Monday, 4 July 2016

What makes your neighbourhood AUNTIES gossip?

Not only on television but in real life, most people come across women also known as 'aunties' in their neighbourhood who like keeping themselves up to date about the happenings from door to door and an eagle-eye view of coming and going of persons in general. These women are a group strongly united by gossip and disapprovals. They are experts in giving the stink eye and the 'I am watching you' look. But have you ever wondered that maybe these annoying aunties are an important part of our community and are actually benefiting us?

India is a country where we all live like a big joint family. Neighbours are an important part of our lives and privacy is still a distant dream for many. Prying eyes and smirky looks are common. Women who are bound by their domestic walls come together and discuss people's lives, and simultaneously pass their judgements. Our neighbourhoods have strong gossip networks and rumors spread like wildfire. Where gossip may be considered a big evil by all, it is actually one of the most effective ways to reinforce correct behaviour.

In fact according to David Archard, a philosopher "Gossip exposes the wrongdoer to public shame or ridicule and consequently functions as a deterrent to such wrongdoing." And in actuality on numerous occasions, you do find yourself re-evaluating your actions in fear of becoming the local gossip topic.

But if these gossiping aunties reinforce correct and moral behaviour, why are they considered annoying and interfering? The answer lies in the core element of gossiping. The basis of a strong gossip network is the sharing of similar moral values and mannerisms. Therefore, if you do not fit into their paradigm, you risk becoming the topic of gossip and considered as an outsider of the community. India is still struggling with the wide and toppling generation gap and to be honest, most of our neighbourhood aunties just make our lives harder because of some book of outdated rules they have been taught to follow.

Believe it or not but the local gossip network or 'aunties' in our case, know more about of our lives than they let on. You can very well notice that in crime shows, local gossip helps the detectives long way to trace the life either of the victim or the suspect. A community surrounded by gossipers can apparently serve better than a CCTV camera in times of need. I also do not rule out the possibility that gossip can be harmful and bad. Too much involvement in gossip can lead to negative impacts as well. Gossip can also lead to complete distortion of a person's public image combined with blackmail purposes.

Another important fact to understand is that you absolutely cannot escape this phenomenon. We are social animals and apparently we have a need to belong. When you enter a community with its own set of rules and model of living, you have to adopt it. But looking ahead as we will be the educated future of this community with so many spoon-fed Western values, there is a huge possibility of us becoming gossipers with quite a different type of values and mannerisms but equally ridiculous in nature.

Written by Sanya K. Aitwani
Complicated thinker with a creative streak and perceptive outlook.

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