We were born to Hindu parents. When my brother became a Christian, he moved away from idol worship and symbolic traditions much to the concern of our family. On Raksha Bandhan I was devastated. No rakhi, no rasam. He was an engineering student when I was in class 8. To shield him from too much rejection that was already coming from our family, extended family and clan, I bit off my own hurt.
“We don’t need a day to show I care and will always protect you,” my elder brother assured me.
I found my brother caring for me through all my ups and downs. I found him protecting me from the blows life threw at me. And there were many. He took me out of environments which were fatal for me. My call center job used to crush me but I used to come home to hear him say, “This is going to teach you how to be great in communicating over the phone without meeting the person.” He bought me a DSLR camera years ago and that was how I gradually diverted my troubled mind outwards, towards the wonder of this world. My first backpack from American Tourister was a gift from him and I started travelling from then on until travelling became a part of my life. I stepped into another industry, one step at a time with caution, patience and faith.
After my divorce, I lived with my brother and sister in law for eight years! My daughter’s formative years were spent in their love and care. I remember one of his friends in the congregation tell him about the regret he felt for not having helped his sister, who had undergone a very painful separation and was deeply touched to see my brother share everything with me and my daughter.
My daughter and I were loved by his friends and their families and now our friend circle includes them too.We got to live a very good life style – big homes, good food, entertainment, holidays, good clothes even when we could not afford it, because we were provided for. I remember there was a phase too when my brother would give me bus fare and money for meals daily to cover my expenses in my struggling years and when I had to step out of home to do stories( I used to write in the local daily). It has been years since then and now my daughter and I have found our own ground but it’s also largely because we received all the love and care when it mattered the most. We did not get here on our own miraculously.
Today is Ningol Chakaouba the biggest festival of brothers and sisters in Manipur, where fathers and brothers invite married sisters and their children to a lunch and give gifts to them and the sisters carry fruits and sweets and the ceremonial coconut for father, mother and brothers. I have no where to go today but it does not matter a bit. I have a brother who loves me and that’s all that matters.