Attack of the Aunties
I was GOSSIPPED about by Aunties.
Now while my female friends have alway complained and warned me about this very desi phenomenon, you never realize how hilarious and gross it is until it happens to you.
So my parents have been quietly worrying about the fact that I need to
Fast forward a couple of months, the same aunty runs into the aunty who introduced them and is hysterical. Apparently she had run a background check on me and was horrified at my "tight pants", "long hair", "sleeveless shirt", "rock singing" and "dancing with girls".
Clearly she was looking for a boy with "loose pants", "short hair", "full sleeve shirt", "ghazal singing" and "dances with boys".
I guess she had heard about my performance in "Mamma Mia" or maybe she'd seen me on TV or heck maybe she read this blog. Either way she then launched into a rant about how glad she was that she found out that I was the destroyer of all civilization and how lucky she was that her daughter didn't meet me.
Now when I heard this story, I thought it was hilarious. Obviously. But the comment I heard next really got me. The aunty said:
"How can his parents be so nice and he turns out like this?"
Now it's one thing to gossip about me, or criticize me. I accept that I'm going to be under public scrutiny having chosen to be a entertainer. Most of the time one has a pretty thick skin about these things. But this was the first time anyone had brought my parents into it. It was a horrible feeling, It had never once occurred to me that my parents might have to suffer from embarassment because of me.
My parent have been pillars of strength for me and I have never once done anything without their whole hearted support. Hearing this story angered me and I ranted back at my mom telling her that we shouldn't even be socializing with idiot people like that. What she told me next was something I had never even thought about. She told me that I have to be prepared to hear comments like that about my family, because once you are an entertainer, people feel like they can talk about you without fear of judgment or consequence. We cease to be people. She told me that any girl I marry eventually will have to be someone who can cope with this. It's a sobering thought.
Up until now, I always thought my band and I were underground performers, known to some people in the entertainment industry and a few media personality, but not really known to ordinary people. But the fact is that more people know about us than I thought, whether it's through the internet or simply just talk. I'm not famous, but I am becoming.."known"
For people in my families social circles, it's almost unheard of that someone they know should be involved in the entertainment industry. Especially someone like me, who went to Karachi Grammar School and went to college in the US. They would imagine I would be doing something more respectable than being an entertainer.
Sadly this is a cultural phenomenon. This ambivalence towards the entertainment industry is crippling. On one hand you can acheive fame and fortune. They'll even call you a legend like "Madam" Noor Jehan. But behind your back, they'll refer to you as a marasi, a street performer, basically a whore.
I contemplated toning down my online presence after this. I even toyed with the idea of shutting down the blog because lets face it, the first thing that comes up when you google me is this blog and a post entitled "Kanye West: Chootia". I realize writing up here without anonymity is not without consequence.
Then again...fuck it. This is fun.