That ‘Joint Family’ Childhood

I was brought up in an old private house in southern Kolkata in the 80s/90s, amidst a horde of uncles, aunts and cousins. Elders related by blood and residential proximity were equally vigilant about parental guidance to self and contemporaries. It was a failsafe, non virtual, crowd-sourced parenting system unique to collective cultures like India. Of course, today’s reality in India bears close resemblance to the West. Baby T spends most of her weekdays in the company of Dino, Mickey Mouse and Nanny S.

This fall, she had the priviledge of escaping to that era of community parenting for a week. Only, those formidable parents had transformed to convivial grandparents, to T’s utmost convenience.

My Joint Family

And that’s not all folks, there’s more!

She was smothered with the choicest of gifts, the yummiest of candies, the prettiest of clothes. It was like she had fallen down the rabbit hole and arrived at the Village of Santas. Drama Queen played along, turning on the charm at the drop of a hat. If we had but one evil witch, I could have filmed an entire Disney movie.

I wish I could gift T that ‘Joint Family’ childhood of unwarranted concern and abundant love. I wish.

“No, I don’t want to remember, But how can I forget” – Alexander Kimel


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