Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Didi, elder sister

If you thought ‘didi’ denoted a filial relationship, think again. One of the first lessons you learn is that any female acquaintance of the previous generation is ‘aunty’, and anyone not old enough to be one is ‘didi’. The lines often blur- even a very young mother will invariably be addressed as ‘aunty’, but an older woman might remain a ‘didi’ till she gets married. 

Outside the social circle, ‘didi’ indicates perceived age. Vegetable-vendors, plumbers, cab-drivers; they will all address you as ‘didi’ even if they are several years older. Revel. Because the day they stop, you become an ‘aunty’.

There are words, and there are words. Some words can be easily translated, others need to be described.  In April, I’ll attempt to capture the Soul of 26 'Indian' words in a  drabble of exactly 100 words.


Margot Kinberg said...

Natasha - Every time I visit your blog I learn something new. It's so interesting how a word takes on different shades of meaning that go far beyond its literal meaning. How neat!

Joy said...

Hi, I'm following your blog for the A to Z challenge and I have to say I've learned more about India in the past four days.

One of my good friends growing up was from India and so I've definitely been exposed to the culture (well, Americanized Indian culture) but it's cool to get some of the little nuances with your word study.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I think I'll stay didi, although I'm a mother, so I might be aunty too.

Interesting culture lesson Rayna.


Chuck said...

Nice post, didi :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Interesting! And I think aunty sounds sweet.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Oh... this is very interesting!

Now I'm heading to the "Chai" since I'm a Chai tea lover!


Damyanti said...

Thanks for bringing India to life on your pages. In India, I missed my name---now that I live abroad, I miss those 'relationships'.

--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I'm back living in the south after living in California for many years and one of the things I'd forgotten about is how in some areas (and generations) everyone is sister or or aunty or uncle --the latter two if close enough friends, but sister could be anyone.
Thank you for the peek in.

Timothy Brannan said...

very cool word.

I am trying to read all the A to Z blogs, but coming back to the ones I really like.
Looking forward to seeing what you do all month!

The Other Side
The Freedom of Nonbelief

SueAnn said...

That is really interesting! I can see why they keep calling others didi now. Ha


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