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A couple of years back, when I met some people I hadn’t seen in quite a while and talk veered to children and what they were up to, one of them asked me, “How much does your son earn? How much money does he send home to you?”

I blinked at the questions that came in succession with no time for even a breath in between.

To say that I was taken aback would be an understatement. To anyone looking at me right then I probably resembled a fish opening and shutting its mouth, but whereas the fish has a perfectly sound reason for the opening-shutting routine, in my case it was just a reflex action. Even while the unconscious fish impersonation on my part was happening, my mind was thinking *thoughts*.

Should I look at him askance or make a witty comeback (but which I instinctively knew would only sail right above his head and result in a rift in relations – which unfortunately happens rather a lot with me, sigh, more on it another day), pretend not to have heard it (which was difficult because the question was put directly to me) or ignore it altogether?

Something of the ‘I don’t believe you just asked me that question’ attitude of mine must have inadvertently revealed itself to the one who asked the question in spite of my fish-like stance. He quickly came back with a, “I have heard that kids working in the US send parents quite a packet, that’s why I asked.. Hehehe…”

I didn’t find it funny at all. Kids may or may not send parents money. Whether they do or not is between them. And  ‘how much’?!! Really? How bad mannered is it to ask that! I really didn’t want to make him feel awkward so I simply smiled back, but remained pointedly silent. Soon the topic was changed to other more acceptable topics.

Nosiness is such an integral part of our society. It has no gender – though the male of the species like to feel, – wrongly so – that they are above it all. They are even more nosy than women, but loftily so, pretend otherwise. Education, money, class, nothing seems to have an impact on the nosiness quotient of individuals either, whether man or woman.

So, what’s your take? Yes or no?

©Shail Mohan 2015

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