Kids Arena : Share Your Thoughts with Our Readers...

April 23, 2009


I didn’t realize until I began writing that beginning a conversation can be as difficult as a baby learning to take the first few steps. Let me begin my expressing how privileged I feel being a part of this space which I have christened  "Kids Arena" Through this space, I aim to bring the “writer” that probably is sitting within each one of us. We are not looking for multiple pages of stories, just simple, straight thoughts. Something you have experienced, an incident which had an impact on you, a lesson you learnt, thoughts you want to convey maybe to your parents, just about anything…

Send me an email (to: with your writing and include all your details and I shall edit and have it published, or guide you on how we could make it better. It could be a learning experience, for you as well as for me.

This space is also for you parents as we invite you to read the thoughts of the little minds. Trust me, it will be an exciting experience as we learn how our little minds work, as we pick up a lesson or two, or find that one line of communication that was missing in our relationship with our children.

Let me begin this journey with you with my thoughts….

A few months ago, I was sitting in a room with two women, both of them around my age group. A 15-year old boy entered the room and said “hello aunty,” to each one of us. I responded with a hello and so did the other lady. But the third one turned around and said “Don’t call me aunty. I am aunty only to my nephews.”

The boy was embarrassed with the statement and I was shocked. And I wondered what was wrong with referring to someone who would be nearly as old as your mum as an “aunt”. After all this is what we learnt from our parents, and we have passed on to our children. Uncle, Aunty, Nana, Papa – we use these to show our respect to people who are older to us in age and in life’s experiences.

What has changed? Are we telling our children it’s no longer important to respect our elders. I am not sure; perhaps some of you know the answer.

As for me personally, it gladdens me when I am referred to as an aunty even if the child or rather the young girl or boy is just a few years younger to me. I am a mother of two children – the oldest one is a teenager, and when I am called an aunt, I see it as an acknowledgement of my identity as a mother and of my (life’s) experiences. 

It does not make me feel any older than what I am and I certainly do not wish to be called by my name alone just to feel “young”!

In our culture, this is the way we show our respect. Parents and children - Let’s all work towards preserving this culture of ours.

Sophia Rodrigues - New Zealand
Sophia Rodrigues is a business journalist, an accountant and a dressmaker. As a journalist, she has worked with large companies like Dow Jones and has several story breaks to her credit. Her biggest story was her reporting on India’s foreign-exchange reserves touching the $100 billion mark where she beat India’s Finance Minister who announced it the day after. Sophia lives in New Zealand with her husband Danny, and two daughters Deborah and Delilah. Currently a freelance journalist, Sophia is hoping to bring out the writer that may be lying undiscovered within a lot of young minds. : Editor-in-chief

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Comment on this article

  • A.D''Cunha Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Sun, May 03 2009

    Are Mangaloreans/Indians all out to shed their identity/traditions/languages/culture? Particularly the affluent and migrated ones. Its like disowning oneself. Look at the British ,they kept theirs by flooding the world with English and still like to keep their culture.

  • Anthony, Canada

    Sun, May 03 2009

    I agree with Susan. Children should taught, the proper way in English, how to address friends or far off relatives "Hello Mr. Pinto or Good evening Mrs. D''souza". Why should you be offeneded if you are not called Aunty? When you are employed, do they refer you as Aunty Sophie? Why do we Indian''s like to carry these weird traditions where ever we go?!! If it is your maternal or paternal Aunt or close relative, then you should refer them as Aunty or Uncle. But, if they are not related, please use Mr. or Mrs.

  • Jean De Souza, Saudi Arabia

    Thu, Apr 30 2009

    Hi Sophia, I''m glad that a friend sent me this site. I myself write extensively, and my daughter who is 10 years old, too has a flair for writing. She will definitely send some of her work to this site. Thank you for thinking about the children, for as their poems/articles get published, they will be motivated to express themselves in a better way, and maybe one day blossom into beautiful writers. Thank you. Jean De Souza

  • Ronald Almeida, Brahmavar

    Thu, Apr 30 2009

    This is a problem of changing times of a multicultural world. Culture does not mean sticking to the idiocy of the past. In this case since we are speaking in the English language Mr. or Mrs. So and so, would be the right form of address.

    Auntie and Uncle has always been a little ''Chi-chi'' But then most Indians who speak English tend to use a vernacular syntax with a English vocabulary. Which though it sounds exotic and quaint is not really ''Proper''. But what to do, we Indians are like that only, No?

  • Shaun, Goa

    Sun, Apr 26 2009

    Well written - keep it up. Hope you shine in New Zealand

  • Charles D Cunha, Borivli

    Sat, Apr 25 2009

    Sophie Congratulations.I came to know your talent only today.All the best.

  • Suzan, Mumbai

    Sat, Apr 25 2009

    Sorry Aunty ,I dont agree with u, because respect is not something that u give by calling someone aunty or uncle. Respect for someone has to be real,how many times have we seen young people abusing old people yet calling them aunty or uncle.If uncle and aunty is a word given out of respect that should not happen.

  • A.D''Cunha Shenoy, mangaluru

    Fri, Apr 24 2009

    Respect for elders is the key for a successful society. Calling elders not by name, even older brothers and sisters need to be respected and it is respectful. We are hypocritic most of the times, from one end, we boast of keeping our culture but hardly keep the key ingredients of the culture. Like speaking in Konkani or the native languages, keeping and passing on to the generations our own food preparation and eats, traditions of marriage and the like. We migrate to other countries and TRY to keep the culture only to lose to the next generation and so on. In order to keep the culture one need to live with that culture- language, food,etc. and etc.. you know what I mean. Without that we are just talking or writing without living the meaning of it. We call Aunty, that is in English but in Konkani it is Maushi. No many, now a days except in villages keep this tradition. Just a thought to ponder about.

  • Clare, Canada

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    Thanks Sophia for the initiative. Much Appreciated!! I think (we) Indians have been blessed with our "Culture". Look around and you will easily sense how well Indians are faring it because of their values, upbringing or simply because of their determination and hardwork! I for one, am indebted to my Culture and will never compromise it! However, in that token, I''m also not an ardent fan of being labelled as "Aunty"! I think Respect is important and that can also be achieved without using the "Aunty" label on anyone and everyone. I detest being called an "Aunty" if I''m not really not your Aunty or close relative, but I would love to be addressed as Ms. Clare or simply Mrs. so-an-so?? Is this fair???

  • Abraham Coutinho, Mundkur/Bombay

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    The topic here to preserve our culture is good one and the correct one. Just a joke - how the words "Aunty" is taken as. It has really happened in Bombay that one elderly lady complained to young boy''s mother for he addressed her as Aunty. The mother asked "what is wrong in it?" "Then how my son should address you?" The reply came immediately - "Let him address me as "Maushi" but not as "Aunty". Public thinks that "Aunty" means "Daruwali".

  • Sunita, Managlore

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    Thank you Aunty - very nice

  • Susan D''souza, Mumbai/Dubai

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    A good platform for young minds to open up. Keep it up.

  • Robert George, Mumbai/Australia

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    Respect of elders is simply recognizing their place in society as being more experienced with a wealth of knowledge. I remember as a youngster I used to strike a conversation with the elderly because I enjoyed when they spoke about the ‘good old’ days they seemed to have endless reams of information. Children haven’t changed over the years only the way they live and are brought up has changed. Today thanks to nuclear families, often grandparents live separately.

    Besides, interaction with the elderly has almost become passé due to the advent of television and video games. We alienate the elderly from our lives, which has resulted in diminishing respect towards them. We have been deceived by the modern concept of prolonging youthful appearance at any cost, which invariably inflate our ego, and take offense when referred to as the elderly.

  • janet d''souza, mangalore/uae

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    You snatched the thoughts out of my mind Sophia! What wonderful thoughts and surely,this is our true culture and we should nourish this in and preserve this through our younger generation. Wishing all the best to this column of "Kids'' Arena"

  • Jess, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    Very nice point, and I do agree with Sophia, however, these days it is a fashion for some people to address anyone and everyone as aunty, though they are of the same age as the front person or sometimes even elder still they will address a married woman as aunty which is not correct and I dont like it, I am sure many will agree with me on this, otherwise I really feel and want to preserve our beautiful culture and I am for it.

    And specially when it comes to close family i.e. brother''s or sister''s children calling us Moushi, Akai, Maami, Mama, Bappu its really very nice, by which we can make out how one is related.

  • Marie, Kallianpur/Canada

    Thu, Apr 23 2009

    I do agree with Sophia!! We need to preserve our culture.

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