I find that for most of my life, I have craved for an individualistic independence. I am not uncomfortable in a crowd, I have lived in a big family in my formative years, but I am sure that a social structure of any kind involving big groups constricts personal creativity and space. This is probably why we see such a big difference in personalities between kids today and kids from past generations. They have more attention, more exposure, more confidence and many more resources to make them all rounded personalities.
Is there such a thing as mutual living? Where every person gets to live their lives without being picked, judged or nudged to be someone else? Is it possible that you have room to make the same mistakes, learn similar lessons by self-experience rather than somebody else’s past experiences?
Man has always lived in groups for survival and recreation. But Joint Families are often flawed social organizations because they thrive on the socialist doctrine; ‘constrict personal freedom for the greater good of the society’. In essence, I have often noted, nobody is really, totally free.
In my family, I was the youngest and my grand father was the eldest person in the house. He didn’t have a notion about personal space, for him it was imperative that his five sons stay under one roof, even if it meant sacrificing his own privacy & living with close to 25 people. I grew up with so many cousins to play with. But the irony is that most of my childhood games were played on my own, with pretend characters! I had a phase where I believed that everybody was against me, hated me and wanted me to be someone that I’m not. Was that one of the first indicators of my want for a personal space? I also remember wanting mum all for myself even when I knew that she had hundreds of domestic chores to complete everyday. One TV, a shared plate, a shared room & sometimes a shared personality. Did it make a difference in my character? Well, on the face of it we all turned out to have strong personalities of our own. But retrospectively, I believe that, in our formative years, we shadowed each other quite a bit and I know that I could achieve much more if I had a nuclear-family upbringing.
It’s a system that works on an assumption that there would be no extremes, no rebels and no out performers. A joint family is flawed at it’s very concept. Living harmoniously under one roof requires many sacrifices from one or all of the members and is often lopsided, biased and unfair to most of the people.
Can there be a ‘me’ in a ‘we’?