Raksha-Bandhan, aka Rakhi, aka the annual Cadbury’s new advertisement day, is one of the few festivals that have evolved over the years in India. It has evolved from a day to celebrate men interfering in their sisters’ lives for reasons other than ‘mummy ne bola hai’, to now when it is mostly #Bhai #BroLove #SoMuchRelations #NoYoureTheAdoptedOne. During old times, the festival was about a brother’s promise to protect his sister, now it is also about the promise of support when she will introduce her boyfriend at home, or an iPhone. The only other Indian festival that has evolved so much is Holi, but we will talk about Delhi’s water problems some other time.
Rakhi, as I remember it, used to be a terrorizing time back in school. The teacher used to order boys to bring gifts and girls to bring rakhis. If, by any chance, your crush’s thread found it’s way around your wrist, the rest of the class would make sure that you would never forget that moment, the moment where your crush had that “Finally this buck-teeth idiot is off my back” smile. The nerd of the class used to have rakhis till his shoulders and the dude of the class used to hang out with the nerd’s rakhi sisters during recess time. To the young girls reading this, today that nerd is Sundar Pichai and the dude is Ashmit Patel or Dino Morea. So you need to choose wisely.
During college, girls finally understood that a Rakhi destroys a guy’s confidence in a way worse than getting a proposal rejected in front of the entire friends’ group. Plus the gifts, if any, from the guys’ limited pocket money would have been disappointing. So, even they let the festival pass without any significant activity.
It will be wrong to say that a Rakhi has served only as a symbol of sibling love. Some of its other underrated perks are:
• The official earned leave for husbands: As per my observations in the family, very few things beat the happiness experienced on the trip back home after dropping one’s wife to her parents’ place. The music in car is loud, and even when stuck in a traffic-jam, one can’t help but give a freedom-rich smile to a husband in the next car.
• Visit to Nani’s house for small children, followed by uncountable number of glasses of chilled soft drinks culminating in a pharyngitis episode which, as the kids in my family tell me, was totally worth it.
• Cousins’ get-together, the fun at which may range from playing Antakshari to playing truth-n-dare, depending on whether you live in Najafgarh or Greater Kailash, or just sitting together and playing Candy Crush on your respective phones.(Ghisa-Pita Satire. I am sorry.)
I have one bad memory of Rakhi in which the love of my life murdered my feelings for her by tying a Rakhi on my wrist. I hate my kindergarten years for that memory. That is one reason I wish I was in a catholic school. But I didn’t turn out to be a Sundar Pichai, so somewhere she is definitely smiling right now.