And that is what we keep working at, if we are not regressing or stagnating into ruts of roles carved out by some faceless society.
Today is a day when back home sisters tie a thread of cotton on the wrist of their brothers. This custom keeps alive a faith that a woman’s prayers will keep a man alive in the battlefield. In return, the brother safeguards the sister from the evils of the society – ironic, isn’t it? Are our societies more treacherous than the war-fields?? Think of it.
I have a lot of time to think today because the brothers to whom I would tie rakhi are not in my town. Then my sons do not have a ‘real’ sister either, so I was tying rakhi to them as well – but this year both of them are also away from home. I am now also thinking of a couple of wonderful men whom I met either as a classmate or as my husband’s friends but eventually came to wish well for them just as I do for my brothers or sons.
Well, just as one can start from any relation – brother, cousin, son, friend – and travel to a juncture where one wants to push one’s energies to blow the powerful winds of destiny in their favor, I feel the ultimate test of the strength of the bond is not in documenting the success of your wish or his. It is in the knowledge that whatever point of relating we started with, we evolved and grew to be friends.
When this realization welled up in my heart, I also noted some kind of light lurking around.
First – for many relations, we have no choice – like brothers and sisters can’t choose each other, or son and mother can’t. But since we started out of a biological or social reality or inevitability, do we have to forever be confined to it?
If I am older by 7 or 9 years than my brother, do I have to have that gap haunt me for ever? And forever so with my sons? They grow and evolve and so do I. If we cannot tie the threads that safeguard the relationship, will it not be weak? The thread that will renew the bonds would be the possibility, opportunity and openness that can allow that brother, son or friend to grow our of that label, be a full-fledged human that he is and then relate to me as a full human I am.
And I would want to do the same towards him. I might be his sister, mother or whatever, but when I relate to him, I want to relate as a person. Whole, thinking, feeling, expressing and sharing person.
Such a pleasure that it can be, and yet such a daunting task! Can I take my relation with my son to a level where he and I can be friends without forgetting that we are mother-and-son? If I succeed, my life indeed will be a rainbow where the light of friendship falls on various relationships and they shine in their own way, with their own hues given by the substance they have.
This can be extended to all relationships.. I think that some never make it, some die an infantile death, some freeze as monuments from the past. Only some relations make it to living maturity in the present where the people relating are friends..