Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Jethani Nanad Saandu Saali

I’m really glad that India has a name for every relation. It’s helpful because living in a world with so many choices and personal preferences, it’s necessary to specify whether you like Coke, Fanta or Sprite. Ordering for just a soda and assuming another to know which one you are referring to would help only if you’re out on a date with David Blaine.

Relation-names like “bua”, “chacha” and “mama” make life easy in a lot of ways; primarily, by helping you unambiguously bad-mouth the rishtedaar’s without having to explain whether it’s the paternal side of the family or maternal that you are talking about. It’s much better than using the words “uncle” and “aunty”, which were once used to address all our neighbors - the same guys who are now better known as not-looking-in-your-direction.

I guess the only time when using such titles got weird was back in the day when our great-great-grandparents had a million children. It would so happen that a guy would have an odd chacha or mama who would be as old as him and be treated like a brother. He would unfairly use the comeback “chache pe haath utthata hai!” as an emotional card to ruin a game of wrestling when his bhatija would be choke slamming him on to the chaarpaai. Such instances of generation ambiguity have been gradually eradicated by the Government with their Hum Do Humare Do campaign. However, there is now a new issue that needs to be addressed.

As I approach my quarter-life crisis, I have begun to fear the relation-names I would be expected to use in a few years as the family of my cousins, siblings and myself expand. Here’s a little guide for all my future relatives who would expect me to address them by these names. I would request them to allow me to address them by their first names or give me some suggestions on words that would be both respectful and cool.

Bhabhi and Jija

With two elder cousins already married and a few others lined up for the phera’s, I am trying to deal with the idea of addressing a few new relatives as bhabhi and jija-ji, and it has not been a happy journey so far. It might make me look like Salman Khan from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, but sorry, I do not wish to sing “bhabhi tum khushiyon ka khazana” for anyone. I mean, my kaam-wali-bai calls my mother “bhabhi” and does not look like Madhuri Dixit while she does so. Also, the word "bhabhi" reminds me of some comic books, which I am sure the bhaiya's of the world wouldn't want associated with their wives.

Coming to the jija, I do not think a simple modification in the form of "jiju" helps much. If I were to be someone's jija, I would loved to be called something like G-Jay, G-Meister or G-Spotter. Now that has a cool ring to it.


I don’t know if it is because I’ve grown up watching my mum cry while she’s watched daily soaps or something else, but you can hardly associate the words “saas” and “sasur” with anything even remotely nice. They automatically attach with themselves the image of a “bahu-ranidabao-ing the paer of her “saasu-ma”, or Govinda singing “suno sasur-ji, ab zidd chhodo” all so that he can marry Raveena Tandon. I mean, look at what it's worth!

If mummy-ji and daddy-ji don’t cut it for someone, I think “Sassy-Ma” and “Sasurosaurus” could be very cool alternatives.

P.S. Do Rajasthani women call their mothers-in-law "saasu-ma" or "saasu-sa"?


My biggest issue with “jethani” is that it reminds me of Ram Jethmalani. It’s great that he can do politics as well as what the title of a jethani demands, but it is not a pleasant picture to imagine him wearing a saree. Further, going purely by etymology, “devrani” accords an unfair bias towards the younger brother’s wife that is bound to result in kitchen feuds.

Also, who came up with the word “nanad” and why would you want to call your husband’s sister that? It sounds like what a person called Nandini would change her name to if she were to get a sex-change.

I think "sista-through-anotha-mista" would be quite cool instead.

Saandu and Saali

These are probably the only two words I would wish to retain, but I guess the family wouldn't let me. Would give anything to respectfully greet the wife's sister with a "Kya haal hai, saali?" and the saali's husband with, "Aur Saandu, aaj bada chamak raha hai."

Image Source: dvdvcdplaza.com


  1. OMG! I have my boards in less than 12 hours (shit that freaks me out now) but I still don't miss out on your blog because it is so amazing! In telugu the "relative-names" are worse and the worst part is that we can even marry our relative. Imagine marrying your cousin or your aunt! Gawd. Such sanskaars at times make me question human existence on earth, but, if that's what makes you write so awesomely then let the rituals continue. xD And yaaay, 1st comment. This I-dont-know-for-what reason makes me feel so nice! (Do I get a cookie? :P)
    P.S: I might have to pull an all-nighter now. :( Please write a blog to Cambridge on how torturing they are! Just imagine, having your Chemistry and Math board exams on the same effing day. :'(

    1. Hi! Best of luck for your Boards, hope you do really well. Little fun breaks in between don't harm; so keep reading the blog beech beech mein :D

      Also, abhi padh le. College mein admission ho gaya phir toh life set hai :P

  2. @@@ for u.. :)
    Best line which made me laugh..
    "Biggest issue with “jethani” is that it reminds me of Ram Jethmalani." :P

    1. That's my favorite line from the whole thing too *hi5* :D

  3. Ha ha ha ha ...I just came across this blog n its fun
    Oh this is so true so many names to the relations !!

    1. Also, I just realised how "mausa-ji" sounds so much better than the rustic "maasad-ji".

  4. Ha ha ha... This was hilarious... I laughed out so hard in a long time... Thanks :)

    1. Arrey, I like some of the other stuff on my blog more. You should try reading the others. And, thank you :)


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@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
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@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
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