I have a brother! I tell people that I have no brother but three lovely sisters. When I say “I have a brother,” then that can be confusing to some people. Let’s keep it this way: he, in fact, is a cousin, born from my mom’s youngest sister. I, yet, like to call him my little brother. Calling him brother gives me an immense sense of belonging and closeness. The term “cousin” is either nonexistent or irrelevant in the culture that I come from. The only word that can substantiate my love for him is “Bhai” – a little brother. It is, thus, outrageously unthinkable for me, in my part, to call him my cousin.
I am not saying that you can’t have a great relationship with your cousin. I know some people who enjoy a great relationship with their cousins. They have their cousins best friends and secret keepers. The relational word “cousin” reminds us of a fact though that we are related to each other but are not brothers. So what I am saying is that identifying him as a cousin undermines the intimacy I seek in our bonding. I prefer brother to cousin which sounds warm and also lessens aloofness in a relationship.
After all those years, I found my brother in Facebook couple years ago. Last time I saw him was when he was just around one year old, and his biological mom was still alive. I still remember he was wriggling on his mom’s lap while she was having lunch in our youngest uncle’s house.
A year followed, I heard from my mom that she got quite sick. That same year, my mom lost her youngest sister to some sort of a strange illness. As she explained, blood would come along with tears from my aunt’s eyes during her illness. At the end, she lost her battle to this unnamed illness. Her newborn baby and two toddler daughters were orphaned in this cruel world. Afterward, one of my brother’s aunts took him home, since she had no child of her own with her husband. They brought him up as their own. Ever since I did not get to see him growing up. I heard about him from his sisters or my uncles whenever I visited them every now and then, but I never met him.
When I first saw him as a grown up young man, I felt the urge to contact him. We befriended through the social network. I kept tabs on him, as I wanted to see how he was doing with his life. I could tell from his pictures on social media that he has grown taller than me and wiser as well. I learned about him getting married to a beautiful bride and settling after coming back from abroad.
This past February, my brother-in-law and I got to meet him in person; sit beside and talk about our lives and got to know him little better. I was seeing him after two and half decades. We went to visit him without any prior notice just two days before my outbound flight from Kathmandu. To his utter surprise, we showed up at his house and gave him a holler. It was quite a surprise for him to see me. He did not even know that I was in Nepal. No introduction needed other than exchanging few words on how I found out his place. Our reunion had materialized at this point.
I saw my brother again with his new beautiful bride, adopted parents, and gave him a “bear hug”. That was a sweet moment that I had been waiting for so long to happen. I would not trade that moment for anything else, because once we were lost but now I have found my brother.