(As told to Sanjukta Das)
This was truly a happy, filmi joint family
I have always loved the concept of a big, happy joint family. I grew up in a nuclear family – my sister and I with my parents. So when I married a man who had a huge family, I was kind of thrilled.
The wedding was a big, fat Indian wedding. My husband Ashok’s family was larger than life and unlike the stereotype of a bickering, joint family scenario. There was harmony. The bahus got along so well with the in-laws. One of them worked, the other was a home maker. I told myself that beneath all the harmony and peace, there would be ugly chaos ready to leap out any day. I was convinced not everything could be as great as it seemed.
And then it hit me. I was wrong. This was a Utopian family I came to live with. I was happy with my new family, more than anything.
Related reading: Here’s how living in a joint family after marriage worked out for me
Everywhere we looked, there was a family member
I gave up looking for chinks in the armour a long time back. The whole hum saath saath hain filmi family I had pictured was actually that. We, with the females of the family, went for morning walks together. On Sundays we went on road trips together. We even joined yoga classes together. The whole family did everything together. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t ask for a better home after marriage. But my husband and I rarely got to do things alone, you know, just the two of us.
And the sex was always quiet and a quickie. Where is the newly married passionate, screaming kind of sex I was hoping for? I could not have that. To even hold hands, or steal a kiss in the kitchen was a big thing. Not that anyone was glaring, but being intimate in our own house means checking every nook and corner of the house for onlookers. The whole hugging and kissing in front of the family is a little uncomfortable, especially with the kids and the teens around.
The first few years of the marriage is supposed to be crazy sex, middle-of-the-day sex right? We could not have that. We had amazing nights though. But not whenever we felt the urge to rip each other’s clothes off. We had to hold back the carnal urge, because there was always a ceremony to attend, or a picnic to go to. It sucked for a while. There were times when Ashok and I made up fake meetings we had to attend out of the city just so we could go away together somewhere.
The fabrications we come up with
Getting to go somewhere alone was a plan we have been thinking about for a while. Thank God for my other sister-in-law. She often helped me by deliberately leaving us out from any weekend plan. Once she told the family we had to stay back because we had to cook fifteen plates of biryani for an office party. The family left for the weekend and we had non-stop sex for the weekend. We were so tired on Monday morning, we skipped office and stayed back home again with the family. We were supposed to feel guilty about it, but sex cured us of all the guilt.
I believe everyone in our family kind of knows what it’s like to want sex but not be able to, since they too have been in my position after they got married.
And since my family members are pretty sensible, they do their bit to help me out a bit. Like the other day, my mother-in-law suggested everyone should go to watch a movie. She also remarked that since we had already seen the movie, maybe we should stay back home. (We hadn’t seen the movie, but we agreed with her.) So we got a couple of hours, family-free, uninterrupted intimate time.
The trade-off for less couple time is more family support
I love the family I am married into. Sure, there are crazy times when I wished I hadn’t prayed for a big family. But we all cook together and everyone is pretty supportive of each other. They know what is what and let us be when they sense we need some alone time together. Small gestures like leaving us out from plans really encourage my husband and me to have good times together (the little time that we get, we are thankful for that).