" I heard Dee is getting married" said Mom, yesterday. So then, the usual questions cropped up. The wise Brother asked Mom how she got to know of the soon-to-be nuptials, and then came Mom's nonchalant reply, "Dee's grandmom's sister's daughter's sister-in-law's niece told her friend, who stays in the same flat as Aunt's sister-in-law's cousin." Now, for those of you who are still confused, Dee happens to be Aunt's niece.And no, I am not going to tell you how Aunt is not really Mom's sister, but the wife of Dad's father's mother's cousin's (mother's brother's) son.
One thing led to another, and I began wondering how I would describe my relation to Dee. Is she my cousin at all? If she is, how many times removed (can I even use that term here) is she? In the light of the relation question comes the bigger question of how I could describe all my "cousins" to anybody who doesn't understand that for me, like many Indians, Arabs, and others, "family" is enough to include all those ties that go back to Adam and Eve.
(I had started writing this some time ago, and then I fell asleep, and like everything else, this waited for me to get back to it. Can't think of anything to add, so there.)