After returning from school, Sanvi came running to me and said “Mumma you know RakshaBandhan is near, our teacher told us in the class”. Smilingly, looking at her, I said, “Yes, it’s near” . She asked, “Mumma, but what is it exactly?” I told her “Rakshabandhan is a festival to express gratitude to your brothers for being there always and protecting you”. She asked softly, “ What about girls, like us , Mumma, who don’t have brothers? ” I was shaken by what she has just said. In her innocence she has hit those strings of my heart which could never carry a melodious tune, for I didn’t have a brother either!
I was lost in my own thoughts when she asked again. I told her this day a girl can tie a Rakhi on the wrist of not only her brother, but just anyone to whom she feels a close bond and wants promise of security from. It’s a symbol of the love, respect and honour that brothers & sisters have for each other. As this festival celebrates the beautiful relationship of brother and sister, it also has a beautiful meaning behind it – a promise that a brother gives to his loving sister that he will be there with her in come what may be the situation, and he will always protect her. In this way, relationships are strengthened, solidified and purified. Then I told both of my girls the stories behind Rakshabandhan, Draupadi & Krishna, Humayun & Karmavati and how it became a tradition to celebrate this auspicious day every year.
Babies don’t quite understand what all the excitement in the air is about, perhaps that was the reason why my younger one was happy listening stories while Sanvi was trying to question and analyse! She asked “So,that means there is no one to protect us !” I said ‘ No, you shouldn’t even feel like that. You have a brother, your first cousin, whom you love to pieces, then why say like this. He is there to protect both of you always! ” She said, “ But he stays too far, how will he protect us?” Her questions were getting difficult to answer but then I said, “The girls and women who don’t have brothers or can’t be with them tie the Rakhi around deities.If you want to tie the Rakhi personally, you can tie it to Lord Visnu’s wrist. ” I felt she must be satisfied now. After a pause, she said “ No, God is everybody’s and is not a person in real. I want someone uniquely mine and whom I can tie a Rakhi on the wrist”. She continued, “Can’t I tie it on my sister’s hand? Tell me, Can I ?”
For a moment I was speechless. She has made me question how hollow our traditions are? Why in India festivals are so gender based, be it Karvachauth or Rakshabandhan? Why is our culture so biased? Why? Why can’t we be equally grateful for our sister? Isn’t she someone we can depend upon? Why can’t we just celebrate a Siblings day?
She asked me again, “Can we both tie it on each other’s hand? Please Mumma , pleaseeeeeeeee.” and now , a stronger determined me said, “Yes, this time you will. We’ll personalise our celebration. Let’s go to shop for Rakhi this evening itself”. Her face shined, her eyes twinkled and she danced with joy saying , “Yes, I’ll also tie Rakhi, Yes, Hurray!!!”
I was elated watching their happiness. No offence to the festival and its tradition, but it often makes us sisters with no brothers, left out.
Let us spread Happiness…Let us protect Smiles… Let us spread love this lovable day !!!
Happy Rakshabandhan to all !!! 🙂