Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Joint Families - Line.....

I subscribe to a podcast that I think is just hilarious. It's been around a long time and I highly recommend it for anyone in a relationship with an Indian. Arun Krishnan puts a comical perspective on just about all things Indian in one way or another. The podcast is called Learn Hindi From Bollywood Movies. In it Arun breaks down scenes from Bollywood movies " line."

This has been on my mind a lot lately and in the spirit of Arun, I want to put my own take on things by breaking down the words of a popular (older) country line lol. Now keep in mind I am not teaching you English, I'm just adding a comical view of living in a joint family.

Artist: Doug Stone
Song: Little Houses

"But you know, love grows best in little houses"
-really...because with flowers the pot simply must get bigger or the roots begin to choke each other. I'm thinking people could react the same way...just saying!

"With fewer walls to separate"
-not seeing that here, there are plenty of walls in this small house and everyone lives within their own walls.

"Where you eat and sleep so close together, you can't help but communicate."
-True, there are no secrets here.

"Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss"
-yes, like the smelly sweat and stench of whatever uncle ji ate for lunch and the full details of aunty's brothers latest ailment.

;) Obviously I'm not Arun.... but I think those of you who have lived in joint families get the idea. The more annoying the circumstances, the more love that grows.....right? lol


  1. Hi,
    Joint family system of India, is a very old tradition, and even though in Urban India, it is a weaning practice, due to lack of space and want for more personal freedom , it does have it's advantages as well.

    I'm sorry but I found the tone of your post a little mocking, and while you don't have to agree with the practice, or see any benefit to it, unless you are being forced to live in one, without any means of getting out, there's no reason, to make a mockery of a practice that's worked in a culture of several centuries . Just because things happen differently in the west, doesn't mean kids leaving parents's homes when they are 18 is any better, it may work in some cases, in other cases it might have drawbacks.

    In your post you've only focused on the annoying parts of a joint family, sure there are those, but there are also some great parts to it...and someone who looks at it, with a tainted, pre determined mindset, will never see those pluses...

  2. I actually lived in a joint family in America growing up as well for years. I lived with my great-grandmother, grandmother, cousin, his wife and 2 kid, brother, and his wife and kid. This isn't my first experience with the situation. The other part of my childhood I lived in a semi-joint family where there were just more walls and a lot more space between the dwelling rooms (like across the courtyard).

    While it was not my intent to sound mocking (and I even mentioned it was an attempt at being comical), I guess it could have. However, good and bad are totally perspective. Things you may think are good, I may not and vice versa. With that being said, none of the things I mentioned were any different than living with a husband and children or with parents and siblings in a nuclear family who get on your nerves, smell up the house or lock themselves in their rooms for drama.

    This is, unfortunately, the drama that comes with living with anyone. Love does grow even though they get on your last nerve - you just don't always see it growing.

  3. I love when blogs act as pressure valves on those livable but nagging problems...your pots and roots comment made me chuckle.

    We're not intergenerational (yet), but we do have a 430sqft apartment with two grad students' stuff, which is quite small by American Midwest standards (our friends in Manhattan actually have a bigger place than us -- that one stung a little). I was talking about the small size to my brother (one of the few people in my life who grew up with country music) and mentioned the song, and he said he was thinking of it too.

    I think there's some truth to it -- you learn to compromise, to work around each other, to consider and check in with each other. (It's helped since we realized I work best in a coffeeshop/McD's and he doesn't mind the expense because he works best in an empty apartment.) However...we are SUPER excited to be DOUBLING our square footage and getting a dedicated office (and a 2-person kitchen) when we move soon!

    I think we really did benefit/grow from learning to sacrifice in all those little ways and to be essentially constantly present with each other during that first year of marriage...but I'm ready to let love grow to fit the pot for a while!

  4. You do learn to compromise more and such in small places. Sadly, sometimes our small room feels too big lol. And I think we all know how a big bed can be too big and next thing you know you're on opposite sides of it. I don't mind the small space until his mom corners me and starts talking so much and so fast I could never catch a word she's saying, then she doesn't understand why I don't answer lol. OMG. It's funny and I do look back and laugh but I think about that song often and how I miss (just a little) being in a house of my own with my own space and privacy.

  5. Beds are funny. We were so excited about getting a queen, instead of the full (which usually required us to synchronize movements -- "I'm going to turn over, can you move your arm" -- "I need to lay on my back, can you lay on your side?")...and the first night, I remember thinking -- "You're so far away!"

    Don't get me wrong, I love the queen and would consider a king someday...but I think fondly back to the days of the full-size (and a few nights on a twin that only early and intense infatuation can explain).

  6. Lol. Too true Sara. It is fun in the beginning till you realize you're not as nice without sleep hahaha. Oh man, the memories. Of course, we will always have small cars no matter how big our houses get. Those I don't think can be fully remedied..even with the full size Suburbans and such.