Precision in Relationships.

Have had an eventful week-end and beginning for the week. I had a friend of fifty years come over from the USA to stay with us for a few days. He is planning on returning to India to retire here and is on an exploratory visit. He left for Hyderabad earlier this afternoon.

Both of us were struggling salesmen when we met at an Irani tea shop in Hyderabad. This was a popular meeting place for many salesmen and other regulars. We became good friends and eventually became relatives as well. We married cousins and so became brothers in law.

That is what set me off writing this post. In English, it is simple. We are brothers in law. In the Indian system, it is more precise. In Tamil we are shattagars and in Hindustani, Sadubhais. The Indian, with his particular obsession about relationships, calls this relationship, ‘Co-brothers’, when he is speaking English.

I have always wondered why we Indians are so particular about our relationships. Why can’t we simply use a word like uncle, or aunt or nephew or niece? In India, we have Chacha, Kaka, Mama, Chachi, Kaki, Mami, Bhanja, Bhathija etc.

Just some random musings on our peculiarities. What do you think? Should we follow the English system and simplify?

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