No matter how life is, family makes everything better!
A family can be annoying, chaotic and lots more…but underneath all of that lies one thing — love! No matter where you are in the world, family, is where you can come ‘home’, and these 3 stories highlight the same.
“I was raised to be a family man, my parents would say, ‘Keep family close.’ One of my life regrets was missing out on spending time with Maa before she passed; I was too busy working!
It was a void that I carried until my fiancé, Dipinty, told me a few years later, ‘When I move in with you, who’ll look after my parents?’ I said, ‘They’ll live with us!’ But her dad said, ‘What if society thinks we’re living off his son in-law?’ I told him, ‘A home without family isn’t a home.’ I was glad when they finally agreed to move in! But society said, ‘This is against our culture.’ I didn’t listen. I loved having them home; Dipinty’s mom reminded me of mine & her dad taught me finances!
Once, my mom-in-law asked Dipinty, ‘Why don’t you pursue MBA? It’s your dream!’ Dipinty’s eyes lit up. I said, ‘You must!’ My support encouraged her.
And when she got into her dream university abroad, I was proud! Although we were elated, we knew we’d have to live apart for 2 years. But I wouldn’t have been the husband I set out to be if I didn’t support Dipinty’s ambitions too… & so I told her, ‘You study. I’ll run the house & care of your parents.’ I could sense her relief!
We pooled in our savings & she moved abroad. Society buzzed in my ear, ‘How will your marriage sustain?’, ‘Why don’t you have kids?’ to which I retorted, ‘If I had wanted to study, would I also be questioned like this?’
And while Dipinty was away, I found a job where I could WFH while caring for her parents. Being without Dipinty was difficult but we spoke to each other daily. I wake up at 5AM to talk to her. I love when my mom-in-law calls Dipinty to make her jealous, ‘We don’t miss you, Prateek takes good care of us!’
Still, I get told by people, 'You're a house husband.' But my ego isn’t bruised; I’m encouraged to be supportive of my family & wife’s career.
A few weeks ago, Dipinty returned after 9 months for her holidays.... her parents & I had renovated the house! She was surprised & when we hugged, Dipinty whispered, ‘Thank you!' Dipinty & I married to bring out the best in each other. Our duties in our relationship aren’t defined by our genders. We equally look out for each other, always.”
“Never in my dreams would I have ever thought that a 14-year-old girl would play a cupid in my love story. But that’s exactly what happened; here’s how…
4 years ago, I was this 32-year-old carefree man working at an MNC who was longing for a partner–I wanted something meaningful. And so, when I came across Anisha’s profile on a dating site, and felt drawn towards her, I made a move.
And in our first ‘formal’ conversation she told me about her 14-year-old daughter, Jessica and how it was she who had set up the profile. I was already grateful to this girl. Days went by, Anisha and I spoke, there was a connection– I loved how honest she was about everything; when we met, she told me about her previous marriage. She was 3 years older than me and was a single mother. And while there are people out there who thought this was a ‘burden’, I thought, ‘This is double the happiness!’
I remember how Anisha introduced Jessica and me via video call on our first date. She was the sweetest little girl with the widest smile! And even when we met 15 days later, I took an instant liking for her! I mean, she was an adolescent with her own mood swings so there were times when we’d not get along–like when she refused to focus on her studies or ignored my advice about savings. But from understanding what place she came from to approaching her as a friend rather than a father, we began to bond.
And a few months later, when she broke down in front of me after her breakup, I was there with her. It was at that moment when she first called me Papa. It felt surreal. And I hugged her tight and promised myself that I’ll always look after her.
Over time, as Anisha and I grew closer as partners, Jessica and I bonded as friends. We’d go for trips, dinners, and lunches and seeing that twinkle in her eye while spending time with her ‘family’ felt overwhelming. There were people who never understood our family. They'd ask me things like, ‘Anisha is older than you and above all, her daughter is 14, won’t it tie you down?’ But I never really understood it.
There were these two women in my life who cheered for me and supported me at every step. How could I think of myself as ‘tied down?’ It was the best thing in my life. And so, when a few months later we decided to tie the knot, there was a lot of ‘chatter’ but Anisha, Jessica, and I ignored the world and planned the wedding! It took a year for us to actually get married but when we did, Jessica was at the forefront of all the events, dancing and crying happy tears.
It’s been 2 years since the wedding and together, we’re the most unconventional family! We go to clubs, party together and on trips, you’d think we're a bunch of friends goofing around. And each time when we’re out there, having the time of our lives, I can’t help but feel grateful for this life that I’ve gotten, the one in which I went out to find a partner, but found a whole family for myself!”
“Being an only child, Maa & Papa were my best friends. The 3 of us did everything together- be it catching movies or talking about poetry. They were the ‘cool parents’ who gave me love advice. In fact, when Prakhar, my now husband, proposed to me, I 1st called home.
My wedding day was so bittersweet- I was upset about leaving Maa & Papa behind. During my vidaai Papa said, ‘I’m going to miss my best friend.’ After marriage, we moved to Gurgaon & I’d visit Maa & Papa every chance I got.
4 years into the marriage, we had Ekaa! Maa & Papa were excited. They said, ‘Promotion ho gaya hai- Nana Nani hai hum!’ Whenever they got the chance, they’d come visit. Ekaa loved having them around.
Last year, when Papa retired, I was glad. I thought, ‘Ab aaram se rahenge.’ but after his retirement, when I went to Jaipur to help them set up, I was shocked! The building had no security, & there were irregular electricity cuts. I thought to myself, ‘They cannot live here!’ Moreover, Maa had diabetes- I didn’t want to risk it.
I immediately spoke to Prakhar & we decided that they’d stay with us. I even spoke to my in-laws, who stayed in Haridwar, they said, ‘Get them home.’
When I told Maa & Papa, their 1st reaction was, was ‘Beti ke ghar nahi reh sakte.’ But when we pushed them, they hesitantly agreed. They moved in a month later. Still, Maa would say, ‘Log kya kahenge’. They took time but eventually adjusted to life there - they’d go for walks daily. In fact, Ma even joined a bhajan class where she made so many friends. But amongst all of us, Ekaa was the happiest - her Nana-Nani were home!
We spend our weekends playing board games & watching movies. And oh you know what the best part is? All of us are big foodies. So every Sunday, we prepare a feast - from pasta to curry to dosa! And whenever my in-laws come down, we have a blast! Even my in-laws are planning to move in with us soon. It’s going to be a full house!
I know how uncomfortable the idea of moving in with their daughter was for Maa & Papa, but I’m glad they broke the stereotype. I feel fortunate to have a family where there is no ‘boy’s side’ ‘girl’s side’ debate, there is only an abundance of love.”
Being India’s biggest storytelling platform, Humans of Bombay is all about bringing you extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Today, we bring you these stories of the beautiful bond families share—a reminder that a family means unconditional love! If you’d like to read more such stories, check out our book and dive into the diverse tales of a country with a billion beating hearts!
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