22 people in one home ! No I'm not kidding.
" 22 people under one roof. In one home. Really!", this is the normal reaction of my friends when I share with them my experience of staying in the joint family since birth.
Now when we are staying in hyper-smart cities, this is really something above the line. As nobody can imagine how can so many survive together like this. Most of us are staying in small nuclear families, where there are hardly any visitors from our families or guests with blood relations, as we all are Super-busy, and if there are sometimes, we believe it is so much addition of work and responsibilities to our daily routine. " Akhir time Kiske pass hai", and "agar hoga kabhi, we will go on vacations abroad, but will hardly visit any relative."..True, isn't it?
But just to share, my experience, staying in a joint family is a blessing though, since each individual gets to learn so much and there is no need to go to personality development classes.
First, We learn TOLERANCE, yes that is opposite of intolerance - that we all are heading to slowly. When they are so many people, your grandparents, your elder uncle aunts, who also are of the second level of grandparents and their families, other younger siblings of your parents, your parents' maternal families who would love to visit your grand house each fortnight, you automatic learn to tolerate people, it's like a habit. You know they are there, their viewpoints on each thing are there, so you know you have to regard and tolerate them always. No options mean no excuse on that, after all, you start liking them together.
Second, you do not need a reason to PARTY, after all when you 22 are together and someone visits you with families( which is quite often), you order more than 30 samosa's and rasgulla's with milk badam for everyone, what do you need more in-house party then? lolzz. Even a small occasion is celebrated well since your family is together, you cannot miss anything important on the celebration or feel lonely ever. For me, this is the reason, I can't stay alone at all, I need company whenever I eat a meal or even have a cup of tea.
Third, you learn tact of ADJUSTMENT, this is a powerful word. In today's time if you are of adjusting nature, believe me, you really have a super power, for I know several people who are in serious trouble in their relations since they do not like to adjust at all. When your cousin wants your favorite suit to wear on a particular occasion, you know you have to adjust to your next favorite then or if your want to take bath in your bathroom before you, you know you have to adjust and wait.
Fourth, you learn the art of Good Communication. When you need to convince your 10-12 elders, to allow you to go on a college trip, you know how to convince. When in lobby everyone sits and tell their tales of a busy day in the evening, you become a good listener. Good communication is the key to happiness in the families as it simply fades away the doubts on the relations.
Fifth, you get a critical evaluation for free, Yes, I have seen people calling me to critical analyze their move, their dressing sense or way they represent something. But you know, you will get a lot of critical analysis from so many people in the family while you will step out of the room, you will be confident enough knowing what is wrong and what is not.
Last but not the least, you become extremely Knowledgable and that too practically without Google. You learn things related to culture, traditions, values and even learn culinary things. I know I learned the art of cutting vegetable and fruits quickly, making seasonal pickles, operate tandoor and art of cooking in bulk from my grandmother, mom and aunts in the kitchen. My cousins helped me to learn, how to fly kite, play guitar, play harmonium and dance. I learned hundreds of age-old nuska's or home remedies to fight illness of any type. and of course, I always knew, how not to be bored !! haha
The list is so long, the things I have learned from my joint family. I still live with my in-laws and great grand parents of my kids but faimily count is 8. Missing fun of 22 though !