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Friday, June 29

Friemily : Friends Become Family

While the TRP obsessed saas-bahu serials still revolve primarily around the family, in urban India amongst the upper middle class, friends are the new hub of life! Well the phenomena is not entirely new.

Maybe Bollywood tapped it first in 'Dil Chahta Hai'. The cover story of Outlook(Jun 25th issue) is on this theme. Some highlights from the issue mashed up with few of my thoughts, in no particular order...

1. "With joint families being dispersed around the country, sibling and parental ties weaken and reliance on friends grows."
There is a limit to which family ties can be maintained even on the low cost mobile telephony available in the country!!

2. "Families many-a-time are judgemental and inhibiting. Friends largely respect your independence, individualistic mores."
In a time-pressured society, young couples do not have the patience to deal with relatively more constricting familial mores.

3. "Family relationships can be hierarchical, weighed down by baggage of old feuds and quarrels. Friendships offer more liberating, guilt-free relationships."
The rapid changes in lifestyles, work-patterns, adoption of new social behaviours are better accepted, accomodated and enjoyed with friends than family.

4. "With the pace of change all around, parents fail to keep up with the new life and experiences of their young children however hard they try or liberal they try to become. Friends fill the gap!"

5. "Traditionally, the family was the inner core, while even the closest of friendships still stood outside that sanctum. But now it's all mingled, with friends becoming a part of one's family, often standing in for the family itself."
I remember while I was growing up, my father would take pains to explain the difference between 'dost' and 'bhai' even though the 'bhai' in question would be the 'second cousin' and the 'dost' - the closest buddy!

On the flip side, one may argue that family is the new friend. Blood brothers, fathers, father-in-laws/ mom-in-laws act, behave and accommodate more and more like friends...

There is a casualisation of relationships not just at the work-place but also at home. Age and experience are no longer setting the rules of the family.

Technology, first distance and dispersion and then a death-of-distance and other frenetic changes all around are re-inventing most of our social institutions and mores...

P.S. A bit of factoid. Just discovered when I type 'Friemily' in Google sesrch, my post is the page 1, item 1 search back:-)

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