I’m a foreigner living in India. I’m married to an Indian and we have a 5 year old (almost 6) son. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that I live with my in laws in India? Shocked? If you thought impossible, think again. It is a very common occurrence to discuss the fact that I have moved from living independently to that now I live in India and in an extended family. The biggest question I get from a non Indian is ‘how’ do you do it? The second question is ‘why’ would I choose to live together? Then comes curious looks, a lot of interest and even some judgmental remarks.
Most of all foreigners are shocked and wonder how I could possibly share a home with parents when I am an adult and a parent myself. Like so many others, I was a teenager who was itching to move out of home, to live independently with friends and to do what I wanted without parents watching over me or disapproving. I do feel lucky to say that I get along really well with my in laws and feel lucky to live in India. It is like living with anyone new. There needs to be good understanding and communication. It takes time and in my case, it has been great. I have often been mistaken to be my mother in laws real daughter!
However, I am also well aware of Indian families living together and experiencing many problems and does not work out for everyone. Living together has brought out a completely different experience that I never thought I’d be open to. It definitely also comes with many perks! I am able to leave my son with my in laws if I need to go out without having to organise anything or ask them to come over. We don’t need to call them over for dinner because they are there! Many times I don’t even need to cook because my mother in law has already done it.
Take a look at this interview on Oprah with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Buchchan. I really like how Abhishek wittingly answers Oprah’s question about living with parents. He neither gets offended at her question, but makes her realise that living separately as an adult is just as normal as living with parents.