A simple discussion at a recent family event.. Event going on in full swing, people enjoying themselves, guests coming and going, laughter, fun and frolic every where.. Time just passed by, with every one having a laugh here, a joke there and a guffaw coming out from some where. Every one sitting and time simply forgotten. A generic feeling. This is what you call family.
With people sitting in different groups, discussing different topics, a subject that came out was, amazing that how for the family event, every one came. Relatives from different countries, Relatives that people have not spoken to for years, Relatives, the well to do and the not so well to do.
My first comment was Hello..!! This is family, why would relatives not come in at a family function. What has this got to do with any thing else. Yes, one does see the occasional family issues where people don’t talk to each other, but then, family is all about that. You see differently, you may not agree, you may not see eye to eye, but in good times and in bad times, you are all together. A family shares the Joys and Sorrows together.
As this discussion took ground, among a few people, one comment that shook me was.. The family is united because the head is very well off. He has the capacity to spend, take people out, blow money and that is what binds the family. What do I say, other than was stunned at the comment. The next comment was even better.. Our family is not united, because we never had any one that strong who could bind the family, you know, have that money power. Totally stunned now !!
My view was asked, however was too speechless to respond. Simply shook my head and said, BS. If it is all about money, who needs relatives. I would rather go and buy new ones!
However as I thought about it later and saw around myself, what was apparent was that it did seem to be a fact. Brothers / Sisters of the same parents. Grow up and then split as their families grow. If they fall in the very well to do class, they are united. If for some reason, one is well off, the other is not very well off, but still does good, it is a matter of a the well off calling the shots. If for some reason both manage well, but not in the very well to do category, they know each other, but there is always a lack of unity.
What defines togetherness? Being available when needed. Being present on family functions. Being there at a simple call at the time of need. Sure, we do see family members doing that, but is that because they are happy / sorry with you, or is it simply because, Oh well, it is family.
What one sees with the new generations is that Sons today, would not think twice about leaving an event on the paternal side, but tell the same son to avoid an event on his wife’s side, and that would be chaos (more so, if the girl’s family is well off). The same with the girls. Girls prefer that they are more tuned to their parents even after marriage, rather than their in laws, effectively the husbands too following their wife’s directions.
I have nothing against being on the in laws side, however always hurts to see families where boys would drop off an event on their paternal side citing commitments, going to work tomorrow, children’s schools. Put an event on their wives side.. The next day, the Son has taken a day off, some thing that could not be even thought of for an event on their parents side, if not in their own house.
Not sure if these are changing times or society in general, but probably a lot also to do with unilateral families, with many getting married outside the community and not being approved by their parents. Not referring to the honour killings that one reads about, but this is more towards the strata of society where marriages on children’s own decisions are accepted.
Not sure if this means that we are moving to a Matriarchal society, where the wife’s family takes over after marriage, but as what is normally observed and I guess the eventual proof:
A Son will scream at his mother for giving him food that he does not like, or if the food has no taste. The Wife once comes… There is no food that the Son does not like and there is no such thing as taste. Money based or changing times.. You decide.