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Happy Rakshabandhan

I woke up to my morning cup of coffee and had just settled down to read the papers, when my 3 year old son jumped out of bed like a jack in the box, screaming, “Mama is it time yet?” You see, he had been excited the whole week to receive a gift for the first time from his baby sister on the occasion of Rakshabandhan! He had learnt all about it in his school, and of course we kept prepping him on how his little sister would tie him a fancy wristband called “Rakhi”. The exciting part for him of course was the fact that his little baby sister who can’t even walk yet has bought him a gift that she is going to give him and that he has shopped something for his little toothless too!

I couldn’t help but share his excitement this year, as Rakshabandhan was extra special for me this time round. Growing up with two older brothers, I always was the baby of the house, and this particular occasion meant, they would shower me with gifts and indulge me, in a way only brothers can. However with time, our lives branched out in different directions, and while at one time we are thick as thieves, geography had gotten in the way. Add to that, the fact that we were all tackling our own set of toddlers, and we had a peculiar situation, where most occasions were celebrated in isolation, wishing each other over a phone call, be it Diwali, Holi or Rakshbandhan. But this year, we managed to time ourselves right, finally! We are reuniting for the first time for the occasion of Rakshabandhan after a gap of nearly 8 years, and what’s more, it the first one for my children too!

So, yes it was special and I intended to make the most of it! When my brothers arrived last night, we quickly settled into our noisy banter, our spouses subsequently sidelined to knowing glances and the occasional nod, and stories of our fistfights with the colony kids, our secret service clubs and the numerous toy wrestles, dominated the evening. Even the times when we pulled pranks on the neighbors or let our dog loose on unsuspecting passers by, the evening was filled with a whole lot of fun memories to choose from. Of course it wasn’t always harmonious between us!  During the teenage years, we had our shares of struggles with each other, with them being too protective and possessive and being watchful of my every move. But they were also the ones to bail me out, when I got onto a sticky wicket with my parents, whether it was related to my academic performance, or missed curfews or even seeking approval for my then to-be-husband.

For instance, I can’t imagine how I would have survived those years in college had it not been for my brothers who always looked out for me, and made sure I never bore the brunt of any ragging or pranks that my friends were subjected to. My brothers, have truly been a source of strength for me in my growing up years, and my closest confidants. I too have done my share of protecting and preserving their feelings over the years, whether it was broken hearts, or dipping scores in college. We have always shielded each other form the world’s snare, and that includes our parents!

Even today, when I am perplexed by my toddlers’ behavior, or some career challenges, or even a spat with my husband, I know I have the two of them standing right by my side, even if its just to vent!  And they too know that if they need a 4:00 am friend, they needn’t look far!

So when I see my children today, on the brink of forging this life long relationship that is unique and special in it’s own way, I can’t help but wonder what their journey will be like. After all, their relationship is likely to be the longest one they will experience in their entire life. From my end I hope they learn to value each other’s presence in their respective lives, as I have learnt to value my brothers’ presence in mine. As I put down my cup of coffee and slowly drift back to present times from my nostalgia, I see my oldest brother emerging sleepily from his room, and attacking my cup of coffee, and toast, one of the habits’ that gets my goat, but even so, I can’t help but smile and feel thankful for these two special people in my life who I will cherish forever.

With that in mind, I have a special celebration planned for us this long weekend and I intend to capture this occasion in my memory, to reminisce about for years to come.

I would love to know how you planned to make this occasion special for your sibling. And before my toddler trips me off my chair, I’ll sign off …and wish you all a very Happy Rakshabandhan!

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