Celebrating the contemporary face of Indian families
The joint or extended family system has always dominated the concept of an ideal family in India. With the evolving times and urbanisation, the joint family system made way for the nuclear family with both parents sharing responsibilities of managing household expenses. The evolution of the Indian family has not stopped with nuclear families; it is still evolving with globalisation, shifting cultural values and economic empowerment of the fairer sex. Irrespective of the structural changes, it cannot be denied that a family forms the basic unit of a society. Today on the occasion of International Day of Families, as proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, we bring to you some contemporary family structures of 21st century India.
Double Income No Kids
Double Income No Kids is a family structure where both the husband and wife pursue their own careers and choose not to have children in order to make time for their professional goals and ambitions. And it works perfectly for the couple. Bangalore-based Nikhil R Gautham, manager editorial services says, “My wife Sneha Vishwanath (quality analyst) and I are married for a year and a half now. We have mutually decided not to have biological children because we think raising a child is a gigantic task involving a lot of responsibility. It requires a great amount of time commitment along with certain skills in parenting. Moreover, having encountered several helicopter and negligent parents, we do not want to step into those shoes. Also, we do not want to contribute to the country’s growing population. In case our attitude about having a child changes in the future, we will adopt children. For now, it is just us, together with a strong will to follow our goals in life.”
Being a single mom was once considered a taboo in the Indian society. On the other hand, single moms are doing an exceptional job of managing their careers, finances and also kids. Today, many single women in their thirties and forties are opting for biological children through the latest medical techniques. There are also single women who decide to adopt kids. Itanagar based Poonam M, a self-employed single mom who adopted a daughter seven years ago says, “It was never a conscious decision to become a single mom. However, there was a point in my life seven years ago when I thought I should adopt a child who needed my love and adulation. Moreover, I always yearned to have someone to love and pamper by my side. I was delighted to bring the child home and make her a part of my family. My parents supported me whole-heartedly in my decision and my elder sister has been the best aunt any child could have. Now, I do not long for any relationship, because my daughter is my complete focus and I am very happy with her. My daughter’s presence makes my life more fulfilling.”
Many couples today are adopting pets instead of having biological kids. Their love for animals is often the driving force behind their decision. Bangalore based banker Savitha Rajan and her entrepreneur husband Amol Bendre, decided not to have children anytime soon and instead adopted a pet, both being animal lovers since childhood. The couple have a Pomeranian named June whom they dote on like a child. “However, the decision not to have biological children for now and to adopt a pup was not easy. We did face societal pressures and our family expected us to have children. However we were able to convince them and they now respect our decision.”
On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality by declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional. There are many same sex couples in India who are happily living with their partners, without fearing the social stigma anymore. Bangalore-based Debasish Das, a professional makeup artist who lives with his partner, says, “Our family is like any other normal family. I share my daily chores with my partner and it makes our life very simple. We would be great parents and both of us love children; however we are not ready to adopt a child yet. Currently, my partner is like a child himself and both of us are very happy with each other.”