Sanskar #2-FAMILY! I would say family is another deep rooted sanskar in Indian culture. I’m going to break this post down into a few parts as I have a lot to say on this topic. This first one is about my experience, next I’ll talk about Families role and how to balance it in our culture here.
I personally believe that relationships are what make life worthwhile. At the end of the day we look back and, we cherish the moments we shared with people around us.I think for me growing up, because we didn’t have family around us I cherish it even more. I always tell people who have siblings to appreciate one another, because I feel like siblings are your first friends and your forever “crew”. Growing up to some extent I did feel like I don’t have what other people have. I don’t have siblings or any family I grew up around, and I did feel the lack for a while, but I am so thankful to my parents for making every effort to ensure I established relationships with each of my family members, especially my cousins every-time we went to India and here in the states.As I grew older we visited our family more and more, and I think it’s SO important to establish those relationships for kids who grow up here. Because of all my frequent visits, I established strong bonds with a few cousins who we literally call each other sisters now-because we choose to keep our sisterly bond. I think those kinds of relationships are so crucial in life.
Even though I didn’t live close, every-time I went to India I always felt the warmth of the family, being a sister, cousin, grand-daughter, niece was always special. And even until this day I have two of my cousin-sisters who are also only children, and we share a special bond getting a chance to really act and live out the fun of being cousins and sisters when we meet!🤗*Also, Indians rarely say cousins and will ALWAYS say “cousin-sister or cousin-brother because cousins are too distant of a term for us (lol).*
I think if there were one thing I could have changed, it would be to have a sibling/cousin crew that I’m always around. To me having that crew to always hang with who are your first friends in life, create fun memories together just being your crazy selves and experiencing the relationships of brothers and sisters is so special. Because sometimes, being an only child DOES suck, especially when you don’t have other family around either. You see your friends & their siblings and you have no idea how it feels to have that sibling bond, and sometimes you just want to understand that bond.
BUT, I can’t change it, so what do you do when you can’t change something? Make the most of it! On the bright side, because we didn’t have family here, that gave us more of a reason to go to India often! And I’m sure that was all part of the bigger plan, because since I kept going to India often I would say that played a huge part in stirring my love for the country & culture, and also value family to the extent that I do now.
So what do you do as an only child with no family around? Make your own! I get asked this ALL THE TIME (how do you like being an only child? I’m sure you get all the attention and love being by yourself for yourself) and I loving to say how I don’t fit that spoiled only child mold. Thankful to my parents for not putting me in that mold so I was able to experience a normal life and grow through my own struggles, and appreciate family even more.
For me, I ended up making my friends my family, and that comes with it’s own ups and downs because you still come from separate families, and at the end of the day, they aren’t “yours” but lets be real, nobody in life is yours 🤷🏽♀️lol, they are their own people who choose to share the bond & journey of life with you in that avatar. BUT it is nice to re-create those kinds of bonds! I can count a handful of special people who I have made my adopted siblings. And of course not all of them last forever, you have your own share of brothers and sisters at different points in your life. However I think even with blood related family, it’s an equal choice everyone has to uphold the relationship or not & you may experience the same ups and downs throughout life with family.
So, I think the grass is never greener on the other side. You just have to water your grass to see the value in it. For me even though at times I have felt like I lacked something without having family & siblings around, I always reminded myself of what I do have that many people probably don’t! I’m super cool with my parents, I have excuses to travel to India frequently, I get to pick my family here, AND that has played a huge part in me valuing Indian Culture & our Sanskar that much more 🙂
When I was younger I used to always love festivals here and going to India just to be with family. I love going to my friends’ family events because I get to be in the family environment. Now I have made my own family here 😉 I consciously choose to embrace our festivals in our culture, because festivals call for enjoying sweet times with family! Thats when I realized that it’s more of the attitude and value you place on it, many people may have family close and not cherish it, while many do. In my opinion cherishing worthwhile relationships make life that much more special!
And I believe because I always wanted siblings, an older brother or sister to look up-to, I’m implementing a special mentorship program in Meri Sanskriti Youth, to create that environment for our future generations!
That’s my experience being an only child in a family centered culture! I would love to hear yours!
“The Indian Girl”
Connect with me on Instagram: Meri Sanskriti,would love to hear from you and your experience!