In many ways, the Ponam that we saw would have been instantly recognisable to Meyer Fortes. In much of their daily interactions, islanders talked about and acted toward each other in terms of their kin relationships. The men who went in the cool of the early morning to clear the ground around a stand of palms explained their presence by describing how they were related to each other. The women who chatted and tended the fire during the long, slow process of cooking coconut cream down to oil explained themselves in the same way. The child who was urged to fetch water, and be polite about it, was told to do so 'for your aunt', not 'for Julia' or even 'for Aunt Julia'. The man who stayed behind and sprinkled powdered lime and admonitions, after the mourners had taken the coffin to the graveside service, explained that he was of the class of relative the dead woman's spirit would respect and heed, when he told her to quit the village she knew and loved and go to the cemetery with her body.