He had been in love with her for years. He spoke to her, hung out with her, they’d been friends for long. And then suddenly, as casually as she could, she dropped a bomb on his head. ‘Arey, you’re like my brother’.
Wait, what? Brother??
How the fuck?
I have never understood it.
If you’re friendly with a girl, and it is clear that there is nothing going to happen on the evil desires front, you suddenly become a bhai, a brother.
Why do girls do this? Is there some sort of a threat? That by making someone your bhai, you are ticking one creep off the list?
I have asked women this through the years, and the most common response that I got is this:
‘It’s easy for you to say this, as you’re a (terribly attractive, Narkasura in bed but at the same time extremely good at heart and caring) guy in India. As girls, we are always on our toes. Something might happen at any given point of time. What’s the harm in making someone your brother? Why do you have to keep making issues out of stuff like this?’
My response has always been an exasperated sigh. Seriously? We speak about women standing up for themselves, being strong and independent. And on a daily, social level, one has to make random guys a ‘brother’?
I don’t get it. What is wrong with friends? Just being friends. You are both of different genders, and are not romantically involved, and since we don’t live in caves and club animals for dinner, you can easily be friends who do nothing harmful to each other. Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with us?
But no. The proclamation will fall. While growing up, almost every girl I knew had a bunch of loonies who she would call her bhai. I have always wondered if they constantly feel a threat. That there might be guys waiting to pounce on them, and the only way to fend them off is by calling them a brother.
I have wracked my brain about this for years.
And found my favourite culprit for everything wrong with our society today.
For years, Bollywood has been propogating the idea that love starts from friendship and ends in marriage. Who can forget that legendary line in Maine Pyar Kiya, where Mohnish Behl tells a young Salman Khan this:
As if to make the point more clear, the director made Salman Khan wear this cap through much of the film.
Even today, there are three Facebook pages with the name ‘Ek Ladka Aur Ladki Kabhi Dost Nahi Ban Sakte’.
Then, there was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Where an English teacher is asking the class innocously what they think love means. What she doesn’t know is that sitting amongst the students is the guy who taught heavenly bodies to fall in love and bang each other. This resulted in the Big Bang, after which our solar system was born.
Yes, that guy.
SHAHRUKH FUCKING KHAN.
The teacher asks the class what is love. Shah Rukh Khan tells the class that Love is Friendship. While he was making cheesy moves on the new girl in class, we Indians took that shit seriously.
What the fuck does that even mean? He was clearly wanting to get into her pants, and since they had just become friends, was trying to act mushy.
Believing that Love is Friendship because of that movie is absurd.
Extending Extrapolating that logic to other films, the logic is the same as:
Probably the next in the line of culprits is the system of Rakshabandhan that we followed in school. I don’t understand the relevance of it. Nor do I know why girls have to tie rakhis to boys in school.
And strangely, it was a matter of pride. The guy with the most rakhis (mostly those cute, fair guys who would later grow up to look like albino salamanders) strutted around in them like peacocks, while the others just had one rakhi on their hands, attached to Indian culture with a red and golden gossamer.
What is the point of the whole exercise? After thinking about it for months, I realised it is for that one moment in the future when the girl who tied that rakhi, would be rescued by her rakhi brother.
(EXT. DARK NIGHT, LONELY STREET. A GIRL IS WALKING ALONE).
A man has been following her for a while. When she turns a corner, he runs and holds her. Turning her around, the girl is shocked to see who it is – Rakesh.
‘Let me go’, she says, ‘don’t you remember, I tied you a rakhi in Class 3?’
‘Arey pagli’, the man says, ‘that wasn’t me. I got a rakhi from Anjali, your friend. I still visit her sometimes…’
That’s the only reasoning I could come up with for the practice of girls tying rakhis to boys in school. And as if all this is not enough, when people grow up and can think for themselves, they choose to continue with this regressive habit of making guys their bhai.
Rakhi Bhai is the term. ‘Woh mera rakhi bhai hai’. Has it ever happened to me? Yes. Once.
There was a pretty girl that I liked. I knew that I stood no chance, but hope keeps man alive. So I pursued her hopelessly, till one day she casually told the others in the group that I was ‘her brother’. I gave her the expression that Sunny Deol gives to the Pakistani army, and left the scene in a hurry. It has never happened to me since, and I make it a point to stay away from girls who indulge in Rakhibhai-giri.
Well, fuck you. He’s not your rakhi bhai. He’s just a friend. There’s no point in drawing imaginary lines in your head in a society where there are already giant red lines drawn every year.
If he’s a friend, learn to accept him as your friend. Don’t give me that bhai-why bullshit.