Sunday, 29 November 2015

The first of the last

Friends and relatives are curious as to why I named my upcoming series 'The LAST diaries of Auntie Christina'. 'Why do you have to use the word "last", Chris?' they asked, the dismay apparent in their voices and on their faces. We fiftysomethings have a strange aversion to certain words...death, aging, funeral, sickness, wrinkles, dementia, ..and to a certain extent, last. I assured them that no, I was in no danger of passing on unless the Almighty deem it necessary to remove me in a jiffy. More blanching, head wagging and hand wringing when I said this. As if these natural responses would alter the Almighty's mind to remove me if they did so.  Yes, I have to use the word 'Last' because these are going to be my last diary entries. I can't be the curious case of Christina Jee. (Remember F. Scott Fitzergerald's "The curious case of Benjamin Button") Nor do I want to, even if granted the wish. Much as aging is unpalatable to me, finding myself growing younger and younger each day is even more unthinkable. For once, I just want to be normal and age and die just like every living thing on earth.

In the end, I said, 'Just consider this first book 'The last diaries of Auntie Christina 2014'  as the first of the last diaries I will ever write.' Most were satisfied with that declaration.

Then came the outcry. 'Why do you have to call yourself "Auntie"? I thought you were averse to that honorific.' Oh yes, I can remember well the first time I was called 'Auntie' by a fruit seller. I was choosing some oranges then.  My head reared up to incinerate him with my laser eyes. Oblivious to the negative vibes I was sending him, he tried to hard sell his oranges, lauding their sweetness to the skies. Needless to say, I left him to enjoy his magnificent oranges by himself.

Back at home, I stood before the mirror and assessed the image reflected in the mirror. An Auntie I had become. In Malaysia the honorific 'Auntie' is used as a form of kindly address to an older woman to whom one is not related. Needless to say, every normal female dreads the moment when she translates from a hot desirable 'Miss/Madam' to a motherly comfy 'Auntie'.

I had no idea when my own translation started taking place. I had been lucky. I was already into my fifties when this first (and certainly not the last) salutation occurred. And as with the first white hair, the first wrinkle, the first old age spot, I decided to embrace what is inevitable. Am I still averse to that honorific? Need you is now attached to my name online for the whole world to see!

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