It's going to be a busy year starting this August. It’s the onset of festivities that go on until the year ends. I am a big fan of the dress ups, décor, small intimate gatherings of loved ones and I am the biggest fan of being simple. And I would like to pass this on to my children.
With all this comes the exchange of gifts, a traditional ritual taken to an entirely another level by the modernity of our lives. Nothing is simple anymore. Everything is complicated and so elaborate.
Come Raksha Bandhan, and in my house, you will hear the kids discuss the exchange of gifts, who will get what, and their current favourites when it comes to presents. They are constantly dropping hints of what’s on their list to have, who’s on their list to buy gifts and surfing the net to find the perfect gift for each other.
The sentiments behind Rakshabandhan:
Raksha Bandhan is an age old tradition where the sister ties a rakhi on the brother's wrist and the brother promises to care and protect her for life. A sweet sentiment which was the need of the hour in the olden times, where women were given away very young in arranged marriages, not knowing what the future holds for them, also they were dependent on their families to take care of them and their every need. This relationship was their best armour. With time, this ritual has evolved with respect to the emotions surrounding it. The modern women being independent and working, this has become more like a celebration of the bonds, and of course, the gifts are always welcome!
Born in a family of four daughters, I am the youngest. When I was around 10 years or so, I craved for the presence of a brother in my life. Every time Rakshabandhan came around, I felt like a piece was missing from me. Due to the traditions that required a brother, I always waited for invitations from cousins for the same.
Years passed and as I grew older and wiser, I realized how much more I was blessed with. I have three protective sisters, with whom I share very special bonds, which is beyond the understanding of this world. Mother figures, soul sisters, protectors, friends, creative partners and lots more.
With time, we have rewritten our sentiments about this day. Our mom always treated the four of us like the weight-bearing pillars of our home and no less than any other. Independent, strong-willed, caring and bold.
Rewriting the rituals:
We celebrate our bonds as sisters with as much pomp and galore in spirit, remembering that we don’t need a brother to celebrate this occasion… we have each other. And I love this about us. We tie rakhis to each other and celebrate with a dinner with our four families and our mom. Gifts are exchanged and of course, with time it has moved from materialistic to more memorable keepsakes which remind us of our time together. We want our children to observe and learn through us that Raksha Bandhan is no longer just the celebration of the bond between a brother and sister but in reality and in the modern era, it is the celebration of sibling relationships.
A sibling relationship is the most precious of all relationships that we will have during our life.
Though of course the boys at home, my son and husband, get defensive at times and feel like I am taking away their special day of being put on the pedestal! But my little girl and I agree that the day is all about sibling bonds. I love that my children feel that way about each other, their bonding is beyond who the brother or sister is, it's about being honourable and protective about each other, loving and caring beyond the gender. In fact, my little girl most often says that she will take care and always be more protective of her brother. My boy, now in college has never said that because you are a girl, you can't do this or that. That is never the reason we give at home. So much that on Rakhi, it is not only the sister that gets a gift but also the son gets one for being a fabulous sibling.
I love that our culture has a day dedicated to these bonds, which otherwise could go astray in this fast-paced life. As I polish the Rakhi thali today and watch them pick out their outfits, pick each other’s gifts, wrap them, I have a heart full of gratitude for the love we are blessed with. And that no matter what they will always have this bond, and I am grateful for being blessed with such fabulous siblings myself, and how they are my strength and everything beyond that. Share with us what you feel about Rakhi and how you plan to celebrate this day.