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Originally published on August 21, 2010
Rakhi is the purest bond of love and chaste between a brother and a sister. It is one of the deepest and noblest of human emotions. ‘Raksha Bandhan’ or ‘Rakhi’ is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding by tying a holy thread ‘Rakhi’ by a sister around the wrist of her brother. This thread pulsates with sisterly love and joyous sentiments and prayers for a long life for her brother. It means ‘a bond of protection’ and is a promise from a brother’s side that he will always be there for her sister. Rakhi is celebrated with much adulation and love in our country like any other festival.
It’s one of those festivals which Indians wait for eagerly. Every sister waits jovially through-out the year for this festive season- “when would Rakhi come?” So that she can choose that perfect Rakhi which would look the best on her brother’s wrist. And so does every brother looks forward to heartily.
The relation which a brother and sister share is one of its kinds. It changes as you grow up over the years. Fights in siblings especially among a brother and a sister are ever famous. But what’s the fun if the sister doesn’t say- “why does my brother tease me so much?”, “why is he irritating me so much?”, “why does he get everything from mom and dad?”, “he is ever so busy with his soccer and cricket ball”, “why is he always pulling my hair and making fun of my barbies?”. It’s the same for the brothers, they would be like “why is she not retorting to me?”, “why isn’t she hitting me back?”, “she is so boring”, “she is always busy with her girlie talks and Barbie dolls”. But in all this small fights there is that deep hidden love which just deepens day by day.
Our approach towards the festival also changes as we grow up. As that 5 year old, I wanted to tie Rakhi to as many guys around as I would get lots of gifts and chocolates then! But as we grow up and experience life, we realise how important this festival is in a sister’s life. Even for a brother who might be teasing her all his life but as and when he grows up she is the person he loves the most. He certainly realises the responsibilities that come with that thread on his wrist. No matter which part of the country or even abroad your brother is in, a sister would always try her best to send Rakhi to him. So that even if he is not with her then, he can relive the beautiful memories of the time that he has shared with her beloved sister.
We also tie a Rakhi on the wrists of close friends. It’s celebrated with someone whom you feel you are close to you just as you are to your own brother. Every era in the Indian history is replete with instances describing the brother – sister bonding. In antiquity, the bonding be-tween Lord Krishna and Draupadi is highly celebrated. Lord Krishna saved Draupadi from being disrobed in the court of Duryodhana, which he repaid as a token of love as she had once torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s index finger to stop the flow of blood. This shows that this festival is much more than a blood relation.
Time changes and so does our understanding of such an auspicious relation. From it being limited to borrowing a pencil box, crayons, getting your homework done and sharing your secrets with, it becomes much more! As you grow you have a brother who would rush for you anytime you call him. Whenever you are in some problem you will always find him with you. He is always overprotective of you. Even after a girl gets married and walks into another home it is her brother who will always be there for her. You will have a sister who would al-ways take leave from her office to be at home if you can’t take an off. Despite handling all her family problems she would still take out time to talk to you and to enquire about you. The world might be against you but your sister is always on your side……
Rakhi is a ritual which further strengthens the eternally alive bond of love between brothers and sisters. It’s just a way of showering your love on each other by celebrating it once a year though it’s a bond forever. This beautiful festival undoubtedly is responsible for bringing joy to so many in our mundane lives.
So this Rakhi all the brothers and sisters- “go and have a blast”!! All the sisters- “pick the Rakhi with golden or silver threads, the one which is the most beautifully crafted and em-broidered—the one which would look the best on her brother’s wrist”…..and as for the broth-ers-“a promise that you would always be there for your sister would mean the world to her!!!!!!!!!!!”