As the lockdown phase-4 approaches, most of the walled-in residents of Bhopal are on pins and needles.
On the contrary, merry are those who live in joint families. The pandemic has given them an opportunity to spend quality time with their children and grandchildren.
On the eve of the International Family Day, Free Press talked to some of the residents living in joint families to know how they are spending time during such a long haul of lockdown.
Most of them said they took the lockdown as an opportunity to deepen family ties. They lunch and dine together. Politics and other issues figure in their discussions. For them, these 50 days have flown like the wind, they said. Excerpts:
K G Trivedi, 57, Artist
KG Trivedi, founder of Trikarshi Theatre Group, lives in a joint family. It comprises 16 members, including his mother, wife, two children, his three brothers, their wives and children. He says he is enjoying quality time with family. He is talking to children and playing with them, but it was not so earlier. The work of every member has been divided due to lockdown. Since the maid is not coming, male members also cook. They eat together, watch TV and play cards. He said, “Joint family represents Indian culture, but it is broken.” Nobody feels lonely in a joint family. “Ye lockdown ka 50 din kaise nikal gaya humein pata hi nahi chala… (He did not know how 50 days of lockdown passed),” he said.
Bharti Sanjay Jain, 48, Architect
Bharti Sanjay Jain lives in a joint family comprising 12 members. They include her father-in-law, husband, children and three brothers-in-law, their wives and children. Since maids are not coming women do the household work. All family members take food together and watch movies and serials like Ramayan and Mahabharat. They also play carom and cards. They pray for welfare of the country and the world. They also walk on the roof of their house in the evening. They never feel lonely, she said. “Children are also with us now. So, we are spending quality time with them,” she said. Children are learning how to cook, press clothes and sweep floor, she said. “It is for the first time in 30 years of my married life that, I’m spending time with all my family members. The credit goes to Covid-19,” she said.
Usha Verma, 50, homemaker
Usha Verma lives in a joint family comprising mother-in-law, husband, two sons, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. Since maids are not coming, all members are doing household work including sweeping, mopping, cleaning utensils and washing clothes. “No one depends on anybody. I have a four-year-old granddaughter who is also doing her own work,” she said. She along with her doctor daughter-in-law cooks food. She is also spending time with her granddaughter. She teaches her and plays with her. The family members talk on various topics like politics and on Ramayan and Mahabharat serials. “Sablog ghar mein ek saath ekattha hai to achchha lagta hai… (It’s good that we are living together)” she said.
Rani Vijay Jain, 45, businesswomen
Rani Vijay Jain lives in a family comprising nine members. They include her parents-in-law, husband, a son and a brother-in-law, his wife and children. She said earlier each member of her was busy in his own work, but now, they spend time together. “My son who works in Pune is at home, she said. The family prays, has meals, watches TV serials and plays carom together. “We play online Tambola with other family members who live in Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur, Rajasthan and enjoy a lot.” Mother’s Day was memorable for the family this year, because children were with her. Lockdown has helped us bolster family bonding, she said.