Thursday, October 13, 2005

Do You Like Kids?

It was this article that got me thinking about one of my cousins. Let's call him Sumon.

Sumon got married in Bangladesh and soon moved to the States with his new wife. He had a great job, and for four years, they lived happily. However, they had no kids. As is usual, suggestions from everyone around was ever present.

"You should make this dua (prayer) and blow three times ..."

"Have faith in God."

"You should sleep in a East-West direction."

To his wife: "Have you made milk with nuts for him at night?" (some old Bengali wives' tales).

Then, in the fifth year of marriage - First son.
In the sixth year of marriage - Second son.
In the seventh year of marriage - Third son.
In the eighth year of marriage - First daughter.

As is custom for Bengalis, everyone has two names. The official name, that you place on your certificates and passports, and the nick name (daak naam) that has absolutely no relation to your proper name, used by family.

Sumon's nickname for his daughter was Eiti, a common Bengali name.

Now Eiti is ALSO how you end Bengali letters. It is the equivalent of 'Yours Truly', or 'Sincerely'. It's how you sign off. For whatever reason, for five years now since Eiti's birth, no more kids. Eiti indeed.

And now, here was this family on CNN with four times as many kids.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- Michelle Duggar just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again.

Saffiyah discusses the case here. I like this comment by aidan:

"good lord. I can't even take care of a fish tank"

Once I met this girl at an Iftar party. We got talking, and it turned out she was studying sociology. We were discussing the ageing population of Canada. She then asked me what I thought the optimal number of kids for a family was.

For some reason I misunderstood and thought she was asking what time it was.

"Ten," I had replied.

Needless to say there was an Eiti on the conversation.

4 comments:

Shabina said...

That Bengali two-name tradition reminds me of "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest you check it out! It's about an American-born Bengali kid who struggles all his life with the name his immigrant parents give him (Goggle), as it serves as a metaphor for his neither here-nor-there reality.

Safiyyah said...

LOL. Ten indeed! ;-)

mezba said...

Yup, Shabina, I am familiar with Ms Lahiri's work. Although she is generally not my type I got and enjoyed her Interpreter of Maladies (she won the Pulitzer for that). BTW if you really want to avoid a boring book in that category stay away from Arranged Marriages by Chitra B. Divakaruni.

A great book I read recently (before Ramadan) was Dan Brown's Deception Point.

starbender said...

I love kids, but 16 is too many! God Bless Her!