Category Archives: Article

Surviving Quarter Life

Things you realise by the time you are in your late 20s:

Your hair on one side will always be longer than the other, even if by quarter of an inch, it is irrelevant how awesome the salon is.

Love is important no matter what your take on relationships.

Multiple dating isn’t as thrilling/fun anymore.

You don’t have as many friends as you thought you did when in college and school.

The ones who remain, however, are not going anywhere. Ironically, this is the time you stop using phrases like ‘friendz foreva.’

Your joints will start aching. Yes, it starts that early. Junk-food will not be that easily digestible (or at least not that desirable).

You will either fall asleep way too early or struggle to sleep all night.

Yoga is magic.

You choose juices over Coca-Cola when possible and try to reduce your sugar and bread intake , even if unsuccessfully. Your health and skin aren’t going to take care of themselves.

Bad boys are a thing of the past. You see them for what they are: charming assholes.

Maybe you won’t want marriage and children just yet but you realise the importance of having a partner who understands you and supports you.

You become more comfortable with your body.

You know that you can’t change the world. Anger gives way to resignation. Maybe you will still keep trying in small little ways even now but you realise you aren’t going to witness the next classless revolution.

Family is important, whether it is the one you were born with or the alternate ones you create.

At the same time, aloneness isn’t so bad.

Birthdays are not so important anymore. Birthday parties even more so.

You will finally be able to say NO when you disagree.

You will hate your job everyday or, if you are lucky, on some days. It doesn’t get better. Run if you really hate it before it is too late to reboot. Or else just remember, pay checks are the goal.

Important lesson you will learn:
Medical insurance is important and so is travel insurance.

Hope for the best but also know not everything will happen for you. Love without being afraid. Have all the sex that you can. Travel more than you can.

Don’t worry too much. It is not midlife yet 😉

Carpe Diem!!

The Brothers: Bhai/ Bhaiyya/ Bhaiyyaji

Today is the festival of Raksha Bandhan in India, a festival where sisters tie Rakhi to their brothers and the brothers in turn shower them with gifts and, as the name of the festival suggests, promise to protect them. The patriarchal premise might be deplorable but the spirit of the festival where the relationship between siblings is celebrated is fun and as much as it doesn’t necessarily need to be celebrated there is no harm in it either. This led me to think about the different kinds of brothers we have in here.

First on my list is the ‘bhaizoned’ bhaiyya. It is similar to being friendzoned but more dangerous for unlike the latter there is no turning back from this one. A friendzoned friend still has some hopes for a better future but once a bhai is a bhai forever. If he ever tries to move out of the zone he runs a very real risk of becoming a social pariah- the chastisement for disrespecting the pure bond and jokes that never leave incest out of the equation. This, I first saw in school. One day in the whole year where girls ran after boys who liked them with the magic bands. It is the exact opposite of Valentine’s Day and every other day. Many of them would refuse to be bhaizoned by missing classes on that day while some would give in to the pressure and in one day drastically change the nature of their relationship.

In contrast to this forced bhaizoning is the eternal bhaiyya. He is just so sweet, so nice and so helpful that every girl wants to be with him. Somewhere along the line, however, he becomes desexualised and a rakhi becomes the perfect marker to turn it into a bond that lasts forever. He wears more rakhis on his wrist than a shop display and has all the other guys wondering how/why he does it. Soon, however, the mocking jibes coming his way turn into pleas for advice.

The third kind of bhaiyya I discovered when I first came to North India. Whether or not you know Hindi here, you have to know “bhaiyya chaloge?”, “bhaiyyaji kitna?”, “bhaiyya itna!” apart from the cuss words. Everyone from the rickshaw puller to the auto driver to vegetable vendor to the garbage collector to the butcher is a bhaiyya or a bhaiyyaji. In this case, none of the other connotations of the word bhaiyya apply. It’s a word whose signifier is no longer attached to the signified. You don’t know his name or care to know it, you might not even see him ever again and least of all want to tie a Rakhi to him. Oh, and if it’s a woman then she is a didi.

Another kind that has been popularized by Bollywood is the big boss/brother of the criminal world, respectably referred to as Bhai or Anna (the Tamil/Kannada equivalent of the Hindi bhai). He is either the Robinhood: a golden hearted goon with an elevated sense of honour to whom hundreds of girls go to tie Rakhi and there are idols in slums for him or he is an all black, no shades of grey, megalomaniac whose only pleasures in life comes from murder, rape and /or extortion and having a trademark demonic laughter to mark every bad deed. Here, Bhai literally means a goonda and no one wants to tie him a Rakhi.

And then we come to the brother-brothers. They can be really sweet and love you unconditionally or incredibly protective and suspicious or ready to fight with you over anything from leftover food in the refrigerator to the television remote or they can be all or some mixed into one. These are the bhais who don’t need to be tied a rakhi to stay brothers much like some never really become brothers even if you tie them one.

And last but not the least, something that the festival ignores, is the awesome bonding between siblings of the same gender. Happy Rakhi folks!

Rakhi

Photo © Meha Pande.