Books and Beyond with Bound

5.16 Tara & Michelle: The Changing 'Big Indian Family'

April 25, 2023 Bound Podcasts Season 5 Episode 16
5.16 Tara & Michelle: The Changing 'Big Indian Family'
Books and Beyond with Bound
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Books and Beyond with Bound
5.16 Tara & Michelle: The Changing 'Big Indian Family'
Apr 25, 2023 Season 5 Episode 16
Bound Podcasts

Find out how the representation of the Indian family has evolved in Indian literature and movies!

Join Tara and Michelle as they dissect the popularity of family drama stories in India, taking the examples of some of the best books and movies in this genre. How does literature explore questions of love, conflict, and changing social values within families? How do books and movies portray the cultural differences in the perception of family dynamics? How does literature become a space to normalize alternate family patterns? What is the future of the Indian family in fiction?

Tune in to find out!

Books and movies mentioned in this episode:

  • Missoula Padmanabhan
  • The Girl In White Cotton by Agni Doshi
  • Independence by Chitra Banerjee
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The Days of Abandonment by Adina Ferrante
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Big Room by Jerry Pinto
  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  • Teen Couple have Fun Outdoors by Aravind Jayan
  • Village by the Sea by Anita Desai
  • Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua
  • The Family Life by Akhil Sharma
  • Bombay Balchao by Jane Borges
  • Windfall by Diksha Basu


Produced by Aishwarya Javalgekar
Sound edit by Kshitij Jadhav


‘Books and Beyond with Bound’ is the podcast where Tara Khandelwal and Michelle D’costa uncover how their books reflect the realities of our lives and society today. Find out what drives India’s finest authors: from personal experiences to jugaad research methods, insecurities to publishing journeys. Created by Bound, a storytelling company that helps you grow through stories. Follow us @boundindia on all social media platforms.




Show Notes Transcript

Find out how the representation of the Indian family has evolved in Indian literature and movies!

Join Tara and Michelle as they dissect the popularity of family drama stories in India, taking the examples of some of the best books and movies in this genre. How does literature explore questions of love, conflict, and changing social values within families? How do books and movies portray the cultural differences in the perception of family dynamics? How does literature become a space to normalize alternate family patterns? What is the future of the Indian family in fiction?

Tune in to find out!

Books and movies mentioned in this episode:

  • Missoula Padmanabhan
  • The Girl In White Cotton by Agni Doshi
  • Independence by Chitra Banerjee
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The Days of Abandonment by Adina Ferrante
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Big Room by Jerry Pinto
  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  • Teen Couple have Fun Outdoors by Aravind Jayan
  • Village by the Sea by Anita Desai
  • Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua
  • The Family Life by Akhil Sharma
  • Bombay Balchao by Jane Borges
  • Windfall by Diksha Basu


Produced by Aishwarya Javalgekar
Sound edit by Kshitij Jadhav


‘Books and Beyond with Bound’ is the podcast where Tara Khandelwal and Michelle D’costa uncover how their books reflect the realities of our lives and society today. Find out what drives India’s finest authors: from personal experiences to jugaad research methods, insecurities to publishing journeys. Created by Bound, a storytelling company that helps you grow through stories. Follow us @boundindia on all social media platforms.




Michelle D'costa

 

00:04

Basically the book is about, you know, one day, his brother dives into the pool, and it's shallow and he hits his head at the bottom of the pool and he becomes brain dead. And then how that sort of affects the rest of the family that's an immigrant family living abroad. You know, it's just okay Sharma it's just a narrator, the brother and the two parents. Welcome to Books and Beyond with bound. I'm Tara Khandelwal.

 

Michelle D'costa  00:31

I am Michelle D'costa.

 

00:33

And in this podcast, we uncover the stories behind some of the best written books of our time,

 

Michelle D'costa  00:39

and find out how these books reflect our lives and our society today.

 

00:44

So tune in every Wednesday to enter a whole new world with a new author. And a new idea.

 

Michelle D'costa  00:51

Yes, and after three years and 2 million listens, we are back with a fall back season five,

 

00:58

with hard hitting questions and life changing books.

 

Michelle D'costa  01:01

So let's dive in. Hi, everyone, welcome to another Tara and Michelle special.

 

01:11

Hi, everyone, welcome. I'm sure everybody's maybe heard of this thing by Tolstoy who said that All happy families are alike. But every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. And this quote is from Anna Karenina, and it's so apt, and we are going to be dissecting Justice. Today, we're going to be finding out how the idea of family has changed in the representation and Indian books, movies, shows over the years, from the SAS Bahu cereals to you know what we're seeing today. And we're going to deconstruct this obsession with family stories. What is the great big Indian family? How has it evolved over time in literature in shows? And are there any patterns that keep showing up? What do we envision the Indian family is going to look like in the future? And how will it be represented? So we're gonna be discussing all of these things, right, Michelle?

 

Michelle D'costa  02:09

Yes, we are actually will be visiting Indian households, whether they are big, small, joint, nuclear, all kinds of Indian families, because Indians are known for being a collectivistic society, right, which means we take decisions, keeping the interests of faculty members in mind, you know, as opposed to our own individual wishes. So does this really reflect in the stories that have come out in the past, you know, that are coming out right now? And whatever the stories are covered in the future? Like, are we actually changing from a collectivistic society to a more individualistic one?

 

02:41

What do you think?

 

Michelle D'costa  02:42

Okay, so I think, I do think that stories are focusing more on the personal right now. But then, you know, before we get into that, I really want to know, what is your, you know, relationship with Indian family stories? Or what is it about family drama, you know, that you really like?

 

03:01

Yeah, I think like, that's, you know, why we decided to do this episode, right? Because we were discussing, you know, what should we discuss next. And both of us really like the sort of Family Sagas, family dynamics. So what I really like is the relationship between different characters, and especially how that plays out, you know, across generations, because I find that that's very interesting, at least even in our own Indian society, within our own houses, you know, we can see your grandma and your dad, and you may have a different sort of places that they're coming from, and how those sorts of dynamics and those sorts of personal histories also play into how we interact with each other. I think that is very interesting. And it's very interesting reflection on society, right? Like, my dad just finished reading a suitable boy by Vikram Sade. And he said that he really loved it, because setting the India that he grew up in, and now I can't wait to read the book, too. I'm gonna take it as a challenge to read it, because I want to find out what sort of he resonated with. And, you know, the book is, it's about a mother's struggle to find a suitable boy for Lata. I've seen the TV show. And it's all about sort of like the difference between generations. A recent book that I like, that showcases that multi generational, you know, tension and differences are when Jason's team couple have fun outdoors, which, by the way, love the name of the book. And in the book, what happens is, there's these Gen Z couple, there's an intimate clip of them, and it goes viral, and everybody sort of knows about it, including the society and their parents and their parents friends. And you can see how the parents react to this. And you can see how sort of Gen Z reacts to this video going viral and they sort of nonchalant, right, like, it's like it's fine and happen. And that difference and that tension, you know, between those generations, I think that is what I find interesting. But I've been talking a lot so what about Our family stories interests you.

 

Michelle D'costa  05:05

Yeah, and just for our listeners, you know, we have also interviewed Arvind Jain. So do look out for that episode. It's one of the most fun episodes we've had. Um, so yeah, what about family? Java, right, like, right. So I really enjoy the family dynamics, you know, for example, if a family member is going through something, and how that affects the rest of the members of the family, right? So for example, there is a specfic play called Harvest by Missoula Padmanabhan, it's one of the most famous plays out there. And what it actually shows is that when one member of the family gives up, you know, the right to his body, right, in exchange of money in exchange of a better life, how that actually defines, you know, the rest of the family's decisions, how it actually changes the dynamics of the family. And, you know, recently we also spoke to Agni Doshi, the author of The Golden white cotton, it was shortlisted for the Booker. And I love that because it shows this very complex mother and daughter relationship, because the mother has dementia, and there's this constant power struggle between them, you know, and also, for example, it could be a sibling relationship, like in Chitra. Banerjee is independence, you know, we actually see how three sisters go through this whole partition era together, what happens to them? How do the family dynamics change? You know, so one sister, how was this jealousy? Because she actually likes the other sisters, you know, boyfriend, there's so much that happens. And for example, you know, in rebar as dance, or zoo, there was this father daughter relationship that I really loved. You know, so the protagonist has such a supportive father, you know, that's a business family, and we get to see the five minute items between them. How does that affect it? I think for me, what draws me to them? Is these relationships, very intense close relationships. So it could be father daughter, it could be you know, mother, daughter, it could be siblings. Yeah. For me, that's the that.

 

07:00

I like what you said about, you know, when one thing happens to one family member, right, like, if I lose my job, how does it affect you like what happens to the other and that is actually very interesting to see. And we sort of, you know, voxel explorer that I agree with you a very interesting, we're going to be finding out, you know, if there's certain patterns that also pop up in the family stories that have come out in India over time, right. And one of the things that I really liked, which I said is that tug of war between modernity and traditional values.

 

Michelle D'costa  07:31

Yeah, or, you know, even the difference between arranged marriage versus Love marriage, right. So when suitable boy, we actually see that. And then, you know, there was an opening and mysteries book a fine balance, right, which is actually about Parsi characters in Bombay. And I think it came out in 1995. It covers this whole period post independence, you know, until Indira Gandhi's emergency period. So that's his protagonist, Tina, um, she actually escapes her abusive brother or newsman? No, she lives away from him after marriage. And even though her husband dies, she actually doesn't go back to her, you know, my car as a car, she doesn't go back to her maternal home, she actually stays there. And you know, she's a young widow, she, she actually thinks of hiring tailors. She thinks of renting out her apartment to Taylor's and I found it very inspiring, like, you know, the fire in her to find her own voice, you know, like not to succumb to patriarchy, or to the traditional confines. For me, that was really, really refreshing,

 

08:29

huh. And yeah, this is a book that came out in 1993. You know, so I feel like what's interesting about like, family stories that really resonate, you know, there's always some buddy in the family that is going against sort of conventional norms, that sort of what we are seeing a lot in the 90s in the 2000s, even now with Arvind giants book is that there are few family members, because when we think of the big Indian family, we think of the patriarch, we think of the daughter in law, all of these sort of tropes that we that we see in sort of Sasebo serials, you know, that villain komolika, but I

 

Michelle D'costa  09:08

think yeah, I think, you know, that her signature background music and in my mind,

 

09:15

yeah, it's a real, you know, so I think like the books that did really well in that period, and that we really like sort of have the dynamic of somebody sort of, like, pushing against the frame. And another book that came out in the 90s was obviously the God of small things, which is an amazing family story by Arundhati Roy. It's so unique, because you have sort of a very strong female protagonist. It's a matriarch, multi generational matriarchal family. You know, the matriarch is called Baby coach Amma, which is quite ironic, right for a name. And you have, yeah, then you have this the twins and you have the protagonist, a mu who falls in love with a Dalit. I finally ended up reading it, I think one or two years ago, did come out in the 90s or early around early 2000s. I'm not sure when but what we're talking about right now was talking about books in the 90s and early 2000s. After liberalisation of India's economy, I remember my dad reading it, and he was sort of like, even crying, like, you know, like, he told me that he started crying, I needed the book, because it's so sort of, not only the love of family has, but also like, sometimes the norms that, you know, constrain people within that family. And I think that was a very big theme in that time period.

 

Michelle D'costa  10:35

Younger actually talking about, you know, all these books, movies shows that, you know, we grew up on in the 90s, I became so used to seeing all this drama, you know, like, for example, where there's a band, and you know, there's a typical Sasebo, who set up and you know, these big joint families where you can't take a decision on your own. The rest of the people do it for you. And in this case, it was mostly whatever the vamp did, and the rest of the family would, you know, see the repercussions. It was really hilarious. But you know, apart from joint family stories around one movie really stood out to me because it was, I think, a change maker. It was something really different from what I had seen portrayed on screen, though, it was a Bollywood movie, you know, played by Carmen Hasson, it was actually a remake of a Hollywood movie called Mrs. Doubtfire. So in that story, what I got to see was this man, you know, he separated from his family for some reason, and now he can't wear you know, this gap he's suddenly facing in his life because he's living away from his daughter and his wife. So what does he do? He dresses up like a woman. And in this disguise, he, you know, lives that he comes back as a nanny, he lives there. And you know, for most of the film, most of the movie, they don't know that it's him. Right. So for me, that was the first time I had seen a broken family portrayal, you know, at least in an Indian setting. That was quite refreshing, because I had usually only seen it in Hollywood.

 

12:01

Yeah, no, I agree with you. Because like, I think we all grew up in like homes had satay and also have all these families, I don't think is broken family concept existed. And I think for me, I think in the early 2000s, kabhi, Khushi, kabhi, Gham, even though it's very traditional, you know, because it was a patriarchy and all of that there was a family rift where the son marry someone that he is not sort of supposed to, and then they move abroad, and they don't talk for many years, even copy URL with that Mac, and just about, like law says, you know, so I'm seeing that story is, like started becoming, you know, more and more progressive and more and more sort of examples of that.

 

Michelle D'costa  12:38

Yeah, you're right, things started changing. After that, I'm really happy that things have only gotten better. You know, though, it is just one example. So there is a cereal right now that is tucked in all the charts. Oh, and it's for quite some time. So it's called an Obama. And it's about this woman and Obama's life, where, you know, she had an abusive husband, a typical patriarch, where he wouldn't value her. And so what she does is she gets separated from him, and she follows a heart and she actually gets together with her crush, you know, and she starts her own family, they adopt the child and I think, you know, to see such a story, such a feminist progressive story, hitting the top most stars in India is I think, a big chain MC and I'm so glad that's happening in 2023. And I can only imagine the way stories are gonna change in the years to come.

 

13:26

Yeah, I remember like when Social Media Center adopted like, oh, kids, you know, without getting married, and that was like, a big thing. And now like, it's, yeah, now it's so normalized, right, like Karan Johar did it? Like, I mean, it's normalized within the celebrity world. I don't know, what would happen if like, normal people. I mean, there's still so much stigma, right? Like, we can't just sort of like whitewash and think that everything has changed. But yeah, the point of stories is obviously to not only reflect, but also push society. And I think, yeah, the example you mentioned is really great. And I remember when modern family came out, and it was so different for that time, because, you know, there's a gay couple, they're adopting an Asian baby. There's older man, younger woman, sort of marriage, a lot of interesting dynamics. Some stories really, sort of, they not only make you think, and they're very emotional as well, one of the reasons that when you and I were discussing this episode, we said that we really like Family Sagas and like family dynamics, because they really make you sort of feel right, you relate to them. Like one example that I can think of as this is us, which is like, again, a multi generational, like family saga. And like, there's so much love between the family members, like you know, we see how they grew up, how they're growing up, yours sort of have affected their adult relationships, you know, which is also very interesting to watch. And that is something that you know, as sort of a storyteller and I'm sure Michelle, you will relate how we grew up the relationships that we imbibe in childhood, and how those play out in a doll thought that is always very interesting. And I think these stories are about these dynamics within a family stories that focus on dynamics within the family can really sort of do that in a way that other books can't, which is, you know, really highlight, you know, how personalities, psychologies are formed. So that's another dimension to family stories. Yeah,

 

Michelle D'costa  15:24

true. And that show that that's one of the most emotional shows I've ever seen, like, I just don't know what it is. It's like a cry fest, the moment you click on and, you know, even after you switch off the video, you're just crying, oh, my God, I do the writing is brilliant. But apart from the shows, that are, which was the one book that really struck an emotional chord with you

 

15:44

growing up. So many, I think one of the books that we read in school was village by the sea by Anita Desai. And it came out in 1983. Actually, that's about like this family who sort of like living in a village and the mother is very sick, you know, the father is an alcoholic, the children now they don't know what to do. So the boy hurry, he goes to Bombay, and he finds himself all alone in Bombay, and he finally meets somebody and he sees a future for himself as a watchmaker, and then sort of he like, has to bring his mother to Bombay to get her treated. And, you know, the father also sort of like changes and become sober, they come to visit, and then at the end, you know, they use his money to start a chicken farm. You know, it was very sort of heartwarming, I still remember one of the descriptions we read in school where Harry comes to Bombay, and he sort of is, goes to his restaurant, you know, I can still remember the descriptions on the walls, which are covered with grime. That was, I think, one of the first books, you know, which I read that showed sort of like, these class issues as well. But so many, I think, you know, as I said earlier, one of the dimensions or family stories is the emotional bonding and the intense love that family members have for each other. And that's where you see as well, right, like how characters sort of come to be and come and develop, because even as you and I as people, it's interesting to introspect, right? Like, we interviewed these two therapists for Books and Beyond. And they were talking about how we grew up, and all the relationships that we sort of have with our parents or with our siblings, they translate into the relationships that we have with our friends with everything. So you know, maybe if you have sort of, like, parents are very strict, that like, translates to you maybe having an inner voice. So they're all these sorts of dynamics. And there's something very Indian, right about, like, the way that we all interact with each other the way that sort of like our culture is, and I find that aspect, also very unique. And that's what I want to sort of think about or explore more, you know, because what is the family's story in India versus a family story in like white America, you know, or you looking at, you know, the big Greek Indian family, which was a movie, you know, and how families operate? What are the dynamics, all of that also sort of so dependent on culture, which I find very interesting as well.

 

Michelle D'costa  18:13

Yeah. And you mentioned, you know, about the Greek family that actually reminded me, you know, how different cultures perceive families, right. So a very domestic family drama book that I love and actually teach in my classes is the days of abandonment by Adina Ferrante and for all our listeners who might have not read her now and it's just heard, so she's an Italian writer and the book does dissect Italian families right. So for example, when a woman might be abandoned or left by her husband, you know, how are they looked at what happens you know, so what she tries to show through the book is the woman is then pitied right so everyone looks at her as this poor thing that you know, now people are just wondered, okay, what's going to happen to her so it's very interesting. I think the more cultures you explore, it's you know, the family dynamics change. And for me, you know, that one book which had an emotional connection, Tara because it toward an Indian family and that to an Indian family in the diaspora was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I'm sure most of our listeners must have heard me repeat this book like 1000 times on this podcast, but actually, that was the first time I had an emotional connect with the book because you know, I had seen my parents you know, struggling as immigrant parents you know, first time parents not knowing how to figure out parenting all on their own because your families back home, right and so many struggles that come up in the way and I just couldn't understand it. I couldn't relate to it until I saw it in the namesake you know, and do the couple in namesake so Ashima Ganguly and her husband and I actually Bengalis, and they're the son goal. So he just hates his name. He hates the kind of traditional that he's brought up with because he finds this very big gap between what he's Seeing around him, and what his parents actually have brought him up, right, this whole worldview. So for me, that was the first time I had this emotional connect. And I really think that that book sets the tone for, you know, diaspora families, Indian diaspora families. And after that, we got to see so many more. Yeah,

 

20:18

the mean is for a family dynamic is interesting, because it takes that whole multi generational thing to another level, where you not only have like a clash between generations, but you have clash between sort of like cultures, right, and then, which is like American, or Western culture and Indian culture where your kids are growing up. And one thing that causes a lot of the conflict is, which are so very interesting is that, you know, there's this whole concept of legacy that you what you want to pass down, what you want your children to, sort of, you know, imbibe and take away and you know, for an immigrant family, it may be I want my children to learn the language of be Indian, and maybe the children don't want that, which is very interesting. Makes me also think, as a child of my parents, like, what are the things that my parents are trying to sort of like inculcate in me, and what have I taken in? And what have I rejected? And I think that's sort of very interesting part of immigrant family narratives.

 

Michelle D'costa  21:17

Yeah. And can I add here, Tara, you know, your comment about what our parents might want us to bring up. But so I clearly remember being a child, and listening to my parents speaking in company, right, so that's our mother tongue. But then when I started reacting in company, my parents were like, no, no, English is your language, which was very funny. And I was so confused. I'm like, why, you know, and they said, No, if you speak more English, you know, if you have more practice, you will get better at English. And while you know, it was so interesting, because you know, as kids, when you're told not to do something, you tend to do it more. I remember trying to imitate them. And that's how I learned how Korean so now, when we speak at home, it's more of Congress. It's comedy and English, but it's really, I would say hilarious, and also very, very interesting to see that what we want our kids to follow, you know, thinking that probably English will take them far in life, you know, in its original language, but then, you know, as they grow older, they're like, No, you need to revisit your roots, you know, like, for example, going back to Mangalore, seeing where your ancestors were from, you know, what was the culture, for example, you know, so what, what I have understood is, when I used to visit Mangalore or Bombay, on vacations, I would just, you know, take part in all of these rituals without really knowing the history behind it without really knowing why we're doing what we're doing. And now, as I've grown, what I do is, whenever I visit a place, or if I'm doing a certain macronutrient, ritual, or custom, I actually ask people, you know, why, what is the thought behind this? Why are we doing this? And I think that just got me more closer to my culture. And also, it's made me value my culture and family even more.

 

22:56

Yeah. And I want to know, like, what are the things that like, if you have kids, what are the things that you would want to sort of pass on or not pass on? And what do you think your kids would be like? No, no, I don't want to learn this.

 

Michelle D'costa  23:08

Yeah. Oh, that is a very, you know, funny question that I because firstly, I don't know if I will ever have kids? If I do, I do think that I am going to be that kind of mom who's going to just shut off all the screens possible. Okay. And the reason I'm saying this is because I think AI is just going to take over their life, I want to raise them amidst books, because, you know, I have a huge connection, something that I have built from scratch, you know, like, for example, my parents did not have a connection, neither did my extended family, nobody did. So I'm really, really proud of the connection that I've made. And if I don't get to pass it on, what's the use? You know, I mean, of course, I could always give it to other readers. But yes, I would ideally just surround them with books, you know, maybe not even toys, just books.

 

23:54

I bet you your kids are not going to be readers. Haha, no kidding. But yeah, see, that's the thing, because like what we see in these books over and over again, that whole concept of like tradition, and all concept of, you know, passing down, what do you pass down? What do you leave behind? And I think those are very, sort of Indian aspects, you know, because we're such a collectivist society, you know, we're more savings oriented society, it is so much about, you know, what is being done for the sake of the children, and then you know, how the children in turn are gonna sort of support their parents, and that's where the tension and all of these books also comes, which I think is very interesting.

 

Michelle D'costa  24:37

Yeah. And, you know, since we spoke about, you know, this need or this kind of urge for us to pass down, you know, stories, legacies and families. I think what we've also seen in books is the, you know, this passing down of genes passing down of an illness right of family secrets of something very personal that literally gets passed down through the blood through the veins. And you know, the most interesting books that I've read that does this really well, is John V. But it was rebirth. Why? Because it was, you know, written from the point of view of a mother, who's actually talking to her unborn child. Right? So she's actually going through a very troubled marriage, but the father is just absent. He's not around, right? She suspects that he's cheating on her, you know, the story is set over the course of nine months, where she's just talking to her child, right? What's the kind of impression of the world that we live in? What is Bangor, like? What is our some type, right? So she brings all these rich stories of the past of, you know, of how things are, and she actually conveys that to the child even before the child is born, which I find really interesting.

 

25:45

Yeah, like, it's these stories are much more internal, which is very interesting, right? You know, rather than mean, sort of, like these multi generational saga has, you know, they focus on a few sort of dynamics. And also, one thing about jeans, you know, I think I'm in the big room by Jerry Pinto, when it had come out, it was sort of, you know, everybody just loves that book, because it was one of the first of its kind because it dealt with mental health. And it's basically about how the narrator's model suffers from bipolar disorder, and how this affected the family life. And we see this character and, you know, when we see sort of, like, the conflicted relationship that children have, because, you know, on one end, you know, it's a mother, and she, and they really love her. But on the other end, she saw unstable, and they have to deal with the repercussions of that, that was very internal sort of book, you know, and like, it was very interesting to see sort of, there was a fear that, you know, will this get passed down. And another book that is sort of very internal about a nuclear family, you know, is our kin Sharma has the family life, I think it's one of my favorite books of all time, because this writer is one of my favorite writers, and I had to put the book down, a lot of times when I was reading, it just blew me away, because the writing the emotion is so sparse, you know, but it's so cutting at the same time, basically, the book is about, you know, one day, his brother dives into the pool, and it's shallow, and he hits his head at the bottom of the pool, and he becomes brain dead, and then how that sort of affects the rest of the family. That's an immigrant family living abroad, you know, it's just occasional Ma, it's just a narrator, the brother and the two parents. Also, one thing that was interesting about both these books is they're semi autobiographical, in which the authors sort of, you know, these things are sort of like maybe happened to these authors, maybe not in quite the same way. But it is a reaction to what has happened in their lives. And I found that also very, very interesting as well, because, you know, it's obviously, like, personally, like the mental health and the way home is about stigma, right? And it's sort of that book did a lot, maybe to sort of open the door to these kinds of conversations. So I think that the sort of, like internal nuclear family is, you know, books that go beyond the sort of, like, generational, but, you know, talk about things like genetics, and all of these things are very, very interesting. You know, I'm gonna tamales, milk teeth, also, you know, where the brother, the protagonist, brother comes out as a gay man, and how that sort of affects the family was another interesting example.

 

Michelle D'costa  28:24

Yeah, totally. Darren, you know, there was this phase I had where I was just interested in semi autobiographical books. And that's when I actually came across, you know, amateur buku, and family life. But another aspect I'd like to mention here theorizing I'm in the big room is special to me for another reason. And that's because it was the first time I had seen a Catholic family living in Bombay. And you know, what those dynamics could look like, you know, for example, as something as simple as the dialogues. Right? I hadn't seen it in other books, because, for example, while the namesake was one of those books that really struck an emotional chord with me, at the end of the day, it was a different culture right there. It was a Hindu Bengali family, but in em in the big home, it was the, you know, first time I saw a possibility in seeing more stories about Catholic and that's quite interesting,

 

29:17

because, you know, when we think about families, it's often like the North Indian family, right? That's mostly portrayed in books and movies, you know, the Punjabi family, you know, in Bollywood, you know, so I agree with you in that there definitely needs to be more representation. And one book that I really liked is Bombay, Bal Chow, is by Jane Borges, which is in you know, about like Catholic families like living in sort of this area in Bombay. And I would love to sort of read more, you know, family stories, which have more representation, like some TV serials that I really like, are fresh off the boat, because it's about a Chinese American family and it's so funny you know, because I feel as a lot of sort of similarity, right? Because like, they're like the tiger moms and like, there's this constant tug of war between, we spoke about this, you know, the culture and the atmosphere around them. So I think definitely, there's so much sort of more that can be done in representing different kinds of families, you know, whether it's, you know, we spoke about mental health or queer or, you know, different regions, different religions, different classes, because India is so diverse, right? So maybe like, we have an Indian culture, or each state has sort of, you know, so much more that brings it all together,

 

Michelle D'costa  30:36

ya know, and that's what I was actually about to say, Tara that, yes, while we are getting there, and we're, while we're representing different cultures, different religions, I do feel that, you know, we have so many diverse voices in our regional literature, right? And how much of it gets translated? Because, you know, I think in 2015, when culture culture came out, it's written by Vivek shanbhag. And translated from Canada, by Srinath Peru, it was one of those, you know, few regional books that make it global. Right? So it's been published in the US, it's published in the UK, and it's actually about this joint family, you know, the South Indian joint family? And what happens to them when they suddenly get more money, right? How do things change? Right? How do the dynamics change? Do they still look up to the patriarch of the family, because now they don't need that person's permission. Now, they don't need that person, you know, for the finance, now, probably everybody's equal. So you know, what happens? And I feel that the concept of joint family really comes across as and like you said, Tara, the South Indian family, which is different?

 

31:40

Yeah, I love that because it you know, like, class and how like, that affects family dynamics, some money sort of, like plays a role, you know, within a family is, you know, a whole different topic, because, you know, you have these stories about like, very rich families and like this concept of inheritance, right? Where, like, in families like Crazy Rich Asians, you know, there's a lot of sort of, like, succession, right, that's like the ultimate, like, family story about rich people. And it's sort of, you know, like, they're sucking up to the patriarch and you know, they're competing with each other, and how that binds them together, or tears them apart. So money and how that sort of like ties in to family dynamics is a whole other theme is so this concept of family is so rich, because there's so many inputs that you know, can affect the way that we as human beings interact with each other. It's endless. To add

 

Michelle D'costa  32:32

to that, Tara, you another book, because you mentioned money and class, another book that I feel does that really well is diksha bustles windfall. So in that book as well, so there's a weather class family, and you know, they make money overnight by selling a website. And now what do they do with it? Right? So I think they also brings in humor and satire also to show that you know, your middle class attitudes stay with you, no matter you know, even if let's say you get a lot of money, and you're suddenly your lifestyle changes, right. So and also, she wrote about this destination wedding. So her book covers this fascination with the big fat Indian family. So yeah, I do think that class and money has a lot of lot of potential. And even though you might see stories in different settings, I think it will just never go out of fashion, you will have more books about it. different nuances, different places, different times. Yeah, there's

 

33:22

so much fodder for a writer to explore, right? Like, I am hearing so many ideas after this conversation. I'm like, oh, like, I should like read a book or this or this or this. You're not even within our own families, right. Like, there's so many dynamics, it's so interesting. That's one of the reasons why I actually like, we also started our ghost writing services, because what we do is basically we help families sort of, like tell the stories of their loved ones, right? Like, I sort of wrote a book for my grandfather, before he passed away. And we, you know, gave it to him. And we sort of distributed it amongst sort of, like all our friends and family, you know, and the people that we've done this as a service for, you know, it's just been amazing, because then that legacy is with you forever. So how do you think that we've seen so many patterns so far, but the question is, you know, how our family is going to change the future? How will family stories change? Will they really, what do you think?

 

Michelle D'costa  34:22

That's, that's a real interesting, you know, thought process? Because I feel that, you know, definitely AI is going to take over our lives. You know, I do see that there will be stories which have an AI person as a family member, right? And this is not new. So that is the story point after Yang. It's also been adapted into a movie and for those who are interested in seeing it. So what happens is a couple adopts a child and the child is Chinese. And what they what they do is they get an AI or a robot to be that child or sibling or sort of support system and it's very interesting because then you start looking at As a person as a family member, right, so what happens when AI becomes part of the family? But you know, apart from that data, I do see more translations happening, especially because of prizes like the JCB, you know, a lot of recognition for translation. So I do think that we will see more family stories about, you know, certain places that are not that accessible, you know, that are remote that are obscure, at least to the larger world, I do see more stories happening. And another that I really wish that I get to see is stories about same sex families. Right, especially right now, when the hearing is happening in the court. You know, it's a very tension filled moment, because so far, though, you know, things are getting better. It's still not legalized. So I would really like to see more stories about legalized same sex families, you know, because I think that's something that there's a very big gap in our literature right now.

 

35:53

Yeah, so let's see, like, what stories will be like over the years, you know, books would cover like larger political events like COVID, we may see a lot of that to more, you know, arrange versus Love marriage, when Gen Z grows up, what, what kind of parents will they be? And what will the traditional versus modern sort of tug and pull look like? And what will we be leaving behind for our children in the years to come? So I'm looking forward to reading many, many more family books, you know, the fabric of Indian society, and the way it's represented may change a lot over the years. So if you have any books that you really love about Indian families, don't forget to reach out to us. So here we are, where the end of yet another journey into the many worlds of Books and Beyond with bound. I'm Tara Khandelwal.

 

Michelle D'costa  36:46

I'm Michelle D'costa. And this podcast is created by bound a company that helps you grow through stories Find us at bound India or all social media platforms. So tune

 

36:57

in every Wednesday if you live, eat and breathe books, and join us as we discover more revolutionary books and take into the lives and minds of some truly brilliant authors from India and South Asia.

 

Michelle D'costa  37:12

And don't forget to keep your love for stories alive for books and beyond.