Agony Aunt


Questions! Questions!

Who, after all is that person who writes all those ‘Agony’ columns in magazines and newspapers? Who is it that seems to know it all, who tries to answer questions, however silly or serious that people of the world ask her? More importantly, who are the people who want to get their agonies solved by some entity they neither know nor are ever likely to meet?

Agony aunts of the world
Peggy Makins, Daily Mirror’s Marje Proops, Woman’s Own’s Clare Rayner, Alice (of Ask Alice fame), Dear Abby and Ann Landers are the U.K.’s and USA’s most well known. India too has had its share of well known agony aunts, though most of them are celebrity Agony Aunts or Uncles.

The agony aunts are not professional counselors, in fact they are comforters. They are women and men, who are interested in people and with patience and goodwill, try and help them out, at least momentarily. Mainly, they are just better at listening to people’s issues than most peoples, and that’s the only difference. As a matter of fact, there is an Agony Aunt sitting with spectacles on her nose, offering a virtual hanky and warm cup of tea, within each of us. We all play this role several times in our lives, sometimes even in a single day!
Ironically, a successful Agony aunt would be the person, who gets lots of problems to resolve.

Why are AA columns popular?

Actually for the same reason that programmes like Bigg Boss and MTV Roadies are popular. Because people love to peep into the lives of other people; for the shock value that these columns provide, and to make us feel that hey! We aren’t the only ones facing our ‘type’ of problem. And yes, the more the ‘haww’ value of a column, the more popular a column is!

Author’s comments

On being Agony aunt: “Of course I don’t know it all. No one does, not even the most famous of Agony Aunts. But one has endless resources at one’s disposal, and one uses them. An honest agony Aunt is one who can say, “I don’t know” and directs her Inagonies to the place where his/her queries maybe better answered.”

On ‘Dear Agony Aunt’: “This is a book that I’ve tried to write with the utmost sincerity and even love for the people who have come to me with their queries. I am a writer, that’s a huge part of me. I am an agony aunt…that’s another role I play. So, what could be more natural that the two selves unite? Successfully, I hope!”