When Bata heeled us , and mostly only after the shareholder coupon came in. The Ambassador took the whole neighbourhood to school and Doordarshan delighted us with wonder balloon and kanmani poonga. The aunty from phoren was a much awaited arrival. Moment Aunty would come all of us would put on our best frocks and be asked to entertain aunty with loud carnatic music and dance wthout any music. Then aunty would then go Wow thats awesome and put her hand into her sack of goodies. This is why we loved aunty . She would come with a box full of gifts to be distributed. She had gifts according to relations and how much the desi mama sucked up to the green card . Since we were tier 1 we always got our first pick. frocks in bright colours , ribbons , lip stick , stickers and then toys that came free with mc. donalds. Those days we thought you had to have really done some major karma to get these goodies. Aunty would not drink our water or eat our food , but would wear bright silk saris and lots of malli poo . Our cook would say maha lakshmi powder potta namma rukumani thaan.She would always tell us about back home ... where you could buy 100 chocolates at the same time .100 chocolates patti would say ... Kamakshi did you hear that where my daughter lives she can buy 100 chcoolates !! . Even patti was enamoured by the phoren daughter. Patti would get american snow for her face , hundreds of used plastic dabbis for keeping her vibhuti colection and of course the chocolates.I wasnt sure whether I really liked this aunty . I always thought she was more of a santa mami . Everytime someone came home she would hug them and go Aww and give a gift. My poor amma always had the worst of the Aunty. She had to cook meals with mineral water , the rice had to be the right glycemic index and in return amma always got advice on how to keep a good home , and how to freeze food in plastic dubbas .Amma never understood what was the point of cooking too much , stuffing it in a dubba and putting a sticker on it. Amma would get lots of make up and conditioner with the strict warning that they were prized possesions from sams club pick of the month .
Aunty would buy mops , duster cloths for the servants . Those poor souls would keep the duster cloth safely ,they thought a phoren cloth had to be used only on phoren stuff .. so only the computer got its weekly spa ritual.
Amma always was proud of my long hair . It was something she had nurtured for years with oil and shika. Even during the worst drought , water would be hand pumped for my head bath. So Amma would then take a little of Aunty´s conditioner and rub it all over my hair . That condtioner bottle saw me through my school years. It came to our house when I was three and even managed my school graduation. If I had a dance program Amma would even be liberal and use two drops of the conditioner.
Over the years the aunty has had to try hard to win our love . Her wonder shredder and magic bullet doesnt cut with Amma. She is the queen of micro wave now and can very easily can have a kolu of only tupper ware . She tells Aunty try our Tupper dabbas they even have anjali pottis , you know and they are even dish washer safe.. you should take it back home
Aunty finds it hard to now be just a normal aunty . Her american tamil is no longer new . Every girl speaks american better than the americans . Her back home stories dont excite us anymore . But now aunty decided to bring her daughter and her kids to up the buzz around her .She would insist that her grand kids bathed in our bubble top water and that only expensive milk was given to them. Even brushing teeth would be only with Aquafina ( pronounced Acca fina by our thambis).
Even patti finds that tough to swallow. Yen di Raks ( see Rukumani went through the american loop and came out raks)it is too much i say if vegetables are washed so much there will no taste...
But aunty´s daughter , aunty jr. our cousin tries hard to be one of us. Although she hates our guts when we jump into any auto or leap out to attack any man calling them saar . And she cant understand how suddenly we insist we are ladies and say saar konjam side . She undersatnds we are the power mamis . we have our madisars and our vodka and back home is preferably a nice place in chennai .Even back in her home .. they find that tough to follow... because in the end namma vazhi is always thanni vazhi....