Relations… How is one related to someone else? Is it maternal or paternal? Uncle, aunt, brother, sister, cousin, nephew, niece, in laws… English language has words for these relations.
But in Hindi language, the two words uncle and aunt, nephew and niece, and several other relations are given specific names.
Uncle being mother’s brother becomes ‘mama’. Uncle being father’s elder brother becomes ‘bade papa’. Uncle being father’s younger brother becomes ‘kaka’. And their spouses are ‘mami’, ‘badi maa’, ‘kaki’ respectively.
Aunt being father’s sister becomes ‘fayi’. Aunt being mother’s sister becomes ‘mausi’. And their spouses are called ‘fuva’ and ‘mausa’.
Courtesy can be given by adding ‘ji’ to each one of them.
Similarly, nephew being sister’s son becomes ‘bhanja’, brother’s son becomes ‘bhatija’. Niece becomes ‘bhanji’ and ‘bhatiji’ respective. (Don’t confuse ji at the end with the earlier one courtesy ji)
Further, sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Hindi is not that easy to understand. Find out yourself… (I took more than a decade to understand these words :P)
Sister-in-law for a wife is ‘nanand’. Brother-in-law for her, if elder than husband is called ‘jeth’ and if younger, is called ‘dewar’. Whereas, sister-in-law for a husband, if younger, is called ‘saali’ and if elder, then it’s called ‘jiji’. Brother-in-law for husband is called ‘saala’.
Spouse of jeth is called ‘jethani’, dewar is ‘dewarani’, nanand is ‘nanandoyi’, and spouse for both saali and jiji is ‘sadhubhai’.
Further, husband of sister is ‘jija’ and wife of brother is ‘bhabhi’.
And other woman or man is bhabhi or bhai if in formal relation, or else call using name directly.
For my mind, this chapter of relationship was blurred. Hence, I had simple rules for defining relation name.
If he was elder and young, he was ‘bhaiya’ (brother), if elder and old, then ‘uncle’. Otherwise, his name. Similarly, if she was elder and young, she was ‘didi’ (sister), if elder and old, then ‘aunty’.
Only problem I faced was when elderly people asked me to call a specific one from the above list. For me all of them were either uncle or aunty, but when they required a work from a specific one, say mausi, which aunty would I call?! Stumped! 😀
But I had my ways… I would go to those group and yell whatever or whomever I was supposed to call. Then wait for them to respond. Everyone would turn and look at me, but only the correct one would respond to me by asking what was it. Bravo! I got the one! 😛
My niece (bhanji) came to my house yesterday. Being a boy (not an uncle), I only see her as my younger sister. But elders in my family want to see me aged so early that they want that little one to call me uncle (mama).
Both she and I make faces when we are required to communicate in that way. But then she forgets to call me that often and calls me bhaiya . That brings a smile on my face, to see her do those crazy things and involving me into it.
I wonder if things were simple like my rules of defining names for relations, how would it be to live in my world. Would it be simpler than now or more complicated?
Wonder is all I can do…
One more complain that I always have with elderly people here is that they always call my friends as bhai and behen (brother and sister)! Huh! How can they tell what’s in out little minds. Don’t they know there’s a word known as ‘friends’, which is different than she being called as my sister! Please! 😛