Our twisted fam jam

In shops in India, it is common to see employees being called "beta" and being treated... well... not like employees. There are no contracts, no commitments, no labour rights. It's just a facade of family that can be dropped any time the employer chooses without a notice period.

This turning everything into a fake family link is a huge part of why we don't have strong civic systems. Using beta, beti, chacha, in casual conversations with strangers is one thing. But to use "tu bhai hai mera" in professional interactions is a recipe for exploitation.

Something similar also happens when an Olympic medal winner gets called "desh kii beti". Or when a politician gets compared to a father. It's quasi-religious in nature and also affirms cultural stereotypes that get in the way of professionalism and civic equality.

After one gets relegated to the position of a relative (with none of the benefits of being a relative) there can never be enough accountability. I get that being called "bhai" or "beti" can be cute, but the power structures inherent in such nomenclature needs careful observation.

When someone more powerful starts calling you a name that is traditionally reserved for a relative culturally less powerful than you, it should be a red flag. When someone gives themselves the status of a relative who is above you culturally, that too should be a warning signal.

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