( The Protective Bond )
Sponge flower cut outs in pretty pastel colours
With crinkly tinsel centres and tiny plastic pearls
Underpinnned with silver thread twine
How it thrilled my little heart , and his
When I tied the gaudy trinket around his chubby wrist
After placing a careful moist tika
Of turmeric and a few grains of raw rice
Amid the tumbles of curls on his forehead
And then fed him a whole sweet mushy laddoo!
The fancy silk threads sent by post
By cousins from other places were then tied
But my flamboyant Rakhi held pride of place .
Pleased as punch , my little brother ,
Prompted by our parents ,
Handed me the silver coin kept on the thaali
And fed me a laddoo too .
We bowed to the framed paintings of the Gurus
And were hugged by our parents
I was reminded of my duty as the little mother
To my little sibling , who by virtue of his maleness
Was bound to be my lifelong stay and protector,
In which commitment he was solemnly instructed,
The silken thread of the Rakhi
A tangible symbol of our hoped-for bond.
For years , the practice continued
In person or by post .
Today, I make do with a virtual Rakhi, and SMS prayers,
And he, with WhatsApp thanks, and an account to account transfer !
( Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia )
( Glossary :
Rakshabandhan or Rakhi : An Indian Festival celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters.
Gurus : Revered Indian Holy Teachers
Tika : Auspicious Mark on the Forehead
Laddoo : An Indian Sweetmeat )