Relationships are really interesting . . . but Stereotypes are more!
Yesterday when I was having a hair do at local saloon, a little boy came with a person in around 30’s , this person dropped the boy at the saloon and left for some other chores. The barber asked the little boy about his relationship with the elderly guy and burst into laughter when the little boy said : “He is my cousin!”
“How can he be, he is too old to be of your cousin, cousins are always of same age” was the objection raised by the barber and opened an interesting window in the stereotypes people have for “Cousins-to-be-of-same-age-group”
“Why do cousins have to be of same age?” I asked this question in my mind.
“ofcourse, when siblings are almost of same age groups, their offsprings also have to be of same age, thus all cousins have to be of same age group!” Was the answer given by my mind, clearly based on a general doctrine observed from usual life patterns across the globe.
But this is not always true, at least not in my part of the world. Raising a large family is a general practice (Family Planning People trying hard to convince people to keep it to two only but they can not obviously do anything about the previous generations)
Take my example, my eldest sister is 19 years older than me. Thats 2 decades my gosh! and the difference in my age and her daughter is only 8 years. When I got married in 2009, this girl was around 17, I got a daughter in 2011 and the girl was 19 at that time. So the age difference in two cousins remained the same 19 years as was in me and my sister.
Similarly, my wife’s eldest sister got a very early marriage, her son is now around 25, was teaching in a local university after completing education while his cousin (my daughter) is yet to learn walking. May sound funny to some of you out there!
There was a time in last century when a child could also be breast-fed by his granny, because she would also be raising her junior up of same age as of her grand child. This was mainly because of below few reasons :
1 – very early marriages.
The number of crops you could reap and harvest vary If a fertile land is given to you for 20 years, and if given to you for 45 years!!! (Law of diminishing marginal returns would apply)
2 – men’s inclination towards having a large family
Because of the clan system and the tribal mind-set. You are as stronger and powerful as populated your tribe is.
3 – better healths
Due to less pollution and more purity in food.
4 – the only retirement plan available at that time . . .
. . . was to have a son, raise him, educate him, get him a job so that he would start fiscal inputs in the family economy and could feed you when you are jobless in your old age. Therefore, till it s a boy, keep trying!
5 – stereotypes held by both genders for having psychological edge over others
the more you conceive, more fertile you are. And fertility was considered to be good fortune and an upper hand on those who are less fertile or having small families.
6 – no media / social media.
you could only tweet your spouse 😉
7 – Family systems and patterns
today’s nuclear units prefer smaller nest
There are also certain demerits for big cousins if the other cousins are way too younger than them. Such as :
1 – You have to act mature and sensible. Logical and rational.24/7!
2 – You will always have to play a role of elder brother or sister, no matter what your desire is. You will be forcefully put in those “responsible” shoes.
3 – When on a family picnic/ outing/ event , you will have to look after all junior cousins, and no one will care for you cause you are the elderly cousin.
4 – You can not date your young little cousins. you will always be a big brother to them!
5 – You can not have cousin marriage. Thus you can never have family romance in your life, leaving one important phase of your life dry and colorless.
6 – You may find it very difficult to be on the same page with them , the world was something different when you were born and raised up and today its a different game! May be you are a pre-nine-eleven and they are post-war-on-terrorism!
7 – When they will be having cheerful days together, dining out, hanging out, long drives, shoppings. . . You will be busy with your final year viva at university or with the presentation at office.
And must be plenty of things making your life miserable.
Since all the cultures have different family patterns and family sizes, based upon their own rationals and doctrines, I am sure you also have an interesting story to share.
So…. how old is your cousin???