Nov 22, 2013


This was in the initial days of my Swedish classes. There were people from countries across the world enrolled and we were all getting to know each other.

The first few days went in learning the usual questions and answers for the same like
- What is  your name?
- Where do you come from?
- Where do you stay? and so on.

And then it progressed to 
- How old are you?
- Are you married?
- Do you have kids? 
- How many siblings? and so on

And after that came more details on Question words. And some in the class who did not know English and us who did not know their language were all conversing in sign languages and in the bare minimum Svenska we had learnt till then. And there were a host of mistakes we did, especially with the confusing question words - using something for something else, others not understanding sometimes and correcting at other times.

So this girl from the class, from some middle eastern country knew very little English and was at our table talking something. From the class of previous days, we'd learnt each others' age and marital status. And apparently she was barely 19 and was pregnant. 

The first question she had for all of us is how many kids each of us had. Not many in the group had kids and well, we were all elder than her. She went on asking each one the same question and got her response. And when I said I still didn't have kids, her next question was 'Varför?' [means 'Why?']

Given our little knowledge of Svenska, we all assumed that she is asking the wrong question, may be she meant to ask something else. Someone asked her what was her question and she repeated 'Varför?' 

This was a common question that comes from a super-inquisitive 'ajji' or 'aunty' or so from where I come from. But I had been glad about people not asking about your personal life here. Thank goodness I was not the only one who was shocked at this question! 

After a few moments of recovery I got back my balance and asked her back 'Varför?' She didn't understand what I meant. Then i made myself clear why she wanted to know about it! That confused her enough while the rest of them were giggling about my response! And when she asked the next few people the same question, she was smart enough not to ask 'Varför?' again! And they almost thanked  me for saving them from having to face that embarrassing question!

The others, who have become quite good friends now, laugh at that incident even till date!

PS: This was written and saved as drafts sometime last year and i had totally forgotten to post it... Here it is now... after i have a baby!


  1. she asked for it and even more Sum..I fail to understand how one female can be so insensitive towards another, there are somethings which are truly personal, and whatever might be the reason, one should never cross it. I once went to P's hometown and met this gentleman who used to be his family doctor, after saying namaste n all..he asked us, yesht makkalu? (this was 1yr.before Atharv's birth),we said, nothing yet..and he actually laughed sarcastically..can you believe it?i was so shocked, couldnt react at all..if an educated gentleman can behave like this, then what can we expect from'curious' aunties n ajjis?these people should become spys and that some good to the country..what say?

    1. Oh yeah, Preeti... Some people can be so insensitive! I guess having such experiences makes one more sensitive to people's feelings.... Now i am consciously so careful myself, when talking to people and avoid any personal questions...
      BTW, I'm thinking of compiling many interesting or rather call it annoying questions like this...

  2. Oh yes, do it by all means..we all have come across such people and some comments leave a scar on our minds forever..and i have been speechless most of the times instead of giving it back to them (such an idiot I am) but such questions need some serious counselling..perhaps they dont understand a thing about being sensitive or their curiosity overpowers their good sense but some people derive pleasure from others' misery..whatever the reason, they should learn to behave.