Are you going to a house or are you coming home?

If you want to come to a home at the end of each day, in your family, never mince words.
The idea of a family as a warm, fuzzy place, a.k.a home, often times clouds our thinking when it comes to having honest conversations. In our endeavour to be nice to our kin, we end up being fake. Resultantly, the basic premise on which the institution of the family is founded suffers.
A family is a group of people. So are those whom you find on the street. So what distinguishes a family from a street crowd? A family is where you must ideally have people who are willing to be available to support each other. A family is where people will not, again ideally, judge each other. A family is where, ideally, you can speak your mind. But most families have stopped being supportive or are as fractious as any other ordinary group of people. Why? Simply because people in such families have stopped being honest. A ‘loving’ family is somehow (mis)understood by people as a place where people are ‘nice’ to each other. True love is not about being nice alone – it is about being caring, compassionate and candid.
The compostion of a family is really as plain vanilla as any group of inviduals. The word individual means ‘single’ or ‘separate’. Now, how can we expect these ‘separate’ people to come together and bond? Surely a blood relationship cannot help just because it is a common denominator that binds or connects all those who are separate. Bonding really happens when people understand each other. And understanding thrives only in an honest environment.
Building and sustaining that honest environment is everyone’s responsibility. A great family is one where everyone can speak their mind and be sure that they will be understood and not interpreted. Nurturing this spirit of being there for each other and belonging is a continuous process. There can be no room for pretention here. People must have the freedom to choose what they want to do, and do it the way they want to do it, yet, at the same time, they must be responsible enough to revisit their choices, making adjustments and alterations, should the family’s needs require them to do so.
If you want to build a great family, make sure the first brick you lay is that of ‘honesty’. Encourage open sharing, empower people to make mistakes, champion being there for each other and expunge the phrase ‘I-told-you-so’. We all set out to build careers and bank balances. Most often we get both right! If we spent a fraction of that time on building our families right, we will find greater peace within us and in our personal space. At the end of the day, that’s what matters – are you going back to your house or are you coming home!?

Only a woman can make a house a home!

Anybody can live in a  house. But few can call it a home. Invariably, it is a woman who can make a well-designed house a beautiful home by filling it with love, warmth and care.


I have often wondered about this. What makes some families special? What makes some children special? What contributes to the phenomenal positive energy that you can feel the moment you enter some people’s homes? And, over the years, I have come to understand and appreciate that my question really must have been asked with a ‘who’ than with a ‘what’! Because it is the lady of the house that makes the place special and anchors by practicing the values that make the children grow up to be responsible, compassionate, successful adults! This is not to impune the role the men-folk play in any manner, but somehow the flavor that a caring woman can bring to better home-making is matchless.



Over the last two days we met a fine gentleman whose story is unique. He’s an Indian, a Marwari Jain, who lives in Pittsburgh in the US. He and his family (wife and two children) live with his parents, his two brothers and their families in a large multi-bedroom villa. They still live together, continuing an age-old Indian tradition which has come apart even in India for various factors __ from individual preferences to more evolved family/community perspectives. But his family still loves this way of living and finds great joy in this. Even his grandmother used to live with them until she passed away a few years ago. The children in their home touch the feet, as a mark of respect, of any older guests visiting the family. They make annual trips to India to connect with their extended Indian family in Rajasthan and get to refresh their Indian language skills and are initiated into new facets of Indian culture, music and dance on each of their visits. A common friend who knows his family and has been to their home describes it as one that is filled with ‘love and a rare warmth’ where the mother and her three daughters-in-law live in ‘complete harmony’!



Surely this family may have its own share of inter-personal issues. So I am not making a case for us to believe a fairy tale! But what makes this story special is the fact that this family lives together in the US even as the joint family system has gone ‘out of fashion’ in most parts of urban India. I am neither for nor against joint families. I don’t live in one. And I may not want to live in one either. But I liked this story when I learned about it because it substantiates my theory that women make our lives__and worlds__better. Importantly, they play a key leadership role in shaping our own destinies and those of our families and children. And please don’t get me wrong. I am in never in favor of relegating women to play just home-makers. I feel that they truly deserve and must have (not given – because who’s anybody to ‘give’ what must be freely available to anyone?) dignity, respect and complete empowerment in every aspect of Life. In fact, I marvel at their ability to pull off a world-class feat every single day __ without grudging, without complaining, without citing an excuse __ in so many millions of homes across the world. It is wonderful to see them juggle between their own successful careers and social commitments, even while looking after even the mundane responsibilities in the household, and yet being compassionate, caring while dealing with the children and their ever increasing, demanding needs and still providing us men undiluted attention and love. It’s the most perfect example of flawless multi-tasking and selfless service that you will find anywhere in the world. And if you can find it in your Life, in your home, realize that you are indeed blessed!

This isn’t about gender or about what a man can do and what a woman can. This simply is a sharing of what a huge difference a woman’s love can make to enrich the lives of so many in her immediate circle of influence. This is a celebration of that beautiful love that only a woman is capable of!