Yesterday, 30/09/2004, was Raksha Bandhan. Without a doubt, it is one of the sweetest festivals on the Indian calendar. It is the day on which a sister ties a band on her brother’s wrist, to remind him that it is his duty to protect her.
My memories of Raksha Bandhan go back a long ways. From ever since I remember my little sister would faithfully tie that thread on my wrist and I would give her a sweet in return.
My parents, from day 1, made sure that I was special to my siblings. “Chetta”, elder brother in Malayalam, was more than just a bigger sibling, my parents made sure that I was their hero. Today when I look back at my life I wonder how much I did to earn the love and hero-worship they bestowed on me.
Deep within myself I know that I was not worthy of even an iota of that worship. Too many times have I not lived up to the pedestal that they put me on.
Its only when you move away from your siblings that you realize just how much you miss them. I hear stories of siblings cheating each other and I find it difficult to reconcile such stories. In our family, we faced the challenges of life head on knowing fully well that no matter what, there are two people on this planet who will stand by us in any and every thing we do.
When I informed my parents of my intention to marry Sumi and they told me I couldn’t, it was my brother and sister who stood by me. To their credit, they never stood against my parents, they just stood by me. I think that’s really what go me through those times when I felt all alone, the knowledge that Vijay and Tessy were with me.
The image of my pony tailed chubby sister waiting for me to hold out my wrist so she could tie the Rakhee, with my brother standing next to me, is an enduring image. Unfortunately, there is no photograph that has captured that moment.
Today she is in Bahrain and yet remembers to send us our rakhees every year. We speak to each other each year on this day. Not because it is the day that reminds us of our relationship, but because this day brings back memories of days gone by, when the only roles we had were of child and sibling. To a time less complicated and more innocent.