The Typical Indian Family – What non-Indians Should Know
Word count: 1423
Time to read: 5 min 41 sec
Ah! Yes, the typical Indian family mostly represents the Great Indian Middle Class! They are the core class of people that form the chunk of the population. And yet, given the opportunity, some would not hesitate to settle abroad, if they can afford it. But, not the majority of the Indian family are like that.
Despite the affordability in question, those who still can or those who I know will not settle abroad.
Given the opportunity, although I have reached 40, my older self still wants to live in this country. I was born and brought up in a close bonded family that comprises most families in the country.
Why? Here’s a simple explanation: In India, if you are in trouble, there is a strong possibility you will call your siblings, close relatives or even your friends. Although the chances of having a problem so big that it requires attention are rare, the thing about ‘trouble or problem’ is that it does not come knocking.
The help of any kind is appreciated.
Those who go abroad mostly to settle are the kids who can afford foreign education. A few may return, most may stay back in the same country – having accustomed and acclimatised themselves to that respective country.
During my school days, I was very interested in pursuing a foreign education. But, a middle-class family that I am from, we could not afford it. Besides, my parents weren’t sufficiently well off. I have no regrets about it.
Let me tell you about the Indian family from a general perspective.
The Indian Family:
Unlike in the US, where people are more individualistic – Indians, on the other hand, are more family-oriented. This family may or may not be close-knit between various relatives.
The family has shifted gears from a joint to a nuclear one. Though, don’t be surprised if you still come across a few.
You will rarely find single parents. Single parents may be due to divorce, widows or widowers. But, you will rarely encounter single unwed moms. I am yet to meet one. It is because many people cutting across religious lines in the country unequivocally consider marriage a holy union.
It is no wonder as compared to the rest of the world, India has the lowest divorce rates in the world.
I could not find any latest statistics as most of the information I found online was old. Despite that, married Indian couples are less likely to divorce even if some of them take up separation.
The family: This is typical of most Indian families. A husband and wife have kids. The parents divert all their resources to educate their children and help them build their careers. Parents help their children in whatever way they can to become whatever they may choose or rarely what few parents decide.
What separates the US from India? If you’re an American reading this, in India, when children turn 18 – they do not leave their parent’s home to rent an apartment, take up summer jobs fund their college education or have some earnings.
First off, property prices are overinflated. There are no summer or even odd jobs that could sufficiently pay rent. Even if a few of them freelance, it will not be enough to pay the rent. Property laws are strict. India also has strict law regarding underage workers. Parents would not permit their children to leave their homes when they turn 18 to get a part-time job.
After their children are sufficiently educated and if they can with their salary – buy a home of their own. When they do, the parents will move with their children in their new home. Here, the difference is the new homes the children buy in most likelihood be better than the homes they grew up. And, in the new homes, most will take care of their parents in their old age.
A typical Indian family is a well-cultured family. The culture varies from family to family. For instance, respecting elders, how to greet people, talk to people, manners, etc. Depending on the religion, the culture is still going to vary immensely.
I am a Roman Catholic. I have instilled values that taught me to respect Christianity. I learnt to respect all religions as I grew up. I did as I was told by visiting Catechism classes, going to the church every Sundays and special occasions, participating in the youth groups and if possible other church activities.
Many parishioners who can manage their time well actively participate in church activities. You will come across this in most catholic churches throughout the country.
The majority of the Christian community in India are Roman Catholics followed by other denominations like the Protestants and others.
“Aunties and Uncles”:
In the US and other Western countries, a neighbour is typically addressed by “Mr Smith or “Mrs Smith”. In India, this is not the case unless needed to address someone professionally in a professional environment. Usually, the preferred mannerism of addressing someone is “Aunty and Uncle.” Mind you, despite calling them that – there are no relations. It is a manner of respect.
The reason is simple, culturally speaking, across religion, it is rude to address someone elderly by his or her name by their first name. If the person prefers addressing them by their first name or if permitted to do so.
Here elderly means a vast age difference, for instance, a teenager calling his or her friend’s parents as Uncle and Aunty. It forms a way of respect. In Hindi and probably in many other Indian languages, there exist words to address the elderly. Maternal aunts and uncles have different names. So does the paternal side.
If speaking in English and addressing strangers, a typical “Excuse me” is preferably used.
The benefit of being an Indian is the language. He or she may know a minimum of two languages. Dad was fluent in six – Hindi, English, Marathi, Kannada, Tulu and Konkani.
The “bad” thing about the Indian family: The Indian middle-class family isn’t void of flaws. The most potent is – commenting about politics but doing nothing about it. They would comment about corruption in the government but will not stop bribing an officer if had the opportunity. They would comment on the bad driving of others, breaking traffic rules, but some of them won’t address the immediate concerns arising from themselves.
Getting overly concerned about the marriage of neighbours children but unconcerned about their own child’s marriage! They develop a similar unnecessary concern of the neighbour’s married children as to when they will have kids of their own! Let me tell such kind of people, mind your own business!
I have faced this issue when people tend to get too concerned about other children’s marriage and when they will have kids. It is not for them to know. When it happens, it will happen, at the designated time.
The marriage scene:
Now, this is a generalised view. A typical age for working adults is around 22 years. The working-age may differ from profession to profession.
A working adult will focus on securing a better job. The financial and mental energy falls upon making a career. Making a career is also dependent if they have chosen proper career and continue with it for decades.
For instance, I am a psychology graduate but could not pursue a career in counselling. I hold a PGDBA in Marketing. But I have pursued my career as a Content Marketer or as in India we call it as – Content Writer. I call myself a content creator instead.
By the time they develop their career, they may be into a relationship already.
So, by the time they are 30, they may get married. It is not surprising. I married at the age of 33 (Phoebe was 30 at the time). No. she was not my girlfriend then. I replied to her email, chatted on Whatsapp met a few times before taking it forward and now after six years have our first child – Pandora.
The Indian middle-class has come a long way from what it was to what it is now. They can make proper choices and shape the country as they see fit. Democracy has its pros, but it not without cons that this right is not recognised not practised in the correct sense of the term.