Most of us feel that if you stay away from your hometown, for studies or job (hometown here means where your parents or in-laws or husband (in case of nuclear family) stays), then you would get alienated from family, that you won’t value the needs and the kind of devotion is required being a family member. Not so long ago I shared the same thought but staying away for almost 2 years, from my ‘hometown’, now I do not share the thought any longer.
For the 1st year, I stayed in a hostel and didn’t feel the absence of my younger sister, after a while anyway, as my roommate filled her space quite well. I didn’t miss the fights with my sister or the happy feeling of bossing around as my roommate was almost a replica of her. The same thing continues with my roommates at my flat, where I have been staying for the 2ndyear of my stay away from home.
In every group or gang of friends there’s always a mummy-ji – who keeps on nagging you about having proper meals at proper time and about the virtue of staying clean and hygienic, scolding you when you get fever for being not careful but then applying cool pads on your forehead. And then there’s a papa-ji who wants you to be serious with your decisions, who scrutinizes thoroughly whenever you go out, gives you an earful when you are dressed inappropriately for the night, in short expanding the thought that- “akele ladki khuli tijori ki tarah hoti…“
This behavior is not just limited to college but also to your office desks. You would have your group or team (as it is now preferred) with whom you would share your lunch, exchange recipes (as relative1-relative2 usually does), wait for others if they are busy with meetings, have a fixed day to lunch-out and all the other things that usually a family does. Being away but still not far away is the core essence of staying away from your family (your hometown).
Family or extended family? I do not know what to call them at my flat and office, all I know is being away has made me value family time all the more…
Psst… having a extended family does not mean I have it replaced with my hometown family. I still fight my sister whenever I go home, in fact our fights have gone a notch high on whatsapp too nowadays. But I still love her, as I used to when she was a kid, if you know what I mean…