I was blessed to be born in a beautiful happy joint family.
- My Grand mother – My fathers mother with amazing intellect and a typical housewife. Her world is her family.
- My Grand father – He died before I was born. I know very little about him.
- My Perripappa (My fathers elder brother – first son of the family) – Great pillar of the house. Best example of love with non attachment. This is different from detachment.
- My perriamma (My perriaapas wife – My fathers elder brothers wife -first daughter in law of the family) – I will not call her the pillar rather call her the foundation of the family.
- My father – To be frank my father didn’t posses any great qualities. He was really worried of the future and slightly negative with his thoughts. Not a great spender. But complete devotion for his elder brother, always stood for the decision of his brother. Very good talker. His word of welcome for the guests is his unique quality. A loud “vango vango” means “welcome welcome” in tamil.
- My mother – I personally feel I possess the intellect qualities from her. Quick decisions. Not bothered about the outcome. Somehow make it happen. Can’t stand people who take time to decide. Always there for love. For loving words she will do anything. Very independent.
- Four Aunts – (My father’s sisters). All married and well settled.
- Four kids at home – All girls – 2 daughters for my perriappa and 2 daughters for my father.
- I am the eldest daughter of my father. Always felt that I am the third daughter of the family.
Leader cum role model required
- To establish a happy joint family a leader cum role model is required.
- In our family it was the perriappa.
- He never used to participate in the daily chores.
- He used to take major decisions.
- Everybody in the family used to follow him.
- Some kind of devotion.
- We never felt that the decisions are forced as he never interfered in the daily affairs at all.
- Very rarely he will tell something, so it was not a problem.
- We all strongly believed that whatever he says is in good interest for us.
- Example: When I finished my 1oth standard – which is the major subject I will choose for my career was discussed in my family. His words,” you do what you want but we will not pay any donation and we will not put a girl child in the hostel”. I am free to choose anything I want within this. No other words will be spoken to accommodate anything.
- Even my mother or my father will not say anything and will not try to convince him saying that she has got good marks let her study in the hostel if she gets a free admission etc.
- Some decision taken is taken.
- In that process many times we have had some restrictions but we have learned the clarity in decision making.
Unity in diversity
- Normally the major problem in any joint family is the financial issues.
- In our house my perriappa was the biggest earning member. My father just contributed some fixed amount for the family.
- All the extra ordinary expenses were met mostly by my perriappa.
- Not even once he would have opened his mouth or given a gesture that he is spending more.
- He always used to buy things for the kids of the family.
- Say he bought a chocolate then he would hand it over to the youngest child my younger sister. Never an issue. All of us used to share and eat.
- Both the brothers were a complete contrast. Still no issues.
- This was possible because of the feeling of belonging or appnapan (hindi) or nambhava (tamil).
- There was no differentiation felt between his kids and his brothers.
A person for managing the routines required
- The daily routines were managed by my grand mother.
- As the sun would rise in the morning whatever happens in the world – say India lost the cricket match, major power cut etc. Similarly my grandmother would wake up by 3.30 am in the morning and the meal for the whole family is ready by 7.30 am.
- No one in the family got delayed for the work just for the reason the food is not ready. This didn’t happen even once.
- Even if she is sick she will cook a simple meal and lie down.
- Of course the two great daughters in laws will also take over. Some arrangement; but the food is ready on time.
- After the food is prepared she would go and perform her pooja and just relax.
- Not even once she will interfere and ask how does the food taste? Is it sufficient? etc.
- Complete confidence.
- Believe me, not even one day it tasted bad.
- My mother and perriamma will serve or pack the food, clean the house and wash the cloths.
- Irrespective of what ever happens they will do their work.
- Even if they have to go out they will finish their work and then leave the house.
- Nobody will tell my grandmother as to how she cooked or my grand mother will never interfere in the process of cleaning. All accepted as everyone is best in their jobs.
- Not even once we have heard her saying I am getting up so early for the family or what I will cook today (even on those days the vegetables ran out of stock). She will immediately decide ok let me make the dhal chutney tomorrow etc.
- This is a great motivation for me to get up daily and prepare the food on time. I want the same sanskar for my kids. I am too lucky to have a husband who has given the same freedom for me and never criticises my work.
- We all had so many restrictions but complete freedom with in a boundary.
- Say during Diwali lots of sweets and savories are made in the house.
- My grand mother and both the daughter in laws would make it.
- My aunts used to visit our house to take the blessings of my granny.
- The sweets and savories would be distributed to them by my mother and my perriamma. They had a separate rapo with the aunts.
- The distribution will be made based on their needs say some aunt is in the joint family so they need more or somebody else would require less etc.
- My grandmother will never interfere and she will trust the daughter in laws.
- Never in our house is a discussion made as to why you gave so much or so little. Even if something like that comes up my grandmother would say never mind they are only the daughters of the house next time we will give them more.
- May be everybody had little role to play but with complete freedom.
- None of the kids will ask anything that they want. May be you call it the fear or respect.
- Mostly we got whatever we wanted on time.
- “Those kids who cannot understand the gesture of their parents cannot understand any explanation”. “Jo bacha mummy papa ke aken ki isshara samaj nahi payeka oh koyi explanation be samjaga nahi” -Hindi.
- There was nothing that was explained to us. Just decisions were communicated. We used to understand and act accordingly.
- We never felt bad or found it a force.
- Freedom; within a boundary.
No doubt in love
- We have never been scolded by my fathers.
- What a blessing -I have you see. I have not got any scolding from my fathers.
- Of course I have made some mistakes and they would have shown a gesture of not liking and I might have felt bad. But never reminded of the mistakes made or pinpointed or scolded or warned.
- Of course my mothers used to scold us for the mistakes. But rarely did it have an impact on us. We used to say amma and manni (perriamma) you both are always like that.
- No one was pinpointing mistakes on each other though all of us used to make some small mistakes.
- I think this was possible because nobody doubted the other persons love.
- There was no partiality in decision making.
- Even though it is there sometimes nobody will raise their voice as they clearly understood the love element (unconditional love).
- I have already finished writing a huge article. But again I can write pages about it as it is the most important to run a happy family.
- Irrespective of whatever happens we should have the positive attitude.
- But unfortunately this positive attitude appears to many people as a careless attitude.
- We need to clear this impression in the mind. Have some faith and it will vanish.
- Then the world would appear a safer place to live. Leave the world -atleast the house will appear a safer place to live.
Show the right direction
Though I have mentioned earlier the parents or the elderly people have to show the right direction and leave the place for the kids to decide on their own. They should not monitor every activity.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
― James Baldwin
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
― Anne Frank
Even after marriage I have not got any instruction from my parents to perform. They might feel many things we are doing are not correct. But have never given me any instructions. They always say these positive words like “I know you are thinking good only good thing will happen or never worry thinks will improve or we know our daughter she can manage anything” etc.
We need a very high intellect to do this. But people misunderstand this as a very careless behaviour.
Many a times even I have thought that my family is not giving any support to me. How mean I am – I want their support when I wanted and also expecting them to not interfere in other things. Either they will interfere in everything or they will leave you free.
I completely understand the freedom they have given and always showing the right direction just with some positive words. This is called love without attachment and this is definitively not detachment.
- Some system – good or bad, right or wrong is required in the family.
- Each family member has to obey that.
- Clear demarcation of duties.
- Say in my house if kids are asking something about food. My husband would say it is for your mother to decide. She knows your health.
- Children are clear, for all food related issues: it is the mother.
- Say I will decide the clothes for all the family members if we are heading towards a party or wedding. On a daily basis they will wear as per their choice. Kids also feel that my mother can choose the dress better. Never will I be in confusion to choose the cloths ask my husband for suggestion etc. My decision however it is- is final.
- Never have I made a wrong choice. My husband might give me hints sometimes that don’t do this next time etc.
- May be this is too simple an example. But some system is required and some job delegation is required. With full freedom. Error is human and it has to be ignored and not pinpointed or tested or warned.
- Who will sacrifice? How much we will sacrifice? Are the general questions asked.
- Of course the elder people have to sacrifice the most.
- Say in our family my grand mother; my perriappa and perriamma have sacrificed the most.
- When compared to me my elder sisters might have sacrificed more.
- The more you sacrifice out of love the more mature you become.
- Normally the elder people of the family are more mature and wise and the younger people are more fortunate to get everything with little sacrifice.
- Develop the love for each family member, accept them as yours, don’t doubt anybodies love, don’t pinpoint, don’t interfere…………….
To sum up just living together under one roof will not make a good joint family. Some happiness and contentment should be felt within by each family member and that will make it a BEST HAPPY JOINT FAMILY…………
Secret for the best happy joint family is the attitude of the each family member.