Remember Aunt Petunia and how she’d spy on the neighbors? Imagine if Aunt Petunia went one shade loonier and actually walked up to you and started asking personal questions.
That’s what’s been happening to me.
I live in a relatively quiet neighborhood: nobody yells much. No fights break out. Nothing ever happens. Maybe except for the streets getting carpeted by yellow flowers I don’t know the name of.
And of course, the many, many pigs. No wonder they call pigs the first citizens of this place, this pigsty. I’m sorry I mention pigs a lot, but there happens to be just SO many of them!
My Malaysian friend actually quit eating pork after she saw the sheer pig-overpopulation.
So anyway, back to my Aunt Petunia-ish neighbors. I make it a point to go jogging religiously everyday. One of my neighbors, and her gaggle of other nosy people, make it a point to sit outside her house the minute she sees me come out of mine. And every effing day, this, er, woman asks me a new personal question. I have to actually take my ear buds out and talk to her. Indian values.
When older people ask you questions, you’re bound to answer. If you don’t, they actually blame your parents for not having set a good example.
What. The. Major. Thingamajig.
Today she asked me, “What does your Dad do?”
I’m pretty sure tomorrow it’s gonna be, “How much does your Dad make?” People here are obsessed with money. There’s this one guy who actually asked my friend and me how much “donation” we paid to get into med school. The guy was a total random stranger!
Since I’m currently the only Bengali on the block, people try to place my language – “Hello, you random stranger with the ear buds, are you Marathi? No? Tamil? No? Then what? Why? Why are you here?”
Erm, woman. I pay my rent. And my bills. I don’t intrude into your personal space. Back off!
These people need to stop being racists. Just because I’m practically an outsider, I’m still Indian. Right? You can’t judge me or ask me personal questions about my family background, shoe size, et cetera.
Next thing you know, she’ll be inviting herself over. Oh Dear God.