Saturday, 23 April 2011

A family lesson

The effect of Rajkumar and Sooraj Barjatyas and their large family gatherings always had a great impact on me, right from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun days. Families have shrunk from being joint to disjointed and nuclear. The big large family is a rarity these days, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, sisters, brothers, sister-in-laws, brother-in-laws:- the list is ever-growing. Our families these days are so compact- parents and two kids at the most. Gone are those days when we had entire mansions as houses- our lives these days are cramped in 800 sq ft apartments where we seldom know the neighbor.The cookers at home looked like cauldrons, vegetables had to be cut by a group of women, in some houses the stoves were ever-burning!

Living in one small "inter"national family where the inmates visit home once a year for a month, i was in for a pleasant surprise when i visited one of my husband's friend today. Razack is a Superintendent working with my husband who visits home once a year. All these poor "Gelf" employed men visit home once a year, picked up from airport by a battalion of uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters. Zack is no different. Every time he comes home, a tempo traveller picks him from the airport. We visited Zack's newly built home today. His is a joint family of three siblings and their families, living in a two bedroom house along with their aged mother. The shrill laughter of the children- four of them playing greeted us from outside. All the four women of the house were busy cooking and the menfolk were taking care of the outdoor construction work. Remember, this is a normal day in their house.

I always have deep respect for Muslim families who live together, having seen many such loving families whose men are employed abroad. This particular family has completely withstood the test of time, held together by the guidance of the widowed mother and the siblings' commitment to live together. There may be some hiccups like in every family, but so overpowering is the sense of belonging among the little ones who call each other and hold hands, play together. May be i learnt a lesson from the little ones. The chit chat of the women cooking and the men talking lingers in my mind as i write this. Being a 'solitary reaper', i left their family with a heavy heart. A stoic silence envelops my living room as i enter my home and i say to myself my own slogan for the umpteenth time- "There is nothing that money can't buy, for everything else, there is Mastercard!"


  1. wel i have never lived in a joint family but i remember the vaccations we used to have at our nani's place and stayed up all nite wid cousins.
    best moments ever!!!

  2. Joint family are really a boon, barring the occasional hiccups it gives yu a hell of a time..

  3. Times have changed, and we too have changed.
    Although I know of many joint families,I still prefer the nuclear one.
    Of course there is no right or wrong, it depends on the likes of different people, there may be some people who love this and some people who would avoid it at all cost.
    To many people the grass looks greener the other side.
    Nice thought provoking blog.
    BTW, come and visit my space i have updated.

  4. Yeah Nivedita, joint families now no longer exist. I suspect families as institutions may also die a death by the time our children grow up. I remember my chilhood vacations at Trichy where a horde of us would land up every summer and have so much of fun. These days people dont even know their neighbours- a sad existence indeed!

  5. HI
    Joint families can no longer survive as we had lost our tolerance(in tamil sakiputhanmai).and in ur case the men wer workin abroad and the family was reqqd to live together.(for their ease).leave alone Joint families.. in my child hood days ... deepavali s were all festivals were all teenaged girls and women of family ..try making new sweets and savouries.which will be tasted and commented by 10-15 members and the msg spreads out to 40-50 . now All the sweet stalls wer filled wit DEEPAVALI ORDERS and families come together on DEEPAVALI MORNING to depart By that day night.

    And personally i dont advocate Joint family sys of Living as iot is
    1.Always noisy
    2.if a wife wanna take rest.. she will be embarrassed as others keep wrking..
    3.The children do nt get enuf time to study as there will be large flow of RElations.
    4.No privacy...
    SO i personally appreciate Nuclear families.once in a while if they wer able to gather together happily.. tht itself is a gr8 one.

  6. Dear Sadiya, thanks for your comment. If you haven't lived in a joint family for even a few days, you have lost a lot!!!

  7. Dear Perception, thanks for your comment. Yes, joint families are indeed a boon.

  8. Dear Rama, thanks for your comment. Nuclear families too will die a silent death in future, just like how the joint families died:(((

  9. Dear Meera- thanks for your comment. yes, the "family" institutions will die a silent death in future generations. Gone are those days of joint lunches, cooking together, late afternoon flower arrangements, early morning family rangolis...

  10. I have never lived in a joint family either but used to have a great time when the gang of cousins got together during summer break.

    I feel awful that my daughter is missing out on all that bonding. But then this is society evolving and we can't hold back time.

  11. Dear Purba, thanks for your time and comment. Hope you keep your daughter more in touch with joint family- cousins atleast. You are right, be it good or bad, the society is evolving and we have to go with the flow:((

  12. Dear Linhy, thanks for the visit and following. Nice blog you have got abd i am glad to be your follower too!


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