Today I became a periamma. My sister has a beatiful 9lb11oz. bundle of joy and I am ecstatic about becoming an aunt. But I am not ecstatic about becoming a "periamma". What's in a title? you may ask. But think about it - the cool aunt is the "chitthi", the fun aunt is her, the playful one, the one with whom you can get into vambu and veshamam, the one who gets scolded by Paati along with you. THe one who can throw tantrums just like you and have thatha or Paati still call her "kutti" (even though you are the real kutti of the house). She will run around the house with you and generally goad you into more mischief. She will beg with you for treats from Paati and amma. And she will play with you more than any other person in the house. Periamma - sigh, a periamma is an authoritarian, she is the one who doles out the treats you and your chithi asked for with identical puppy-dog expressions. She is the one that tells you to be more responsible, why, she even tells your amma to be more responsible. She is the one you can complain to about your amma and watch your amma getting told off . While that brought me great glee when I was little, do I necessarily want my niece to see me in that role? Not that I would mind telling my sister off occasionally. (she is our "kutti" you see and I CAN tell her off :)). I could ask her to call me "aunty" but i have never been a fan of unifying all our wonderful, numerous, relationship-specifying titles into one bland all-encompassing black umbrella of "Uncle" or "Aunty". Can you imagine not calling your father's sister "athai" or your mum's brother "mama" or your aunt "manni" or "chithi" or "perimma"? Exactly. So my niece WILL call me "perimma". And I will just smile everytime she does and learn to like it because I know that chithi or perimma, my love for her will always be the same (and maybe I will manage to throw in some chitthi style looti with her one day).
4 weeks ago