“Cousin “the english word which murdered many Indian words indicating relations .
With “we two and ours two” , becoming “we two ours one” and slowly further slipping to “we two and ours none” , the endearing words used to indicate many close relation ships are slowly vanishing from almost all Indian languages.
Added to this is the english conquest of all languages. Suddenly the names of all relations changed in to “cousins” .All our relations except our siblings were our cousins .So there was need for words differentiating cousins.The endearment which those words lead have vanished.
Ammanchi (a cousin) is one such tamil word indicating maternal uncle’s son .It seems it came from the word “Amman chei”(son of the uncle).
My grand father was the last child of a family .He had five elder sisters. I understand that he built a tiled house in Puducode Vadakke gramam some 120 years back taking lot of loan.Few years later Vadakke gramam got fire and his tiled house turned in to ashes.Naturally he lost everything and suddenly became very poor. Kamakshi was one of his elder sisters , who lived in Chelakkara.She took her brother and his family to Chelakkara .
Though he had three sons and three daughters , two of his sons died young and my father was the only son who survived.He was the only Ammanchi to the children and grand children of all his five atahais(maternal aunt) .He was a treasured and very close relation to all of them .Though he was poor compared to many of them, Since he was their only ammanchi ,they loved him a lot and he was the most important guest in all their functions in their houses. He was ammanchi to three generation of his Athai’s children.
I was the eldest son of my father and so all these three generation of children used to call me “Ammanchi Kutti”. The next generation also knows me by that name only .Even today If you tell hundreds of members of that huge family about P.R.Ramachander or Raja they would not understand . To them I am their own “Ammanchi Kutti”. If in spite of nearing 80 , I am called by a three year old as “Ammanchi Kutti” , I will certaibly recognize who that baby is.
Here is an group photo ,for majority of whom I am Ammanchi kutti.