Rakshabandhan


My dearest Komal, Anjli and Amar

મારા વ્હાલા કોમલ, અંજલી અને અમર

Raksha bandhan ties
Raksha bandhan ties

I am a few weeks late in telling you about this festival, but I hope both you girls had remembered on or before the date, 18th August this year, to either send or tie the rakhdi on your brothers’ correct wrist! I remember I started tying it on Neshmama’s left wrist one year and Nayanamami was shocked! I could just imagine what her thoughts must have been…..this uncultured sister (nanand નણંદ) doesn’t even know what hand to tie the rakhdi on! So yes, it should be tied on the right wrist!

You have all grown up with this important Hindu ritual but do you know the significance of it? It is the celebration of the bond between siblings. Raksha translates to ‘protection’ and bandhan means ‘bond’. So by tying the rakhdi on the brother’s wrist, a sister hopes to protect her brother and convey her deep love and affection. In return the brother gives a gift (could be money) to the sister to reciprocate the same feelings. This part is sexist because previously only the brother would be earning money and be in possession of wealth that could be passed on to the non-earning sister. More than the exchange of rakhdis and money, the festival is a strengthening of the sibling bond. There are many mythical stories that reveal the deeper significances of ‘raksha bandhan’. To this end I would urge you to look up the following pairings, Rani Karnavati and Humayun, Alexander the Great and King Puru, King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Krishna and Draupadi. You might remember the last pairing from our times of watching the ‘Mahabharat’ episodes on television.  Perhaps we could have a ‘Mahabharat’ binge-tv, the next time we are together.

Continuing with this theme, it is customary for a brother to gift part or whole of his first earnings to his sister(s). I just do not remember ever receiving the first salaries from my brothers, but there are many other gifts that I have received over the years. Their love and protection is the eternal gift I know is always there. There are two gestures that are stamped in my mind forever. Neshmama paid for all my driving instructor fees,…and he used to give me the bus fares when I travelled to Oxford Street for my Saturday job. Unfortunately Atishmama did not start earning until after I had got married. Perhaps Achalamasi could tell you of her sibling experiences. Atishmama and Achalamasi have had many adventures together! I would need to dedicate a whole letter to relate all the numerous other rakshabandhan gifts I have received(complements to both my bhabhis!).  I  have also compiled a playlist of some ‘rakshabandhan’ songs that adds a sparkle to this festival. Some of the songs are my evergreen favourites.

The other person I must mention here is my Navinmama. A solitary brother to seven sisters and that too younger to at least six of them! I am certain he was well pampered in his younger days by all the sisters. These days though, he upholds his brotherly status (together with Minamami) by always being present at all the happy or sad events of his sisters’ lives.  All of his sisters and their families are always welcome to their home. All this when the sisters are settled in all corners of the world AND even when Mama was knee deep in running a hectic business.

Raksha bandhan Call me
Raksha bandhan Call me

Now let us see how well you know your brothers! Below I have inserted photos of 10 wrists. Could you tell me whose wrists they are? Of course all of them are not your brothers(cousins) and I will give you one clue, one wrist is of a very good friend of ours and unfamiliar to you. Hope Amar you too will enter my quiz! Any other takers?  Answers below, please.

This half of the year is full of many other Hindu festivals…navratri, diwali, bestu varash, etc. Hope you are involved in one of them. My favourite is of course navratri. Do you remember how I used to drag you to the nearest venues during navratri when we lived in London?  I would love it if you could revive some of those memories.

Anyway, until my next letter,

With all my love, hugs and kisses,

Vishfullyyours

Mum

19 thoughts on “Rakshabandhan”

  1. Answers to the Quiz!
    1.Ketanuncle, 2.Neshmama, 3.Shray, 4.Amrish, 5.Atishmama, 6.Kayan, 7. Amar, 8. Dad, 9. Kishan, and 10. Sanjaymasa!
    Congratulations to Anjli for knowing 8 of them! Yes Nima, Amar has his Rakhdis on the left wrist….a catch in the quiz…congrats for spotting that. I loved all the colours on Ketanuncle’s wrist and so he became a part of my quiz…the only wrist you would not have recognised! Sanjaymasa will be disappointed not to have beeen recognised! Besides Ketanuncle, Kishan has the most rakhdis……and poor Amrish has no rakhdis…..did you girls forget him! Hope you will make up somehow! Sanjaymasa too has no rakhdis…that is only because he had just removed them before taking the photo. Traditionally rakhdis are removed on Dashera (the 10th), day after the 9 days of Navratri festival. The discarded rakhdi is either buried in the ground or tied to a branch in the garden!

    1. Vishvala, As already mentioned earlier when we met last at one of the social gatherings, I follow your post regularly. What a way to not only communicate, but revive old memories and share it with present generation. Congrats and keep going.

      Thank you once again to make me a part of this quiz, and for sure it is very hard for anyone to pick me up from the choices available.

      Ketan

  2. Wow mum, those pics are throwback! God me and Komal had some questionable hairstyles back in the day haha! I remember going to garbas at Nower Hill school, its been ages since I’ve been to navratri!

    Ok here’s my shot at your quiz:

    1. ?
    2. Neshmama
    3. Shray
    4. Amrish
    5. Atishmama
    6. Kayan
    7. Amar
    8. Dad (no brainer 🙂
    9. Kishan
    10. ?

    How did I do?!

        1. The amount Kishan works out, that hand/wrist is too slim. Looks like the youngest hand of the group so it’s Kayan. Also I’m pretty sure Kayan has those long fingers.

  3. 1 could be Kishan? Not because of the hand, but because of the sheer number of Rakhdi’s on his wrist…

  4. Wow, you’ve dug up some old pics haven’t you?! I couldn’t tell you those hands really, but I’ll hazard a guess…

    3 Shray
    4 Amar
    5 Neshmama
    6 Shray
    8 dad

    No more for now

    No idea.

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