Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

You are travelling in a train and your co-passengers strike up a conversation with you, and if they happen to be aunty – uncle types, they start asking all sorts of varied details about your family. And if you happen to be travelling from Hyderabad to Vizag, the questions are asked in even more detail in the hope of finding some tenuous connection (because, you know, all Vizagites know one another) and then bafflingly, delighting in it.

Well, a lot of times when I say I have a sister and no other siblings, they respond with ‘Just two sisters? No brothers?’ in a tone of mingled surprise and pity. Since I also felt sorry for myself for not having a brother and being stuck with a little sister instead, I actually appreciated their sympathy, and vaguely assumed they felt sorry simply because we were missing out on the fun that comes with having a brother. As a natural corollary, I thought they would feel pity and surprise for male siblings without any sisters.

A couple of days ago, I was ruminating over this, and I wondered if my theory that it was equally applicable to male and female siblings was right. So I carried out a small survey – I asked six guy friends and six girl friends, all of whom only had siblings of the same sex, if they were ever met with a ‘Oh! No brothers/sisters?’ in that tone of surprise and pity. All but one of the girls said they had faced this – either very occasionally or several times. Not a single one of the guys said they had faced such a question, and found it rather funny – three of the guys also added that usually there is a sense of appreciation/ envy that it’s just boys (but these guys could very likely be saying that just to irritate me so I won’t really take that into consideration).

Clearly a significant section of middle class (though middle aged / elderly) urban Indians still consider a male child more desirable than a female child (do note that I am just saying preferable – doesn’t mean they don’t want any girl children at all). Not that I’m surprised in the least bit, because there are definite historic, economic and social reasons which have formed this bias, and it’s hard to easily shake off something that has been so ingrained.

So while it is a little sad, it’s not something that makes me particularly surprised or angry or indignant. I just thought it was an interesting snippet, and wanted to share it.

Yeah, that’s all, that is the end of it!

P.S: Do try to come up with some thing more original than 'burn burn burn' if you are going to comment (You know I'm looking at you guys :p)

P.P.S: Just like I predicted, it was a MI – CSK final. I thought MI would win, though I didn’t really care who finally won. Meanwhile, is it just me or is anyone else thoroughly sick of the IPL tamasha and the random, hyper media coverage?


Praveen Kandanala said...

so your question has ulterior motive and wt hell you dont even consider our response for the said motive

R said...

@Praveen: Hehe! No ulterior motive, just satisfying my curiosity. And as for your response, I'm considering the main answer, not the additional information :p

Apoorv Gawde said...

oh you don't have brothers kya? tch tch... how do you manage life in general then? Must be tough.

R said...

@Apu: Hehe, I know, whatodo, we are very unfortunate...Amu too :p

Apoorv Gawde said...

Oh paapa, I am glad to see that at least you have come to terms with your 'situation'.

Preeti said...

Arrived here from Chinkurli's blog! Interesting space you have here! :)
Will add you on my Reader! Totally agree about your hypothesis. I also have 1 sister and incidentally, I received the reaction which you wrote about on the same Hyd-Vizag route. Typical, huh?

R said...

@Apu: Sigh! When life gives me lemons, I make lemonade. :p

@Preethi: Hey, thanks for dropping in! And really funny you should get that reaction on the Hyd - Vizag route too, I guess its a thing Telugus have ;-)

Da Underdog said...

We are two braderz .. and I missed having a sis I dont how much .. and btw all my relatives did want us to have a Sis ..

And tryna get a lil James Bondish is but Natural to telugus .. they love talk and Gossip .. and they pride themsleves as 'Match makers' too so If u were asked about a Brotha .. good chance they have a Daughter or a girl they know whos come of age .. not 100 % certain though :-)

Lord Bless Us All .. the Vizagites spread like Virus !!!!! Almost everywhere !

And whos the Mallu (Coconut-Oiled) Actress in the Pic ...Ammoo!!

Divya Tanjore said...

Oh God! It felt so good to know that I wasn't the only one who has been facing this question!

Infact I faced this question zillion times over and over again. One time I got so pissed off with an "aunty" I literally yelled at her saying "Vunte cheppe daani kada, dachannu kada".

Apologies to whosoever that "aunty" was! :P

R said...

@Da Underdog: Well, if people thought you should have a sis, you are certainly in the minority.

And you are right...people from Vizag are EVERYWHERE. And because its the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, you run into each othe at the randomest of places!

And take back that mallu comment RIGHT NOW! :p

@Divya: Ha, you aren't the only one. Happens to all of us :-( I cant stop laughing at your response to the aunty though. You needn't be sorry...she deserved it! ;-)

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