by Swatee Jog
There’s something that the world can never match up with India, and that is its penchant to celebrate and cherish all relationships, including siblings. A quick stroll around Maruti Galli and you’ll see stalls after gilded stalls decked up with Rakhis. A bond so sweet and strong, that nothing comes close.
Real brother(s), cousin brother, Rakhi brother, muh-bola brother, Guru-Bandhu, they come in all shades, theses brothers, but the relation doesn’t discriminate ever. In fact, the relationship between a sister and her brother is a mix of contradictions.
We love to hit them, we love to hate them, but we love them too much to do anything about this. Researchers say that siblings learn social behavior and cope with complex people in the outside world through their interactions with the siblings. And like me, if you have grown up in a joint family full of cousins, the more the merrier. Our parents grew up amidst a bunch of siblings of their own and shared their friends among them. So much so, that you really don’t know who is a whose friend. You barely need any friends to spend afternoons with such siblings. Playing, eating, competing, hitting and then missing and caring for each other are just part of normal life.
Sharing comes as a package deals with siblings, but trust me, it’s worth the deal, I’ve been a lone child for 11 years before I got my own brother. It’s a beautiful fabric, this relationship, with patterns as diverse as keeping the last bite of your favorite mithai for him, getting mad to see all your dolls’ eyes gouged out, dropping him to school on your Luna, attending his PTA meetings, feeding him, teaching him, and then the very essential maara-maari, without which a day is never complete. It is then that you realize that a tiny elf of a chap, barely 7 years old, can hit you so hard, that you almost roll in pain. Have you ever been reminded of your flabbergasted parents, seeing you both in fights that never ended? They prayed that you grew up quickly and now miss all that stuff, once you’ve really grown up.
You learn to whistle from him, he painstakingly explains what laps mean in motor racing and to maneuver your own mobile phone. While you join a driving school, he learns it before you could even wink. You get angry and he knows exactly what would make you melt, but he gets angry and you struggle with yourself. Roles quickly get reversed as you get married.
The same brother who rejoiced to claim your big room that had the TV, is now all worried if you don’t call him on long travels. He who fought for small things like the TV remote, now buys you the latest model of gadgets. You tend to fall back on him more often, mostly for emotional support. As parents age and leave a void, siblings tend to fill those to some extent. The same baby brother whom you adored and cradled in your arms now stands tall and fills in for dad.
Why, sometimes, you see traces of your father in him as he cares for you. Brothers are the best gift you could ever ask for, who needs gifts from them? Indians are notorious for never saying to their loved ones how much they love them. This Raksha Bandhan, tell your brother/sister that you do. Life is too short and too valuable to be miserly about love.
Don’t just tie a Rakhi, strengthen the bond.