Why Don’t Indian Families Say “I Love You”?

Modern Family

Why Don’t Indian Families Say “I Love You”?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


t home, my family never said “I love you” to each other. But growing up, I easily understood the sentiment outside. I realised I found it easy to say the three words to people whom I had a certain emotional distance with. But to those I truly, madly, deeply cared about, the words didn’t come easy.

For a long time, I didn’t make much of my family’s inability to express themselves until I attended a friend’s wedding a few weeks back. She has the quintessential Indian family — loud and affectionate uncles and aunts, a horde of cousins who clearly love each other, and old relatives who sang, danced, laughed, and remembered my friend’s younger days with a touching fondness. What I was witnessing in front of my eyes was a group of people who didn’t just love each other, but also expressed it in physical, verbal, and emotional gestures. I don’t know if it was the wedding air that was making me vulnerable, but I felt so overwhelmed that these moments of affection left me choked.