Like the film ‘The Great Gatsby’, every culture has its fair share of opulence. Some live life with grandeur of flowing cash and running liquor like a river, and some live life with their only possessions – traditional rituals and some family members and relatives. Each may claim that their version of life to be the grandest, the most valuable, the most relevant, which brings higher meaning to life.
What separates their belief and reality could be as little as stepping on the other side of the fence and experiencing it themselves. They may find partying drunk all night long lets them be who they are and express their individuality or they may prefer to enjoy the company of their closed-knit extended family for their unconditional love and lifelong care. But, as it is often the case, what’s not known to you would often look scary or extremely fascinating.
Take a look at the nice looking picture of this article of a seemingly extended family from a small town of India. All might look usual for the kind of joint-family culture Indians follow. However, there lies a secret chain of command of some sort, which may not be apparent at the first look, but you may realize on close observation.
When a photo session takes place, ‘the head of the family’, wait! Let me rephrase that – ‘the men of the family’ always stand in the back (with the exception of some women who have a compelling drive to be the man of the family). The ladies then occupy the middle lane just after the men in the back – just before the kids in front. Finally, the kids come in front, smiling and all cheerful on their knees posing for the lens. Although the cameramen do not really tell who should stand where and why, there seems to be an invisible code of command that everybody follows.
Oftentimes, it is the exact chain of command that is followed in most Indian families too. The men control the women, who in turn control the kids even into their adulthood, who then marry to control their women who in turn control their future kids. The great Indian culture may be its biggest sell, but invisible forces like these do not work well – at least with many.
So, stop chasing what may look fascinating to you – more compelling than what you may already have. Just like the movie ‘The Great Gatsby’, everything has another side which is the dark side – beyond our fancy and what we romance in our heads.