In Indian society, the children would often stay with their family, even raising their own children in the same house as their grandparents. A daughter who marries will often find herself living in her husband’s parent’s house. It’s quite different from the western culture of typically leaving the house at 18, and finding your independence apart from your family. To be living with your parents at 30 is often looked down upon in western society. In India, to be living with your parents even in your 30s is nothing to be ashamed of, and is even encouraged.
A functional anthropologist might look at how having three generations in the same house serves to provide a means to “nutrition, reproduction, bodily comforts, safety, movement, health, and growth.” As parents, it was their job to take care of their children, and as their children grew up, it became the children’s job to care for their parents. It was expected of the younger generations to take care of the older generation in their old age. Even if for some reason the children moved out, whether it be for marriage, education, job, moving to America, the children were expected to provide money for their parents. The children’s function was to take care of the elderly in their old age, to work to provide a means of safety, health, comfort, and nutrition. From this theory, unlike in western society where independence as an adult is so important to adding value to individual as a person, Indian society teaches that dependence on the family is what adds value and importance to the individual.
An anthropologist focusing on the structural aspect might see it as a model of cognitive structures of how the human mind thinks, where “1) People follow rules, 2) Reciprocity is the simplest way to create social relationships, and 3) a gift binds both the giver and recipient in a continuing social relationship.” In this three generation system, the children follow the rules of obeying parents, with no regard to personal independence from the family unit; the relationship between the older generation and the younger generation is created by the older generation taking care of the young, and the young growing up to take care of the elderly; and the gift of childhood and life given to the younger generation is what binds them to care for the preceding generation. From this theory, independence from your family takes a back burner to make way for familial structure that creates closer family relationships, and by expansion, a stronger family unit.
 http://anthrotheory.pbworks.com/w/page/29531810/Functionalism#KeyTermsandDefinitions, accessed 17 September 2015.
 http://anthrotheory.pbworks.com/w/page/29532639/Structuralism#MainPoints, accessed 17 September 2015.