This is a politically incorrect post.
I read a post on this while blog hopping at this The Life and Times of an Indian Home Maker: Joint Family and Indian Daughters and it brought back memories that were best left buried. I think the Indian Joint Family system is exploitive to say the least. I hated living in it for eighteen long years and simply can not understand why my Kid#1 and DIL insist on living with me. It is insane to say the least.
I was less than eighteen years old when I got married and trapped into the system. The hierarchy is rigid. MIL is Empress, FIL is like the President – he just has signing and veto authority. SON is Prince Charming, younger SILS AND BILS are favoured courtiers and DIL ranks way below them all, at times even below the live in servant. In fact once when MIL was ranting away at some dal I had cooked which was watery at the dining table, I turned to the servant and said “You at least get paid to listen to this shit, what do I get?” Needless to say, the entire family freaked out on me, but well … I do suffer from foot-in-mouthitis. Then I wasn’t allowed to go meet my parents – who lived in the next lane. I taught in a school which meant that I had to cook breakfast, pack lunch boxes, cook lunch, and get dressed and leave before 7:30 am. My salary which was a mere few hundreds was subject to much scrutiny and the senior ILs had already decided what it would be spent on.
I agree that times have changed, and I would never make the colossal blunder of stopping my DIL from visiting her parents or shopping. Honestly I don’t even know what her salary is. If she feels like cooking or doing housework, it is fine, if not so be it. I think housework is tedious and thankless. After a whole day at office, one approaches it with great distaste. That is why we hire help to do this. But I wonder, should they live with me? I do not like the idea at all. I have spent most of my life living with parents or in-laws and adjusting with them. I would like to live alone for once in my life, on my own terms.
The boys are okay, but they need to grow up and be independent of me too. I have never been the clingy sort of female and am horrified with the thought that they still want to live in the maternal abode. This means that shopping for daily stuff like vegetables, milk etc. is my responsibilities. I pay for the utilities, the servants are my headache. It is my time to retire, take stock, and also save up for old age. I wish there was a way to make them realize, without hurting their feelings, that I love them very much but that I need them out of my home.