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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

its all in the family

Suddenly this urge got to me to pen a piece on ‘family’ – it is a word we all hear. In days of yore, the focus was on joint families – with a dozen or so siblings growing up together, getting married and, in turn, having their own families, it used to be a real big household. In such families, the women, who were seldom educated looked after the kitchen in the daytime and tend to the needs of the respective husbands at night. The children grew up under the care and attention of the real elderly ones, especially the grandmothers or the grandfathers.

As generations moved on, the joint system was discarded for the satellite or the modular ones – the separations were usually very subtle; the reasons would be jobs that would take one away from the apron strings or getting married to one who does not belong to the caste or a desire to be independent and explore the world on his own. Celebration of festivals was a truly gorgeous affair with members of the family descending on their ancestral homes from different parts of the country (and, occasionally, from abroad!) to share a few moments of happiness. Differences in the social standings of individual members of the family would be temporarily forgotten but would be carried away as painful memories to be nursed in isolation till the next meet. A corollary to the perennial tussle between the expectations and achievements.

When a need was felt by the Government to limit families in order to contain the population explosion, the slogan doing the rounds was ‘do ya teen, bus’. Within a short time, this was modified to ‘hum do, hamare do’. Next came the single child norms and, the ultimate was the DINK philosophy.

Out of curiosity, I ‘googled’ on the net for the word ‘family’ and came up with a number of variations. They make for interesting reading.

The link is - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/family

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