Feb 1, 2010

Enigma of Familial Relations

From the last post onwards, I started a campaign to create short, yet all-inclusive posts. I hope that this post would also end up as a short one. But here the problem is that the event I am going to narrate deals with relationships and the customary ways to address respected elders in families, which normally demands lot of space. Thus, I feel that the best way to describe the relationships is drawing a chart. To describe this post, I have to add the names of two prominent hospitals of my locality, viz, Marygiri and Marian.

(Click on the image to see the bigger size of the family tree)

One day my father tells me, “Your Ammachi (the traditional way to address grandmother) is in Marygiri, go and pay a visit to her”. I obey and go to catch a bus. On the way I meet my second cousin (called Chechi, means elder sister). I say her, “Ammachi is in Marygiri. I am going to visit her”. She corrects me saying, “Ammachi is not in Marygiri, but in Marian” Thinking that my father might have made a mistake, I go to Marian.

On reaching Marian, I embarrass seeing there my second cousin’s grandmother, who is the ‘wife to my Grandfather’s Brother,’ whom I address with a term meaning ‘younger grand mother’. But using my pretension skills, I successfully impress her by claiming that I actually come to visit her. She does not need to suspect me as it is one’s duty to visit relatives in hospitals. She is very happy for my visit. I think that my father might have mistakenly said ‘Grandmother is in Marygiri”, instead, he should have said that ‘Younger Grandmother is in Marian”.

But suddenly my younger grand mother says, “I heard that your Ammachi is also in hospital, she is in Marygiri”. Suddenly, I understand that my father is also right. Again I use my pretension skills, saying with no change in expression, “err…yes…I am going to meet her also”, so, that fixes it.

I go to Marygiri, meet my grandmother (Ammachi) and laugh with everyone there narrating the funny incident. When I reach home, hearing my account of the day’s incidents, my father asks, “Did not you embarrass seeing ‘younger grand mother’ instead of ‘grand mother’?” I answer with pride, “no, I simply used my histrionic tactics to cover my embarrassment.”

So, the only trouble was the one when I met my cousin sister (chechi) on the way to hospital. When I said ‘Ammachi in Marygiri’, referring to my grand mother, she said ‘Ammachi in Marian’, mentioning her grand mother. Admitting both the Ammachis in hospitals at the same time could only be coincidental.
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