Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Sibling-hood redefined

A few weeks back, my kid cousin listed me as ‘Sister’ on FB. I got very excited, and fondly accepted and reciprocated the gesture. Today, when I was snooping around her profile (shameless that I am), I figured out that she has listed almost 10 people as sisters and brothers.

Other than feeling a tad disappointed that I am not an exclusive ‘sister’ (Leos love exclusivity, or so someone tells me), I almost immediately got transformed back to my college days.

We were fresh out of school then, reveling in the new found freedom that only a Government college can proffer. There were no 8.30 a.m. prayer sessions, no first bell and second bell, no full day attendance. We could bunk classes, or just sit around and sleep. No one gave a friggin’ damn.

But, for many of us poor kids from girls-only schools, the freedom came with a huge price tag. And that was to live in peace and harmony with those monstrous beings called boys. At least that was how the 16-something never-been-friends-with-boys* me chose to categorize them then.

Nah! I am exaggerating. You have sure heard of that whole adrenalin pumping thingy associated with adolescence. It is not all over-rated. It actually used to happen, in fair frequencies and adequate quantities too.

It was quite a big deal to converse with a guy. There used to be a sense of accomplishment around such interactions, though paltry and restricted to answering questions bordering along the lines of “Do you have all the notes of all the Data Structure classes ever conducted in the history of this college?”

As the terms went by and the data structures graduated to algorithms and the algorithms to dynamic programming, the friendships happened too. The friendships were funny though. The minute a guy and a girl became close enough, they would term it a brother-sister relationship. Even if they did not announce it so, their associates would discuss very authoritatively on the pure ‘siblingy’ relationship evident between them.

There were girls who tied rakhis on their ‘brothers’ hands and then started going around with them. There were guys who publicly proclaimed who their ‘sisters’ were and then proposed to them. I found it hilarious then. Well, I find it amusing even now.

What kind of society produces humans who are scared to acknowledge a thing called ‘friendship’ between man and woman? What growing-up pressures force people to give a safe label to such a relationship? From where do so many of us get the idea that it might actually be wrong to get overtly friendly with a person of the opposite gender.

So what if it does not remain just friendship in some cases. To me, that sounds much healthier and more logical than having an entire world of brothers / sisters.

* I had exactly one male friend before I went to college. Weird? Blame the same-gender school :P


Shreya said...

Haha. I abs agree. Hated the whole brother-sister thing at the time.

Uma said...

If you had to go through that, can you imagine what I had to go through?
But having a daughter, I am not sure whether to be happy or sad that things are more liberal now.

Yogesh said...

"those monstrous beings called boys" - Phhbbt!

I went to a co-ed school and we had this starting right from class III or IV - an age where probably we didn't even know what having a gf means :P

Kavity said...

@Shreya: Hate it even now, the 'culture' seems to have passed down to the next generation :(

@Uma: Kids should learn on their own through experience. No?

@Yogesh: Even in a co-ed school?!