Family Associations

I spent some time this afternoon looking at the address book released by the association of descendants of my maternal grandfather’s maternal grandfather (yes, I’m serious; there does exist one such association). Since I didn’t have much else to do, I did go through much of the book in detail. The makers seem to have put hajaar fight in order to prepare it – calling up thousands of descandants and asking them for addresses and phone numbers. It also took quite long to make I suppose – my address and phone number that is put there are from last August.

The first thing I noticed about our family is that there is no such thing as a “family tree”. Us being Kannada Types and the customary incest being there, there are lots of cycles in the “family tree”. I noticed at least two cases of first cousins being married to each other. The book has handled this rather inelegantly – putting the same pair of names and addresses in two  places. However, I don’t know how they could’ve handled it more elegantly without embarrassing the incestuous couples – since the concept has become taboo only recently.

It was also interesting to look at the geographical distribution of the family. As expected, the maximum number of addresses are from Bangalore. Interestingly, Mysore also seems to have a lot of people from the family, with not too many people inhabiting other parts of India. There is an incredibly large number of people from the family in America, and they seem to be distributed in almost all parts – though with a bias to California (not just the Bay Area – I saw a number of southern California addresses.

Interestingly, other countries have little representation. There is one family in Australia and a couple of families in the Gelf. Interestingly, there is no one in England (the book lists two families with England addresses, but both of them have since returned to India (one of them is scheduled to move to the US soon) ). There also seems to be a high proportion of ABCDs – a large number of people seem to have emigrated in the 60s and 70s.

It seems like a large number of ABCD cousins and aunts and uncles have ended up marrying people of non-Indian origins, but it is hard to say where their spouses are. In true Kannadiga tradition, everyone has been listed by given name only (with a few initials thrown in here and there) which makes it hard to determine who is from where (talking about in-laws of the family).

Another interesting phenomenon is the strange names that have been given to people who seem to have been born in the last 10 years or so (I’m only talking of people with two Indian parents). Some people still continued to get named after Gods and other popular Indian names, but quite a few names of this generation seem to be the types that won’t be found in any Sanskrit dictionary.

I had a few other pertinent observations as I was going through the book, but I seem to have forgotten the rest. I’ll add them here if I remember any of those.

7 thoughts on “Family Associations”

  1. The problem with producing such a book is that it will get outdated sooner or later. Ideally one would use a genealogy website for this task so that the burden of updating details is decentralized. Moreover the younger generation will obviously find it easier to use the online version. The book could have been produced only for those people who can’t/don’t go online.

    1. yeah. most people who put enthu for this book are 60+ and the only web use they do is email (that too mostly becouse of foreign kids)

      and agreer about usage of genealogy websites

  2. I do agree with the modern parents having a liking for weird names, sometimes sanskrit, sometimes words from the native tongue itself. I have seen names like paayal. And sanskrit words that are just arbit. Why this I would say? After paayal and kaajal, what next I say!

    1. speaking of “payal” i remember that i first encountered this name in some Champak story which had a character called “paayal pig”.

      so everytime i listen to that name, I’m reminded of pig

  3. Even Paayal and Kajal are of sanskrit origin I think.

    Most Indian names are derived from sanskrit, with some exceptions in the deep south (elangovan, murasoli) and north-west (Rinky, Pinky).

    In fact, I think Sanskrit names have gained popularity in recent decades, especially in TN. A few hundred years ago, it was not uncommon to find pure tamil names even among Tam Bram types, something which is unthinkable today.

  4. Also, the practice of naming kids after gods isn’t all that ancient i guess.
    Most characters in our epics have secular names (Drishtadyumna, Virata for instance).
    So what we’re observing today is a return to old fashion

    1. i’m talking about strange meaningless names (like Palin’s kids’ names). at least Dhristadyumna and Virata have a meaning.

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