First World Problems: Drinking To Deflect
By Judy Balan
First World Problems is a weekly advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org (confidentially!) if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.
PROBLEM: Ever since my wedding last year, when I turn down a drink, everyone gives coy, speculating glances at my stomach. I’m not pregnant, we’re not even trying to get pregnant for some time. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like drinking, but lately I’ve found myself drinking even when I don’t want to, just to avoid those looks. What to do?
They still do that? It’s just one of those annoying Indian things, I suppose. Like randomly introducing divorced people: “Judy, meet X. X, Judy is also divorced!” I mean, I don’t know what aunty expects is going to happen here. Maybe she thinks divorced people get together all the time and talk about Eat, Pray, Love. But I hate to burst her bubble because she usually just stands there looking pleased with herself for this random act of kindness. In her defence, she totally nailed the random part. Anyway, she means well and I’m mostly amused by these things.
I digress. If it bothers you, the only way to shut up an Indian aunty (by the way, when I say ‘aunty,’ I don’t mean an older woman, I mean someone with pre-historic ideas about marriage, gender roles, and such) is by using the Shock and Naw method. So the next time you catch aunty sneaking a glance at your stomach, randomly declare out loud that you’re not going to have children. (SHOCK.) Then, before she goes into rant mode about modern women, fake a sniffle and say, “Because we can’t.” (NAWWWWW.) Rest assured, there will be no glances stomachward henceforth. And if/when you do have a baby, they’ll think you’re some kind of science-defying saint, and you can always go with it and make a lot of money.
PROBLEM: What’s your advice for handling the crazy WhatsApping moms of my daughter’s classmates? I don’t want to mute the group on the chance I miss important info. But 99% of it is ridiculous. How can I tell them to chill with the whatsapping and save the ranting for something important?
I feel that way about all WhatsApp groups. I think even otherwise normal people start feeling this peculiar, compulsive urge to wish each other good morning and report the most boring details of their existence when they join a Whatsapp group. Oh, and the memes … phew. But you can’t leave. When you leave, it says “Judy has left his conversation” — like you just got up in a huff and left in the middle of an actual, sensible conversation. It makes you seem rude and obnoxious when it’s actually the other way around. And no, you can’t ask them to chill. Because you said it yourself – 99% of it is ridiculous. Clearly, there’s just a handful of us who don’t enjoy the ridiculous. Maybe we should find our own app: NothingsApp/ShutApp. Or start a petition for WhatsApp to remove the group feature. But then… WhatsApp will leave that conversation.
For now, I just have all my groups except work-related ones on mute. I check WhatsApp often enough not to miss out on anything important. It’s not a solution, but at least I’m spared the incessant beeping that informs me that, somewhere, a halfwit has awakened and started his day.