Rakshabandhan


( 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 )

14 thoughts on “Rakshabandhan

  1. Nalini Srivastava

    It prompted me a quick visit to my childhood, such beautiful description and such a hard hitting, honest twist in the end.Perfect read on the day 9f the festival.

    Reply
  2. Chaitali

    Your portrayal of the festival is so accurate and sensitively done. It took me back to my past. Well written!!!

    Reply
    1. Amita Paul

      Thank you so much, Chaitali. The older one grows the more one has to look back upon. The world changes at a rapid pace these days.

      Reply
  3. Brindha Vinodh

    A beautiful description of the bond between a sister and a brother. So evocative and nostalgic and the last few lines are so apt in the current scenario.

    Reply
  4. Amita Paul

    Thank you so much , Brindha Vinodh. Yes, the contrast between the present and the past is what inspired me to write this poem. So many things have changed around us as we have grown up and grown older , and the world has become digitised.

    Reply

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