Defining the quintessential Indian family…

I don’t know about you, but what comes to my mind first while talking about the Indian family is the melodrama — the kind of melodrama that is a necessary part of our daily lives. Drama seems to be ingrained in us, merged as it is with our family politics. Here, even the simplest of details, the silliest of issues cannot be overlooked. Everything must be analysed and scrutinised by watchful eyes and ears. Principles are declared and opinions are voiced, all for the sake of beguiling others into thinking that the declarer is a forward thinking human being.

The truth is, no, we aren’t. As long as we love the drama, as long as we blow up molehills into mountains, we aren’t all that smart.

The gaping generation gap cannot be forgotten, of course. Elders of the family simply cannot stand it when they see things going on smoothly or otherwise without their involvement. Maybe it is the fear of being left out, maybe it is just another ploy to assert dominance – I don’t pretend to know why they do what they do. But this plays a major role, because more often than not, this is the cause for most strife in the family.

Why we complicate our own lives, why we pay attention to inconsequential issues or why we can’t let go of our humungous egos, remains a mystery to me. Maybe it’s an adult thing, something an 18-year-old is “too young to understand”. I can’t say I’m too bummed about not understanding it though.

I don’t know if families everywhere are like this nor do I know how they work. I can only vouch for the one family I do know — the Indian family — the needlessly complicated, amusingly messy affair that it is.

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