By – Ruma Paul
Do Joint Families still exist in India? If we ask this question to a mere child of today he/she would say No. Joint Family concept is dying fast today, though it had been part and parcel of our Indian tradition, culture even prosperity. In a Joint family, all members are staying together, giving the power of united “Human Resource” in that family. However there are some demerits also in the concept of a Joint family. Different members, different opinions,instead of being united, they depart from each other.
“So many cooks spoil the broth”, following the proverb Joint family begins to become nuclear family. Most of the family constitute husband, wife and one or two kids. When those kids grow up due to their higher education/service, they are compelled to separate from their parents. In some families kids are staying separately, husband and wife also have to live separately due to their own work/business. So nuclear family further splits part by part. Being one part of such scattered family I considered myself very unfortunate till this recent experience nourished my soul with the comfort of Joint family.
A couple of month before, I was invited as an “Anchor” in a function organised by a Guwahati based cultural organisation “Dotara” held at “Paschim Banga Bangla Academy”, Kolkata, on 30th july,2015.
So I was supposed to board my flight on 29th July from Guwahati Airport. Due to Arthritis I have to take support of the three pod stick prescribed by Doctor till a knee Replacement surgery is done.
For my job I have been living in Shillong. Most of the time I am accompanied by one of my family members or colleagues. But this was the first time when I had to travel alone. I was scared. How would I avail Airbus? How in Kolkata would I walk on the Air Bridge? Who would take care of my luggage from “Baggage Belt”? I might have avoided this call. But I could not resist the honour of being an “Anchor” at this Prestigious Event. Before entering through “Entry Gate” of Guwahati Airport I collected one Trolley and balanced myself with the trolley, holding the stick in my right hand.
As soon as I entered into the Airport after being checked my I.D as well as ticket then and then it seemed to me, as if, out of blue, one girl appeared in front of me and assisted me extending her helping hand. I took the ticket of “Indigo”. The girl was also holding the batch of Indigo. She herself voluntarily helped me to check my luggage and took me to the counter from where “Boarding Pass” was issued and I asked the counter girl to provide me “wheel Chair”. Everything was done very smoothly. Coming to know that I use to stay in Shillong due to service purpose, she told me with a Sweet smiling face that her house is also in Shillong and she belongs to Khasi Community. Her duty at that time actually was in upstairs but seeing me She came to help. Making me seated before the barricade of physical checking at 12.30hrs (as at that time ,time of physical checking had not started) She requested one boy to help me in following procedure). My Indigo flight was at 14.15hrs. That boy came to me at 1300hrs. I came to know from his I.D card that his name is “HEMEN ALI”.He is an “Assamese”.
With utmost care he did the physical checking, hand bag verification etc. After that he pushed my wheelchair upto that gate from where the passengers of the scheduled flight are to go out. He asked me to be seated in the wheelchair until the announcement of the flight getting ready. But after a while I got scared at the thought “If Hemen won’t come, what would happen?” but surprisingly, Hemen came at 1345 hrs. along with another boy as his duty would be off at 1400hrs. Hemen made that boy understand my condition and requested him to take care of me with greatest sincerity. Hemen requested him in such a way as if I was his mother. I got surprised. My eyes were full of tears. But I controlled myself. Hemen said “Good Bye, see you again.” He left his duty place unwillingly just like my son or husband who never leave the station until train starts to move. The boy deputed by Hemen was “Bihari”. He pushed the wheel chair. As I am a lady of heavy weight, it was very much difficult for him to push. I can walk with the stick but not with so much comfort but as the boy was facing difficulty, I asked him, “I can walk with the help of stick but you be with me, just prevent me from falling.” He instantly turned down my suggestion and with a smiling face, facing a lot of difficulties, he made me enter into the flight. Believe me, I could not control myself and began sobbing. Two sweet Airhostess came to me and asked, “Why are sobbing Madam?”. “What’s wrong?”.
“No my dear, All of you are helping me a lot. It seems to me all my near and dear ones are with me, that’s why I have become emotional.”
With greatest care they made me sit on the chair. When flight reached Kolkata Airport, one Bengali boy came into the flight in front of me with the wheel chair. He himself collected my luggage from the “Baggage Belt”. My husband had been waiting with the vehicle outside the security Zone. That boy helped me board my vehicle, pushing my wheel chair.
At that very moment I felt that I don’t belong to a nuclear family rather I am one of the members of one huge joint family of 1.5 Billion which is called the nation of India. That family consists of “Khasi girl”, “Assamese boy, like “Hemen Ali”,”Bihari boy”, Porter who pulled the wheel chair, North Indian like Airhostesses, Bengali boy, Assistant in Kolkata Airport etc. I am grateful to the Almighty that I am an Indian. At that very moment I felt that I came in Kolkata not to be an Anchor for only one programme rather I have been invited for World’s festival.
In Tagore language I can express my gratitude to God,
Jagate Anandayagye Amar Nimantran
Dhanya holo, Dhanyo holo Manabjiban,
Nayan Amar Ruper Pure Sadh MItaye Beraye Ghure,
Sraban Amar Gavir Sure Hoyechhe Magan,
Tomar Yagye Diyechho Bhar, Bajai Ami Banshi
Gane Gane Genthe Berai Praner Kanna Hansi.
Ekhon Samay Hoyechhe Ki? Sabhay giye Tomay Dekhi’
Joyodhwani Shuniye Yaba e more Nibedon.
Or from Geetanjali it can be expressed in English,
I have had my invitation to this World’s festival
and thus my life has been blessed. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard.
It was my part at this feast to play upon my
instrument, and I have done all I could.
Now, I ask, has the time come at least when I
may go in and see thy face and offer thee
After that few days, I got my member-ship Card from Film Writer’s Association. That means I got chance to enter into another very big Joint family. The biggest one where,
“Nana Bhasa nana Maat Nana Paridhan
Bibidher Majhe Dekho Milano Mahan.”
That is, there are various languages, different opinions, various dresses but there may be differences but one uniformity is that, We all are Indian and meet with each other. I am very much fortunate to be a member of FWA.
If some work is entrusted on me, being one of the members of a joint family i.e. FWA, I shall try my level best to accomplish that work. If no work is entrusted, then also, there is no problem at all. At that very moment, only I wish that I may be allowed to keep my presence at least in one corner of FWA so that I can get chance to spread the “Fragrance” of this Joint Family i.e. the “Fame of FWA”.
In Tagore’s language from Geetanjali it may be said,
Ami Hethay Thaki Shudhu Gaite Tomar Gaan,
Diyo Tomar Jagat Sabhay Eituku More Sthan,
Ami Tomar Bhubhan-Majhe Lagi Ni Nath, Kono Kaje-
Shudhu Kebal Sure Baje Akajer ei Pran,
Nishay Neerab Debalaye Tomar Aradhan,
Takhon More Aadesh Koro Gaite He Rajon,
Bhore Yakhon Aakash Jure Bajbe Beena Sonar Sure
Ami Yeno Na Roi Dure, Ei Diyo More Maan.
Or from Geetanjali,
“I am here to sing thee songs. In this hall of thine,
I have a corner seat.
In thy world I have no work to do; my useless
life can only break out in tunes without a purpose.
When the hour strikes for thy silent worship
at the dark temple of midnight, command me,
my master, to stand before thee to sing.
When in the morning air the golden harp is
tuned, honour me, commanding my presence.”
On the basis of the two incidents my feeling is that by any means Joint Family will be continuing to keep its existence.