The Ubiquitous Sisters-in law

32147498-crowd-of-indian-women-vector-avatar[1]THE UBIQUITOUS SISTERS-IN LAW.

The word ‘sister’ has only one definition. She is the one who is born of the same parents as yours. Of course, there can be a half-sister (referred to as step-sister in India) who shares only one parent with you.

But ’sister-in law’ ? There can be many definitions. It could be your brother’s wife or your husband’s sister or your brother-in law’s wife. And then these sister-in laws might have their own wide network of their own sisters and sisters-in law. With both my father and father-in law being prolific sires (as was the norm in the plentiful, prosperous 20th century) I have a whole lot of sisters and sisters-in law in India not to talk of those who have settled abroad.

During my teaching career, I would be commuting to the schools I served in by school buses or private ‘Matador’s. There not being a very big fleet of them, they would take a circuitous route all over Bangalore picking up the teachers and the students.

It so happened that wherever we went along the route there was bound to be a sister or sister-in law residing in that area and I couldn’t help pointing it to my co-passengers.

Once a North Indian colleague who was of the firm conviction that fair complexion was the monopoly of the North asked me incredulously, “Are you from Bangalore?” I replied, “Yes indeed, born, brought up, educated, married and hope to die in Bangalore.” One of my fellow commuters burst out with gusto, ”She is not only from Bangalore but anywhere you go in Bangalore you will find a sister or a sister-in law or sister’s sister-in law or sister-in law’s sister or sister-in law’s sister-in law of Vimala. I don’t think there is any place in any part of Bangalore where she doesn’t have a relative!”

But God bless them all. They are a sweet lot (unlike in the TV serials) and I cherish their company.

By the way, I forgot that in our Indian custom we call our cousins also brothers and sisters. So, it happens that the spouses of our male cousins  and the husband’s cousins (female)  and spouses of his male cousins also become our sisters-in law.

I think I better stop before the heads of my readers, specially of the modern generation believing in ‘We two, ours two’ go spinning beyond  limits.




17 thoughts on “The Ubiquitous Sisters-in law

  1. Kalpana says:

    Nice read Vimala Maami, may you and your extended family always cherish each other and nourish the bonds built over years

  2. Vimala,
    REALLY good!
    I envy you your large family. Not getting into cousins, I only have one sister-in-law and two brothers-in-law. Counting cousins as in-laws, however, the number would be HUGE!!

  3. Vimala,

    today and tomorrow my cousins are gathering at the ranch for Work Week. There will be 25 or so folks there, remodeling my uncle Steve’s house for cousin Caitlin’s family – she is expecting second child in October. It will be a busy week – installing a new bathroom, I think, and prepping the kitchen which has been gutted. They will be sweating and working closely and of course not having exactly what they need .. And some of the gang cooking and doing chores at the other house. There will be a wonderful dinner every evening. I miss being there. We’ve made it for most of the 19 years.

    • Mydear girl,
      ‘Sister’ and Sister-in law’ are accepted words in the English dictionary. But ‘co-sister’ is a pure Indianism (vernacularism) , a word made for our own convinience in the Indian scenario. It is just like I have discovered a word ‘co-grandparents’ to refer to the In-laws of my children.☺

  4. Dear Vimmu,
    Your article on sis is v.entertaining.As I told u once,it is amazing how u find topics and the talent to elaborate a simple thing into an hilarious topic.may u blessed with such an inborn gift,rather came into focus at a later year continue for long!–Komala Sathyan

  5. Hello Vimala,

    Thank you for sharing your fascinating piece. It quite relates to the thought that everybody is somehow related to one another; why single out sister-in-laws? I am sure even the National Pledge in a certain sense leads us to “All Indians are my brothers and sisters.” It is intriguing to delve deeper into what that means. Also, pardon I for saying too much but not only the “modern” generation but a lot of them even from the past did feel the same about controlling the theory of demographic transition. We’re beyond the postmodern (chronology be followed), really. I must say, I absolutely enjoyed your engaging piece.

  6. Dear Sneha, I am happy that though you are incommunicado otherwise, you atleast respond promptly to my blogs. After all that’s how we began our friendship. You have taken a rather serious view of my blog, patriotic, National and what not. Well, each to one’s own opinion. Thanks for enjoying the piece.

    • Sneha says:

      Well, they do say “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, else they’ll kill you.” I’ll use the same the next time – too little, too much told, I reckon.

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