I will never forget the words spoken by my brother during my wedding speech, “You can compare my sister and I to a pair of scissors, strongly bound in the middle, often deviating in different directions, but god help anyone that would come between us”.
I am so blessed to have my older brother Amul, recently I have relocated to Cheshire and so lucky to be closer to him, sharing more amazing memories and to have my boys grow up under his influence, he treats them as his own. I was talking with the boys yesterday telling them we are going to mamas this weekend, they were so excited jumping around. It felt just like when we were children visiting our mama’s house. My mum said he’s your “hero” isn’t he-in jest, you talk about him lots recently before you would fight so much…. He definitely is…. My brother my hero… my everything (not that I tell him that!!!!).
Growing up Raksha Bhandan was always in the summer holidays. As children we spent every summer with our grandparents, and my two cousin sisters Chetna and Alpana. We have an extremely strong bond and are like four siblings, those summers were THE BEST, my brother was definitely in charge and we would bow to his every command!!!. Each year us three sisters would tie a Rakhi on my brother. I remember those old school Rakhi’s with foil, sponge and a big plastic disc of a swaghat sign or Aum which would fill his wrist, and who could put the biggest tilac (kunkhoo red dot) on his head. I always got excited for what present he would give us. It was an important ceremony, but as a child the deeper meaning was not fully understood, it was always about the gift!.
I tie my Rakhi on my brother, my cousin brother Bhavin who came ten years later, I was excited to have two brothers to tie a Rakhi on, and two presents!!!. As I got older a family friend-my brothers best friend tragically lost his sister, and I began to tie his Rakhi. I remember at uni there was a girl who made everyone her brother and gave Rakhi’s to lots of our friends. I’m not one to judge as long as everyone is happy with their thoughts and actions. The only other person I tie my Rakhi on is one of my best friends that I met through my husband. We share a very special bond, even though he lives in America now his Rakhi will always reach him. I will tie these Rakhis to these brothers till the day I die-a promise to myself.
After hitting 40, and nearly losing my life after the birth of my second child; you definitely have a different perspective on life. All the material stuff doesn’t matter, you know the love and happy times with family and friends is REALLY PRICELESS. Any gift in the world would never replace the unconditional love and support my brother has give me over the years. We do fight, or god do we fight… we were like two boys coming to physical blows!, and when we argue I’m sure the gods tremor!, as I have got older I value the time spent with my brother and all the support and time he and his wife Maxine have given me and my family.
I have two boys, they are blessed to have three cousin sisters that tie the scared thread, this is important to me; as they love and are very fond of their sisters. I want the boys to protect them, and always be there for them as they grow. My sons also receive a Rakhi from my friend’s daughters (the one I tie a Rakhi on), and our best friends daughters, who I know my children will grow old with, they have a very special connection as we have with their parents. I want my boys to value the importance of this special relationship.
One of my friends Anj said to me that her sons don’t have sisters to tie a Rakhi, and she makes both boys tie a Rakhi on each other and make them promise to support, protect each other and have each other’s back, I think this is sweet as Rakhi does represent a bond a strong bond of siblings. My little one Dhiyan loves my Jai Jais books his favourite is the “Rama” book, he often says to his older brother Syon, ”I am ‘wama’ and my ‘broder’ is Laksman, we are two broders, ‘togeder’, two warriors mummy”, as he leaps towards his brother with a flying kick!!!… for a two year old to say that after reading my book, is heart felt, and the reason I continue to write these books.
Originating from the Sanskrit term ‘रक्षाबन्धनम्, Raksha means ‘protection’ and Bhandan refers to a ‘bond’ – the term simply translates to a ‘bond of protection’. Its only until I have been working on my Jai Jais series I started to explore the meaning and why Rakhi came about, there are actually many stories, myths and legends which tell tales of how Raksha Bhandan started…. Maybe I will write a book on them one day!! The common them is the sacred thread that was tied for protection.
In life I see relationships, speak with family and friends and know people have lost their brother or aren’t as close or on speaking terms. I look forward to this Raksha Bhandan to tie the thread on my brothers who love me for me, and will always be there. Life is short value the relationships and use this time to reach out to loved ones, and tell them how much you love them.