They're the best friends whom your parents actually allow you to sleep over with, the squad who makes Eid celebrations even in the remotest village lit, or even the overachieving snakes who deepen your suspicions about being adopted. Cousins are essential for survival (specially during family dawaats).
THE “WHY CAN'T YOU BE LIKE HER?” COUSIN
I'd ask you to aspire to become these cousins, but years of experience have taught me better than to get your hopes shattered. No matter, how good you are, you'll never be them. Exhibit A:
Mom: Why can't you speak politely the way Maisha does? Did you hear about her 7 A*s in O levels. Why can't that be you? Her life is more put together than you desk is. Why can't you wear the orna decently like she does?
Me: Now you're not even making sense, I'm a guy.
Mom: Now you're talking back to me. You know who wouldn't do that? MAISHA. You have the same blood flowing through your veins. How did you turn up like this?
This conversation raises a very important question: “Is she the adopted one in the family or are you?”
THE BIDESHI COUSIN
Almost every family has a cousin living abroad. When once in four years they'll decide to grace the family with their presence, you and the rest of your deshi born-and-bred cousins become slaves to their majesties. Say goodbye to the good murgi piece, your comfy bed and any acknowledgment of existence from the family. They'll saunter in with their thick Banglish accents, passing comments like "Mami, amake mosquito bite korche." and their allergies with “the iron-filled Dhaka water”.
It's really almost crazy how much attention they get. Or perhaps you're just crazy jealous.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
These cousins are wonders of nature, defying all laws of the Bengali dynamics. They aim to woo the chachas and the khalas AND live the good Bangladeshi teenage life. This cousin is all about wearing the right clothes and helping with dishes in dawaats and speaking in shuddho Bangla. But she's not fooling you. You're added to her “other” Facebook account, and her Snapchat. You know she wasn't out for group studying and that guy definitely isn't her “lab partner”. But do you tell on her? Of course not. This is the cousin you aspire to become. Of course even if you did tell on her no one would believe you. She's got straight A's to back her up.
THE COUSIN-WHO-YOU-DON'T-REALLY-THINK-IS-YOUR-COUSIN-BUT-YOU-DON'T-KNOW-WHAT-ELSE-TO-CALL-THEM-SO-YOU-CALL-THEM-COUSIN COUSIN
This is the random bloke your parents introduced you as your cousin at a wedding. Maybe he really is your cousin, maybe your parents are just saving themselves the headache of figuring out how you're really related so they just tossed them in the “cousin” pile. The point is, whenever all the background blur gets too confusing, just call them cousin and call it a day.
At the end of the day though, isn't everyone your cousin? Because shob Bengali bhai-bhai.
Samin Sabah Islam believes, there are very few problems in life, if any, that a good nap can't fix. If she isn't asleep, your queries may be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org