Rakhi - With a twist
Rakhi - With a twist
My grandma loved telling me stories about her childhood. I especially loved listening to the stories about her brothers. She had TEN brothers and she was the youngest of them all. Why am I thinking about all this? That was because she was going to come today. I wonder how long it will take her to arrive. While I was dreaming about all the stories she would tell me, I heard the front door open.
As soon as I saw her, I jumped off the couch, sprinted up to her and tackled her into a hug. “Uff” she huffed as she regained her balance, “there’s my favourite granddaughter,” she laughed warmly.
“Grandma! You need to tell me so many stories, can you tell me one now, please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top? You need to tell me at least one, can you tell me the one about Rakhi, I love that one, grandma, will you tel-”
“Hush child, I will tell a story but only one,” she stated calmly putting a stop to my rambling. “Yes!” I exclaimed punching my fist up into the air and began my ‘Happy Dance’ before trailing behind my grandma.
She put her luggage in the guest room and sat me on her lap and began to animatedly narrate, the story of how she chased each of her brothers to tie the Rakhi, then chase after them to demand money.
“Is a rakhi that expensive grandma, why did they need to give you money?” I asked curiously. “No dear, money was like a gift of sorts for tying the rakhi,” she told me. “Bu-but why?” I asked. “Well dear, Rakhi is the short form of Raksha Bandhan, here Raksha means protection and Bandhan roughly translates to the word bound or binding, it is a sort of an amulet that sisters tie to their brothers to protect them from any evil influence and anything that might taint their character, it also shows the strength of sibling love and an unspoken promise of protection when needed,” she explained patiently with a look of adoration as she reminds herself of the time with her brothers.
“So the sister ties it to the brother to thank him for protecting her and for his own protection?” I asked wide eyed, that must be some super-powerful amulet to be able to protect from evil I thought to myself. “Yes something like that dear, oh how I wish you had a brother, I would love to share the magical experience with you,” she smiled now lost in her own memories of her past.
“Baby stop pestering grandma she just came home, go complete your homework,” she lectured me sternly. I glanced at my grandma with a hopeful expression, “I am very tired dear, why don’t you come back after completing your homework?” my grandma reasoned apologetically.
Dejected I stormed towards my math homework. My happiness replaced with my hatred towards math. “What kind of teacher gives ten-year-olds such hard questions, I bet even my sixteen-year-old sister could not solve them,” I exclaimed to myself.
I began my homework, I was writing whatever number I saw fit, I way almost midway through it when my sister sat beside me and peeped at my paper and laughed. Before I could give a snarky comment she asked me, “Do you know the multiplication table of five?” “Of course I do, I am not that dumb!” I exclaimed angrily. “Then what is five times four” she asked me. “Um twenty?” I replied worriedly afraid I messed up. “Why yes it is, now since the question is fifty times four, you just need to place a zero next to the answer you got,” she explained calmly. “Oh so the answer is two hundred?’’ I asked. “Yes! How on earth did you get negative two hundred and seventy-five anyway?” she smirked amused. “Ugg,” I huffed in mock annoyance, she then explained all the questions to me and I actually understood them. I suddenly remembered how grandma’s brothers would help her with her studies as she was not allowed to study because she was a girl. She told me how she would bring them water and snacks as a thank you.
My sister was about to get up and go back to her work. I got up hurriedly “Wait! Jus – just stay here for a second I will come back” I scrambled to the kitchen to get her a glass of her favorite juice. I will serve it to her in the nice tumbler, I thought. As I was pouring the juice into the glass, it slipped out of my hand and fell with a thud.
My sister came rushing to me and ordered me to stay still, as she picked up the glass pieces. I was so worried that she will yell at me that I tried to run back to my room but I slipped and scraped my knee as I tried not to face plant on to the floor. My sister gingerly picked me up, princess style and set me up on the bathroom counter, as she wordlessly started tending to my wounds. She even put on my favorite band-aid. “I am so sorry,” I whimpered ashamed of the mess I caused.
“It’s all right baby, just try to be careful next time,” she placed her palms on my cheeks and pressed a kiss to my fore head. Before going back to clean up the mess I caused.
This is exactly why I don’t need a brother, my sister helps me and caters to all my needs. That’s when a plan started formulating in my brain. I rushed to my grand ma, “grand ma can you tell me how a Rakhi looks like?” I asked sweetly. “Hmm, it is a thread which is adorned with beads, tinsel, pearls and things similar to that”, she told me energetically. I guess she wasn’t tired after all, it was just a ploy to get me to do my homework I thought. ‘Stop getting distracted’ I scolded myself.
I went to my mother and explained my plan, she beamed at me adoringly and nodded approvingly at my plan. The rest of the day I was busy in preparation as I wanted to make the most beautiful Rakhi ever.
The next day I woke up before anyone, I even woke up before the Sun, and quickly got dressed. I got the thaali with kumkum, rice grains, my sister’s favorite sweet Gulab Jamun and of course the Rakhi. When everything was perfect, I rushed to my sister’s room, by then my mother was also awake and started doing the pooja with my thaali. I jumped on to my sister bed and she woke up with a fright, heard laboured breath, sweat and wide eyed. Before she could roll back into her bed I forced her to get dressed.
She gave me a dirty look for waking her up from her slumber but got dressed never the less. I grabbed her arm and hurriedly pulled her into the living room, where my mother placed the thaali after completing the pooja.
She looked at the thaali, then at my face curiously, then back at the thaali before her face lit up in recognition. I forced her onto a chair as I put the kumkum on her forehead with rice. She was smiling at me as I tied the Rakhi to her wrist, “what is all this?” she asked softly as her eyes started to water. “You are the best sister in the whole entire world, why do I need a brother when I have such an amazing sister” I exclaimed.
She pulled me into a bear hug as she cried gently on my shoulder. “Did I offend you?” I asked her worriedly. “No silly, these are tears of happiness, I promise I will always be there and always stand by your side. I will protect you to the best of my abilities,” she promised me as she cupped my cheeks and laid her forehead on mine.
From that day onward Rakhi became a part of our lives, and my grandma was ecstatic to see it being celebrated again.
Rakhi is a celebration of sibling love, devotion and a promise of protection why must it matter if the one protecting is the brother or the sister. Why must it matter if it is celebrated between a brother and a sister, two sisters or two brothers? All that matters is the bond of love that one shares with their sibling and that is the true meaning of Raksha Bandhan.