If you are a pair of sisters and grew up in a small town, or even big for that matter, you have been asked this question at least once -- "Sirf 2 behene hi ho? Koi bhai nahi hai?"
The worst part about it is that as a child, you have no idea why you're being asked this absurd question. Is it not normal to have just a sister? Does not having a brother make my family unusual?
To make matters worse, Raksha Bandhan was celebrated like it's the only festival that we need in our life after Diwali. But here we were, two sisters sans a brother and no one to tie a rakhi to.
But society made us feel like we are missing out on something; Society, not us, not my family.
That is when my mom's friend told her to send me and my sister to her house every year for Raksha Bandhan so that we could tie rakhi to her son.
At first, the idea seemed quite pleasant. For a six-year-old, all I related with the festival was the gifts and that's what we started getting every year.
But I can totally recall the awkwardness that my sister and I faced every single year -- Walking up to their house to become a part of a festival that we have nothing to do with, we knew we didn't fit in.
On top of it, it's not like he already didn't have sisters of his own. So, every year, we would wait for our turn on the side while his actual sisters tied him rakhis.
To be honest, every year, all I wanted to do was just get the fuck out of there and go home. No, seriously, who wants to be the outsider at a family event? Not me!
The intention behind this whole shenanigan which went on for years was basically so that my sister and I don't feel 'left out'. I'm sure it came from a good place but now when I think of it, I have some concerns.
First, the very obvious question -- Why do we need a brother to celebrate this festival? Secondly, even if you did need a brother and we didn't have one, how was that a problem?
There are a lot of things and relationships people don't have in their lives by default and nothing can be done about it. But why was it such a big deal that people started pitying us?
I never felt the need for a brother because I never had one. You don't know the dynamics of that relationship and it's not like your life isn't complete. My life wasn't missing out on anything; people just assumed that having a brother is something I needed.
Also, my sister and I did not need to be paraded around someone else's house just to celebrate a festival that originates from a flawed idea in the first place.
It wasn't like I shared a brother-sister relationship with that boy. The only time I ever spoke to him was during Raksha Bandhan and we barely knew each other personally.
How does that fulfil the purpose of having a brother? As far as I know, Raksha Bandhan is not about tying a rakhi on a random boy's hand and getting a gift in return. But that's what we did for years without ever questioning how we feel towards it.
This thought had never crossed my mind until now but now that it has, I have a request -- Don't make your kids feel like what they have isn't enough; Don't tell them their life isn't what society considers normal.