Happy Independence day to all of you! I don’t have an orange-white-green coloured food recipe yet and I don’t have a patriotic speech either. I am happy we’re independent; better to get under-paid, out-sourced work than having them here. And I am really glad for the holiday. Some time with family. You know how I go on about my joint-family in all my posts. I thought it’s time for a little piece on joint-families. Don’t have women living abroad fool you into thinking joint-family is a sweet, dream-like, people filled Hum apke Hain Kaun set. Liars! Living in a joint-family is messy, tough but convenient and fun (rare times) at times. Here are the top 10 things that happen in a joint family.
You know you’re in a joint family when
1. Your husband likes Fried rice, others don’t. Others like vegetable biryani but your husband doesn’t. So you make a compromise, you make Lemon rice which nobody really likes. And that my friends, is why they say “When life gives you lemons, make lemon rice”.
2. Everybody watches Vijay TV Super singer but on their individual TVs in their own rooms.
3. Everybody pools in, but nobody saves. You have multiple sets of everything – TVs, cars, newspapers, pickles and podis but never enough eggs.
4. You never get to read the day’s newspaper.
5. Family Dinner: There’s a huge dining table where Prakash-Raj sits at the head of the table and the whole family joins him around the table and they eat together. Never! You never eat together. And rarely at the table. You eat in batches in front of the TV, by the stove and sometimes at the table if it is visible under all that clutter.
6. The 5th Cheese ball dilemma: You know when there are four of you (friends) at a restaurant, you’ve ordered cheese balls and the waiter brings 5 cheese balls, the 5th cheese ball sits there while everybody is being nice to the others. The 5th cheese ball phenomenon happens all the time in joint families. You’re always fishing for tiny dabbas (boxes) to shove that one gulab jamun and the 2 spoons of chutney into the fridge. Like the 80:20 rule, bottom of the pyramid and other seminal principles, the 5thcheese ball is my contribution to the theory of joint-family dynamics.
7. Always ask the Maamiyaar (mother-in-law). You know it is 2 tablespoons of chilli powder for sambar. Still ask. You know nobody’ll eat the 3 day old Poondu kuzhambu in the fridge; still don’t throw it out. Never throw out food before asking. Be benevolent and give it to the maid, she can dump it on her way home.
8. Once a sink cleaner, always the sink cleaner. Choose your roles if you can, you’ll not get to change them later. Prakash raj is always the villain, Saranya the mother. Likewise, everybody has set roles in the joint family too. Sink-cleaner? Food prepping Assistant? Poojai-assistant? House De-clutterer? Day-end food stowing in the fridge?
9. Kids get along with everyone, but will listen to none. They almost always have more than their fair share of ice-cream and their colds never seem to go away.
10. Being late is a sin. If you’re ever late for a family gathering, that is it. You’ll be remembered forever for your lateness and will be reminded every time after that to be on time. Every time. “7 am 7 am. Raghuthatha Raghuthatha”. I was late for my own wedding reception. So I have an extremely bad reputation. And I live up to it.