a wakeup call for Vicky. Of course, your other option is to have an agreement with your neighbour to hand over all unwanted food items. This will be your charity act of the year. Either way, Vicky needs to understand that he is wasting hard earned money. I am quite intrigued by why he does this. Maybe he likes to buy things that he thinks you might like. What an interesting man you have there, my dear. Tell me how it goes….

Li’l Champs

Dear Auntyji

Oh my, have you seen the 2011 winner of SareGama Lil Champs? Azmat Hussain is just amazing, don’t you think? What are your thoughts on him?

Auntyji says

Well, I came across Azmat Hussain while looking for Asha Parekh songs on YouTube. That boy is just fascinating and his talent is so awe-inspiring that you have to wonder whether that type of prodigious talent is through nature or nurture. Azmat Hussain is just fabulous, and if we are fortunate, he will get a good sponsor who will nurture his talent by getting him an education which allows him to develop his gifts further. Of course, knowing how the real world operates, I would not be surprised if he was encouraged to be a Bollywood singer and in 5 years’ time, we came across him singing lowbrow Bollywood songs to an auto tune while acting in B grade movies with Rakhi Sawant as his mother and Johnny Lever as his baada bhaiya. Oh dear. This is very sad indeed. I must do something about this.

Love thy neighbour

Dear Auntyji

We live in Newtown in Sydney which as you know has many interesting types living there. Anyway, in our building lives an unusual woman. Looking at her, you’d think she was an apsara, but Aunty, when she opens her mouth, which she does often, she goes from an apsara to a churail in a heart beat. She stands on her balcony at all hours, but mostly at 3am in the morning, 6am on Sundays or at midnight on Wednesday nights and has phone conversations with people at the top of her voice where she rants, raves and screeches to her so-called friends. She calls them all names under the sun, all of which a woman shouldn’t even hear, let alone say out loud. One night at 3am, my husband yelled out shut up, and she yelled back You shut the eff up. Can you imagine? What kind of an insaan is she? The police are frequently over because someone or the other has filed an AVO against her. She has been doing this for almost 2 years now – and it’s too random to predict. I have heard that others have complained to strata, but to no avail. She lives in her own unit – so she can’t be asked to leave. Once, I wanted to write a really filthy letter and leave it under her door. Another time, I wanted to put dead roses in her mailbox. Sometimes, when the mood strikes me, I try to think of ways to irritate her, but I don’t have the courage to say anything to her face. What should I do, Aunty?

Aunty says

Well my dear, it seems like you have a genuine problem. As interesting as this lady sounds and I am sure you and your husband have compelling conversations about how to get your own back, there is only one solution left to you. Actually, you do have another option but I believe the law will not look too kindly on you if you went down this path, and besides, Gandhiji was totally against violence of any kind. So, put aside your thoughts of running down this militant neighbour with your car, or poisoning her with a freshly baked cake. Your best solution is just to move. Find yourself another place. And if you want to get all philosophical about this, think of it this way. There you have a lady, teaching you things every day about what kind of a human being not to be, and you have not learnt the lesson yet. You don’t happen to be a shrew yourself, do you? She is not holding a mirror up to your face, is she? You don’t go around abusing other people, do you? There are lessons all around us. All you have to do is open your eyes. And move to a new address.

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

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