I know most of my Indian friends and family know about the joint family system. At one point, I believe most of us had stayed in a joint family system, not the current genereation though. Last week one of my friend inquired what exactly the joint family system means as she didn’t have any idea what it was like.. After explaining her, I thought I’ll write few line on the topic.

I remember my childhood when I used to stay in joint family system where my dad, his siblings, their family everyone stayed together under one roof with my grandparents. It was fun back then, especially for kids when you get a chance to play with all your cousins and it’s always like spending holidays at your grandparents house. I would say, joint family system is best for the kids since they get to live and grow with their grandparents and relatives thereby getting a chance to learn more about the value of relationships, the value to give and take and to be more patient which is highly missing in the current generation. Also, I would put it this way, the kids that grew up in joint family makes good team leaders. It’s just that they get to interact with so many people within the familywhich helps them to be more cooperative and tolerant. That said, when it comes to parents or other adults in the family, I don’t think they really enjoy being in a joint family system, especially the earning members. Money changes everything!!! I have seen all my uncles, aunts, my parents all having good time back then when I was a kid. But, I don’t think they were all really happy, especially the once who were earning. Back then it was like all the members of the family wouldn’t be earning and whoever earns has to look after the other members of the family who are not earning. Even if you earn and looks after other family members, when it comes to decision making, it’s again a problem. You can’t make the final decision on anything, even if it’s about your own self or others and finally leads to mis-understanding easily. So, that’s again a problem and then it’s the privacy. I would say you don’t get any kinda privacy unless it’s a huge house with many rooms. Even if all the family members are earning, they have to put their part for the family and what i saw was jealousy ripping apart the family. People say that when you live in a joint family system, the expense is less, but I won’t agree to that since you will be spending on something or someone that you really don’t want to, but still have to… and family members won’t be equally earning.. So, someone has to spend more money to run the family. But, that said, the advantage is if joint family runs properly, it’s really a good thing to keep/build the relationships in good manner. But, trust me, somebody from the family has to sacrifice their individual wishes to run the joint family…

At the same time, there is one rich Gujrathi joint family in my hometown who still stays together. I think they live as a capsule family within the joint family system and get their kids marry within their relatives so that the money stays within their family and won’t be wasted outside. Kinda weird, but yeah! sometimes I think it works.