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JAMBA – The Joint Family

JAMBA-The Joint Family is a book by Sriram Balasubramanian that dissects the generational changes in Indian society funnily. City Express chats with the author, whose book was recently launched in India. A Tamil translation is on the cards.

When and what made you decide to write a book on the joint family system?

I decided to write this book in 2011 and it took me 8-10 months to complete it. I noticed that modern day India, spurred by globalisation, was ignorant about the great familial traditions of the country. I felt that while the young were becoming global, they were perhaps ignoring the local aspects of life.

A few incidents in the book that happened in real life with your family members

Well, these are incidents which happen in every other Tambrahm family perhaps in Madras. The grandparents warming to the NRI returned cousins, the convergence of mamas and mamis to discuss if America was bliss, the odd rebel in the family who lives life his own way, the real good and likeable girl…

Any lost tradition when it comes to joint families that you can think of?

I wouldn’t call it tradition but the summer get togethers with cousins was a great part of my childhood experience. The thinnai that some old houses in streets of Mylapore would have is also something that comes straight to the memory too.

Why Jamba? what does it mean?

The name resonates a central character in the book who holds forth the entire family and this character plays an important role.

What next?

I am working on an international non-fiction book with a Norwegian author on the World Chess championships. I have plans for another novel, perhaps sometime this year or early next year.


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