'Kidnap Aunty' is what the Indian media is calling a conspirator in the Vaibhav Agarwal ransom case. "The mess-up", comments Bachi Karkaria, "endorses my theory that 'Aunty' suffers from a permanent bad-hair day, unlike the always coiffed 'Aunt'."
Only colonial hangovers such as the Parsis and some Christian communities have 'Aunts'; all the rest only have 'Aunties'. But it's not that simple. Only the old-money Dadysetts or DaCunhas had an 'Aunt Lily'. In the wealth-tax bracket below, she became 'Aunty Lily'. However, on the other side of the Privilege Line, the relationship also switches places and gets downsized as 'Lily Aunty'...This prefix-suffix divide is like caste and monsoon rivers, absolute and non-crossable. (Bachi Karkaria, Never, ever call me Aunty again, Sunday Times of India, July 10, 2005)The article isn't online yet, but meanwhile here's a link to Bachi's column.