Childhood memories play a major role in infusing us with a sense of well being. Adult life can never compare with the simplicity and innocence inherent in those years.
My brothers are much older than me, which was the sole cause of me being the distraction they had at their disposal whenever boredom set in. Casually walk into my room, observe nonchalantly while I focussedly sharpen my prized possessions, my pencils, line them in my box, size-wise, arrange and re-arrange, then they’d make their move. One by one my pencil points were cold bloodedly snicked off. While I let out a loud wail, they would walk off smirking, gleefully, congratulating themselves, ‘mission accomplished’ writ clearly on their otherwise deceptively guileless demeanour.
“Rakhi” though was keenly awaited. Under the sharp supervision of my parents there was no way they could escape giving me that which had been promised. Needless to add, left to their whim, I’d probably have to chase them the year round for my gift.
It would be a rare occasion though for me to actually spend the money given to me on Rakhi .Either it was blackmailed off me in lieu of silence over some harmless play which was blown out of proportion to legitimise their criminal intent. Or, manipulated emotionally through sentimental stories of ‘being-broke-and-girlfriends-birthday’ sobbings.
Its been quite a while since I have personally tied ‘rakhi’ to them. Physical distance being the culprit here. However the significance of the day can never diminish. India has a repertoire of these quaint traditions, which were purposedly meant to add color, zing and festivity to life as also enhance the underlying cause ,that of perpetuating love between siblings.
For the uninitiated a piece quoted on the tradition..
“Rakshabandhan is a very special Indian festival, the celebration of the special bond between a brother and a sister. Sisters tie a special band on their brothers’ wrist on the day of Rakhi as a mark of affection. This thread, which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments, is rightly called the ‘Rakhi’. It is a way of telling your brother that you’ll never forget how he teased you about everything, yet fought with those who spoke a single word against you and how you bid him farewell with a smile, and only he saw those tear drops in your eyes.
Reach out to your brother on the day of Rakhi with a very special loving message and a beautiful Rakhi.
Around mid-August, on Shravan Purnima, Hindus all over celebrate Raksha Bandhan. “Raksha” means protection, “bandhan” means bound or binding. The festival is also known as Balev.
As per the traditions, the sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis. She worships the deities, ties Rakhi to the brother(s) and wishes for their well being. The brother in turn acknowledges the love with a promise to be by the sisters’ side through the thick and thin and gives her a token gift. Raksha Bandhan tightens the bong of love between the sister and brother.
The rich Indian Mythology provides a religious reason to celebrate the day in a specific way. Many epics are related to the day and the origin of Raksha Bandhan. The festival finds a mention in most of the epics and its origin can be traced back to the mythological Pouranik times.
The practice of tying thread was prevalent among the Rajputs and our history is full of instances related to the significance of this tradition. At the time of war when the brave Rajput soldiers prepared to go to the battle field, the women folk followed the ritual of tying a thread around their wrist after applying a dash of vermilion powder on their forehead. This was considered a sign of good omen and the ladies believed that it would protect their men from the enemy’s blow and bring them victory. Today Rakhi is tied on the wrists of soldiers by children and women all around the country filling the soilders with the zest to protect them against the dangers of the enemy.
Rakshabandhan if taken in true sense has a much broader perspective, the festival encompasses true sense of peace and brotherhood. The values propagated by the occasion if inculcated by all human beings can bring the much-needed relief from the ongoing violence and mistrust.