South Indian family get-together dynamics

(Disclaimer: This is based on the few families in South India that I know of and hence, decided to generalise based on the expanse of my own database. If your family is not like this, it’s okay. Please don’t be sad!)

If you come from an average middle class South Indian family, you will agree with me when I say your parents generation doesn’t meet as often for casual lunches and dinners as much as you do assuming there is no binding agent such as a grandparent around. For the longest time, I just believed that people are caught up in their own lives that they hardly have the energy to initiate a few phone calls to organise a casual outing with all family. However, this cost of initiation has been immensely reduced with the advent of family whatsapp groups. Unfortunately, family whatsapp groups today just end up becoming an abode of god photos, crappy billion paged articles and ‘send this to 10 people in 20 second else you’ll get back luck’ level forwards. It is hardly ever used for a conversation.

In the few cases where I have been successful in getting people’s attention, I realised that the previous generation needs an occasion for getting together and the concept of a casual group meet-up perplexes them. One or two parties/ couples meeting up in one of their houses is okay but the whole family coming together for no ‘good reason’ without a grandparent around is strange. Here’s a hypothesis that someone offered and I think this might be a pretty good one – the parents generation lacks the ability to split a bill. When I go out with my cousins, it’s obvious for us to go dutch since  all of us met up because each one of us wanted to and that’s good enough reason for us to contribute equally irrespective of who initiated the dinner. Also, it’s only fair because why should only one person bear the burden of feeding 20 people? If anything, there must be an incentive for the one who initiates since they are making the effort to keep the family together.

If you don’t believe me, why don’t you try organising a casual lunch/ dinner with your parents generation (uncles, aunts, etc) and I bet, you’ll have someone ask you what the occasion is! This would NEVER happen with my generation because we know how to split a bill without being awkward. Only if it’s someone’s treat, will that generation comfortably participate in the event as there is no uncertainty about the payment dynamics or reason for guilt of letting one party pay as it was self inflicted.  You see, there is also zero next expected gain/ loss for anyone as there are a fixed number of social occasions that calls for a treat in every individual’s life and it’s evenly matched up with the rest.








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