My family had been like an umbrella. With as many shades and people as in the rainbow coloured ones. And the family was bound together, sewn tightly. We shared food, we shared beds, we shared playtime. We learned to grow up together. We were not taught to play together, it came automatically. We were not taught not to let others cry by themselves, it just happened. None told us to comfort the crying child; we just knew it wasn’t right to let our playmate cry. “Don’t cry anymore. Dry your tears. Come we’ll play together. We will play your favourite game today. You can be the teacher. Stop crying….”
Do you remember those golden days? Those days of playing pranks together and getting scolded together. Those days of planned plunders and rapid raids in places we were told to “Don’t go there. Understand?”. Those days when one of us would be getting the hidden delicacies into our pockets and inside our clothes while the others would be busy guarding the door and distracting the elders. Ah! Gone are those beautiful days.
Those days were like the lightest years of my life. That house hosting the joint family was our vacation destination. With so many people around and everyone adding new flavours to the air, life was so satisfying. Those moments of crying when one of the cousins had to leave. Those moments of going over to aunty to plead a few more days of stay. The petty fights, the rains of tears yet the hearty laughter in unison. So many things have been lost.
I remember the pledges we took together. So many of them! The pledge to click so many selfies together when we grow up. The pledge of going shopping together. The pledge of eating out when we grow up. The pledges were mostly originated from what we were excluded from doing by the grown ups. Of course, they have their own lives and the right to enjoy themselves without us kids. But we were too young to understand.
What I remember most are the priceless moments spent with grandpa and granny. Yes. They are really really priceless. Not everyone is lucky enough to access the love of grandparents. Even though for a short time, I was one of such lucky guys.
There are so many moments that I cherish about my childhood. And one of the first and foremost is the joint family I knew. Especially the functions, festivals and birthdays. The “chillar party” was always ready to enjoy themselves. Festivals meant extra engagement for the elders. So, we, the kids never missed taking the opportunity.
Joint families had been a boon in disguise. A blessing. Oops! Let me correct myself. A lost blessing. But why? Why did the joint families have to breakup?