When I  came to know  that  Madras management Association  was conducting a workshop on  Business Etiquette, I  thought why not  one on  Family Etiquette  as well  considering that we Chennaiites   are a curious lot  wishing to know  everything about everyone else which invariably includes a lot of personal questions. No, they don’t offend you, on the other hand they amuse you no end that is if you have a sense of humour.

Questions range from whether you have your own apartment,(because  independent houses are dwindling in Chennai) ,whether you are single (i.e. if you happen to be young) or married, if so  have any children , what they do, whether they are married etc, etc.

I remember  during my interview on the TV, the interviewer was hesitating  to ask me the inevitable question, thinking that it might embarrass me.(this was at the briefing)  I  said she was free to  ask any questions as it was  the privilege of a journalist to bring out the best in the interviewee.

She was amused when I replied that all my family existed in my book “Madras Mosaic”.

She was surprised and said all the characters appear so real, which I thought was a compliment to the writer.

The other day during conversation with the head of a leading Educational Institution my husband was asked whether he had children. When he answered in the negative, promptly the man asked whether he had a wife.  To which he smiled and nodded his head and couldn’t control his laughter. The man was flabbergasted I suppose because his next query was whether the wife was living with him. 

What did you say, I asked my husband.

I didn’t bother to answer, he replied.

I f you happen to be single whether out of choice or chance you’ve had it!

You are quite good looking, why is that you have not been able to get married?

Probably you were too choosy.

I know boys prefer fair and slim girls (if you happen to be well endowed).

So go the comments by people in the name of sympathy.

If you are married and single, again either by choice or destiny, people visibly expresses their concern for you.

You are left wondering whether it is sympathy or empathy on their   part.

 n.meera raghavendra rao


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