Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Cousin

My mom and dad were very keenly discussing things about their cousins and their families and things about what all they did together while they were kids. The ways they enjoyed their vacation together at some grand parents' or uncle's place in some village in the interior parts of Tamil Nadu.

While silently watching them busy at such an interesting discussion, My mind had the spinning wheel and going back in time. I have indeed spent time and vacations with cousins and at villages and at my grand parents's place and my great grand parents' place. Villages where buses never came. One had to travel by bullock driven carts to reach there. The typical village household.

I have played with them all kinds of games, lived in villages; do know some things about some cousins who are approximately of my age. However, of younger cousins is much less and by observation one feels that the gap between the cousins keep increasing with every passing year.

The cousin is a very important relationship and integral part of life. There are many things which you cannot talk to siblings and you can’t dream to be open to parents, and yet, you could tell your cousin and discuss these issues freely.

When there were joint families, there was never dearth for cousins. During vacations, one would travel to places were one would meet another set of cousins and it was all play and enjoyment. Today with the concept of nuclear families becoming inevitable, kids have only their parents to talk and socialize. The parents who work tend to not spend enough time with kids and as a result kids know more about TV and computer and video games and less about neighbours and still less about cousins. When the vacations came, gone is the era of visiting grand parents, it is the time to learn swimming, to go to guitar classes, to learn karate and do what not. And to make up for not taking their kids on long tours, parents tend to satisfy their children with trips to theme parks and cinemas. With the lifestyle changing a lot of the cultural and ethical and social bondings get broken.

The cousin would also be a penalty to this sooner than later.

Hmm, yeah.. in my family, my generation is sort of the transition from the good old joint family types to the nuclear type, so I've spent a few summers in 'summer classes' and a few delightful ones playing cricket with all of my 12 odd cousins :)
thankfully, i have not been to summer camp or anything ... i was always at home or went off to grand parents place during summer. but yeah, i dont understand ....everyone goes to dance, music, computer, karate and swimming classes every summer .... sometime i wanna tell the kids and the parents, "relax!!!!"
I have had time to enjoy with cousins.....not just summers, but other times too....but the trend is going in such a way....that the future generation will ask...who is a cousin?
This is very true. In our society, cousins were actually like our own brothers or sisters. It is only in India, that too mainly in the south, that we use the term 'Cousin brother' or 'Cousin sister'. I have 16 cousins in all. So my eldest cousin is almost twice my age and the youngest is half my age. We used to spend lot of time together. But the contact has become restricted to emails or the occasional phone calls. But I'm determined to ensure that my children do not become totally alienated with our family culture, especially family types of our parents and grandparents.

BTW I'm Vijay and i stumbled across your blog by chance while surfing the net. When you find time do visit my blog at En Sindhanai Alaigal
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