Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Shriveling of The Extended Family


I remember when I was young we used to have a fixed two months' summer vacation and every year without fail,we would visit my mother's brothers in those vacations.My father did not have any sibling or living parent.There was never a doubt that my uncles' families may not be at home or it may not be convenient for them to have us.

We would halt at Ambala,where my elder uncle lived and then proceed to Nahan where my second uncle and grandfather lived.We were always welcomed with open arms and had great fun with our cousins.During the rest of the year our home was a focal point for our cousins to visit.These meetings fostered affectionate bonds between us.

I wonder how many of us mingle as frequently and informally as we used to,then.Our lives have changed phenomenally.The idea of an extended family might seem incongruous to the millennium kids but a need for togetherness and belonging is ever present in the human heart.Today this hunger is being satiated by social networking sites and countless gadgets.But even a hundred facebook friends or a thousand 'likes' cannot take the place of genuine human warmth.

No wonder,despite 24x7 connectivity this age is being termed as the age of loneliness.This is partly responsible for the hike in mental disorders.Our support systems have dwindled.From an extended family to a nuclear family to one-child-norm to broken homes to live-in relationships;how many loving persons will there be in a child's ambit tomorrow when s/he feels lonely and confused?

But even as I say this I know that the clock cannot be turned back.This is a natural progression of events--no body's fault but everybody's lot.

18 comments :

  1. What a pithy conclusion, Indu! AND, yes, I too was blessed with that warmth and fun of an extended family. I do not know how it works in the next gen, but we cousins are still close to each other - closer maybe than siblings of the current generation :)

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    1. Thank you Suresh.I consider us folks to be a lucky tribe :)

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  2. I've grown up in a joint family and I know exactly what you are saying. That is an amazing joy and learning experience, which today's kids miss

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    1. Today's children live in a completely different environment as you say.The tragedy is,that not much can be done about it.Careers and ambitions spread them all over the globe.

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  3. So very true Indu....We used to go to our grandparents place for the holidays and despite the heat of the summer they used to be super cool days! True , it is an age of loneliness ....Sigh!

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    1. Glad you agree with me jaish.
      Love n hugs.

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  4. Important post Indu ji

    I too wonder why this change in our social system --but I have discovered that the main reason is the fact that every one is so career conscious and ----every one is so busy trying to meet their ambitions that they fail to connect with their extended families the way we did ---haven't you seen the way we attend weddings etc --in our times we used to reach the venue days in advance , help in preparations ---but today even the closest of relations reach one day in advance and leave the next day after the ceremony ----no time , job demands , exams etc etc

    So its not so much the intentions which are to be blamed but the demands of life thatare responsible

    thanks once again for this food for thought
    love
    rajni

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    1. It is amazing how are lives followed a set pattern though far removed in space.Your analysis is very pertinent.Ambitions take the kids away from their home towns,if they do not mingle with relatives how will they learn to love n appreciate them.Sad!
      Love n hugs Rajni.

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  5. Such a beautiful post, Induji, raises genuine questions and gives so much food for thought. Togetherness that is not digitized and gadgetized is really the need of the hour today.

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    1. Thank you Arti.Yes genuine connections are very special.

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  6. Oh yes, Indu. Very well said. I have some beautiful memories of extended family while growing up. My kids are fortunate to be very close to my niece. We meet regularly but the visits are less because both of us are working professionally. That compared to my mother and mami who were homemakers makes the trips shorter.

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    1. Rachna it is good that your kids have this advantage but it is becoming rare nowadays.
      I love to know your feelings,thanks for coming.

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    1. Thank you Rohan for your views.As you say everybody wants to earn a decent living and for that many changes have to be made.
      Thanks for reading.

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  8. Nice post Indu - norms change with changing times. I too concur with Rohan's views. Though there is a fun in being among a number of people in a family but when living by oneself is a necessity, we need to adapt to that as well in the best possible manner.

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    1. Yes Somali,one has to change with the changing times.It is best to adapt.
      Have a nice day:)

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  9. It's sad in a way, isn't it? I grew up in a family of five children and while we were not really close to extended family, we had many substitutes if that makes sense so we were always surrounded by loving people. I find living in a different country, that it is so important for me to create "family" among the friends I encounter. I have never experienced what you have but it sounds idyllic. Thank you for sharing and for a really relevant post!

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    1. I am glad you have loving friends to surround you,and it was a very wise decision to bring this about.Living far away from where one grew up takes a toll,somewhere.
      Yes those days were idyllic but these days are different.

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Thanks for reading my post.I hope you liked it :).