I never had a brother in the natural way of things. I am one of four sisters. It never bothered me in the least. But when I came to India and got married, I realized the significance of brothers to Indian women. When a woman is married in India, she is bonded by law and religion to the family of her husband. In-laws in Indian society may be good or bad for a woman, just like everywhere else. But in India in particular, they can be extremely demanding. Of course it varies from region and family to family, but in certain cases, it can even get out of hand.
Sometimes a woman just needs support from someone she can call her own. Her in-laws may be the best in the world, but in order to provide the unqualified support a woman really needs at times, in-laws may have too much interest in keeping the woman in a position which may not be favourable to her. So having supportive natal kin is of great importance. I have a great family and they are literally only a phone call - or a net chat - away, if I need to talk or get some unbiased advice. But they are totally unacquainted with the mentality of Indian people and culture.
When I made Ramana Rajgopaul my rakhi brother (adopted brother) a few short years ago, I got a confidence I hadn't known existed. I felt able to take on my various problems with a more positive attitude. He is always there for me, just to listen if I want to talk. He gives me unbiased advice if I need it and Ramana doesn't mince words. He tells it like it is and that too with absolutely no diplomacy. Direct and to the point. And I absolutely love him for it. He is a wonderful uncle to my kids and although, until date, our relationship is virtual, having met online and continuing to communicate online as he lives in a totally different area of India to me, I am confident that we will meet one day and that we will get on like a house on fire.
Until the day we meet in person and I can tie the rakhi on personally, I send my rakhi by courier and our communications are by telephone and internet.
Thank you, Ramana, for being a wonderful brother to me and for just being there. I look forward to meeting you in person one day.
Here's a photo of the rakhi I sent Ramana this week. He's wearing the rakhi in the picture, although he's not actually visible here. He's posted about it too, and you can read the post here.