Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's all in a family relationship

Relationship of any kind is complex in nature. As long as things are fine relationship goes well but it is very difficult to judge or predict when it can turn sour. I am not here to discuss the Behavioral science of human nature. They are far too complex to understand by a common man like me. I have only questions in mind about those relations.

There was a time when three or four generations living harmoniously and happily under one roof. The head of the family was like Godfather who used to command immense respect from each of the family members irrespective of their age. Men folks used to earn, women folks looking after household chores like kitchen, cleaning, looking after children, washing clothes etc. Every thing was shared by all equally. There was no sign of jealousy and back biting.  The head of the family had the last say in every matter of the house and every body used to listen and abide by them without any questions asked! This may be out of respect or fear, nobody bothered.  Every thing was accepted without any grouse, ill-will or opposition from any quarter.

Now, this concept of happy joint family is disappearing barring some business community where all are in the same trade to look after their business interest. The urge to go for greener pasture abroad, onset of education, moving out for jobs, inter caste/ religion marriage, need of privacy and space have all taken its toll on joint family. It has disintegrated to make way for nuclear family concept. Individualism & self centeredness has crept in the minds. While needs of family and their aspirations are going up, lack of time, zeal and initiative are taking its toll on the family relationship.

Gone are the days when during summer holidays, all family members with their children used to assemble in one place to spend quality time with others. Children used to wait for summer holidays months ahead. They all used to have gala time playing, going places, chit chatting and enjoying movies/shopping without any ill feelings towards the other. Even after going back to their respective homes, they used to be in touch with each other by way of letters.

Now when a faster mode of communication like email and Skype is available children have neither interest in bonding nor the time to be in touch barring few of their friends. The love, affection, bonding, closeness of yesteryears are no where visible now. What if they all have grown in age? It is said that ‘Wisdom comes with age’ but here the wisdom seldom works! All such relationship has now boiled down to say just ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you’ when they meet ‘by chance’ and not beyond. Sometimes not even that. They do not have any other matter to talk to. In fact, they don't feel the need to talk!

No serious issues, no differences, no fight, no arguments but still the gulf between them widened silently over a period of time.  If at all there were any unknown issues, not necessarily between them directly, those issues may be pretty old amongst their parents or even grand parents but not even known to children, the spill over continues. The bonding of childhood days becomes very weak and sometimes arrogance & ego overpowers those relations.

Today very often we read and hear that without clinging to the past, one has to move on in life for happiness but does it anyway stops one from wondering as to how in a family these relations become sore leaving several unanswered questions of when, how & why it all went wrong?


  1. Nice read ! Changed priorities, new income sources and changed needs are defining things. Now economy is the driving force :-)

  2. This situation is really painful. I also feel this, bonding of childhood days becomes weak with growing age...why? I think ego is becoming stronger and stronger with time. Also life (or mind) has become too busy to talk with family members.


    Nice I just read you blog on disintegration of the joint family and values. I think it is all a part of evolution and progress we have to accept and proceed. I can understand your feelings but things have changed.
    With education and independence, it is no longer possible for people to be obedient and listen to one family member. That order has gone, much like kings and queens have gone and given way to governments. Today, like we can;t have a king ruling us, we cant really have 4 generations staying together. Everything changes with time. Today, couples are living together without getting married and married couples are opting not to have much is changing....the Ganges always flows from the source to the sea....a reverse flow is not you can understand...
    - Dr.Pudugram Vaidyanathan


    By H Devaraja Rao
    Your post brought back the memories of my childhood days. Gone are those happy days!
    Concept of family has changed largely. Families are fast becoming nuclear, so much so that the "joint family" will soon be relegated to a footnote.

    By Neelam Saxena Chandra
    Very well written.

  6. Comments received through email-

    Very important .Hope all those who have gone through your Blog will sit back and rethink.

  7. Received through email-

    -Very well written to the point! Many times I also ponder what's happened?
    Anyway we have to move in life as you have written. You must be having a
    Better understanding as you also counsel people. Keep writing.
    Jyoti Chakravarthy

  8. Comments through email-
    -I read your Blog Post on waning relationships and I agree with your views and sentiments.
    But, is there an alternative or prospects for a U-Turn in the matter ?
    Chandrasekharan T

  9. This post has been selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

  10. Both joint family and nuclear family have their advantages/limitations. I don't subscribe to your view that people were so happy in joint families earlier. If that was the case, nuclear families would never have happened.

    The problem is with trust. You cannot trust anyone (including your closest family member) and hence that is one main reason why relationships are breaking down. Even friendships, for that matter.

    We are facing a problem of excess wealth/resources these days that causes many of our present problems (I think).

    Destination Infinity

  11. Comments on Facebook-
    Radhika Kadaba ---Very well expressed and is true.
    Sreedevi Mukundan-- Life was very easy going and simple in those days. !so joint family system worked. Distance, time ,education,vocation has all undergone a sea of change. We have also moved with time. Hence that feeling of unpreparedness for times gone by,in our sunset years ,wen we have a lot of time for retrospective!

  12. Agree with the overall message Mr. Ayyangar! In the name of modernity, everything, almost everything, is justified. Self-respect (in the form of fighting for one's own space) is much more important than respect for others. Happiness for self is much more important than happiness for others. Happiness for self at the cost of others' happiness is not considered wrong. Though slightly disagree when you say people were happy in joint families. Many a times it was out of compulsion that they "lived happily".

  13. I think we all need to accept and tame our minds that change is inevitable and the sooner we accept it we all will live with same love harmony and care for each other. Due to modern day technology people are loosing their skills to express and communicate effectively and forgetting true human natire of love care respect and missing the wonderful gift of God to experience all kinds of relations through this precious life. Today people connect but there is no emotion of love and care attached to it. Some consider it as duty or formality to meet and greet then the human touch is lost. We all are finally an ootcome of our choices that we make in life. So change need to begin inside onself to live a relationship.

  14. During yesteryears, the number of siblings in a family were three or more and hence their children accounted to a decent bunch for a holiday gettogether . In the 80s onwards that reduced to two or less per family and now the number of grandchildren also decreased. Yes, many factors have contributed to this social change but one cannot avoid change I suppose

  15. I agree with you, Sir. We are changing and the bond is not that strong now. It takes a lot of effort to keep relationships alive and many don't have time.

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