At times you feel so great being an Indian! every time Raksha Bandhan
is around , or Rakhi
as we call it, it makes my heart swell not only with emotions but with pride that, India might be the only country where we celebrate the bond of brother and Sister in form of a festival.I ts a festival where sisters tie the pious thread Rakhi,
filled with love, on to the wrist of their brothers, in return of a promise that they will always save her from evil.
A girl selecting Rakhi for her brother from a Rakhi Shop
A sister tying a Rakhi on the wrist of her brother
I still remember in school, when there used to be big Rakhis
made from fancy paper and sponge with ‘Mere Bahiya’
plastic caption on it, on the wrists of boys. The boys in the class, rejoining after the Rakhi
Holiday. used to show off how many Rakhis
they had, the more the merrier!
the more the merrier
Since Childhood, I have been celebrating it, though I don’t have a brother of my own. But again As I say in my country India, your cousin is not a mere cousin, he is your brother ( real type). So Rakhi
is not merely limited to real brother and sisters but to cousins too. My Husband today had five Rakhi’s
( Sacred thread ) around his wrist from his two real sisters and three cousins! And I know he means his relation with each of them.
Though you get so many type of Rakhis these days in the market, but my husband’s sisters send handmade rakhis. Quite thoughtful of them indeed !
I still remember, when I must be in 1st or 2nd standard, my teacher ( I still remember her name, Tara Ma’am) asked me, whom do you tie a Rakhi? I had no answer, as I didn’t know. Though I didn’t feel bad either for the question, as I was too little to understand bonds or relations!
I went back home and asked my Father, ” Papa whom should I tie a Rakhi ?”
He said, ‘to him’ fingering towards a wooden statue of Lord Krishna kept in our Mandir ( worship Place at home).
And till date I have that wooden statue of Lord Krishna in my house ( I have carried it with me where ever I have gone, even after marriage). And even today on the auspicious occasion of Rakhi, I have tied him a Rakhi !
Tying of Rakhi to Lord Krishna
Rakhi, is incomplete without listening to Hindi Film songs.So I make it a point to put the All India Radio ( the official Radio Channel of India) on such festivals, because these are the only channels which play festive songs on the festivals/national holidays. Today also I woke my husband to the tunes of Rakhi Songs so that he cherishes his memories with his sisters on this auspicious occasion :
“Phoolon ka Taaron Ka Sabka Kahna Hai Ek Hazaaron Main meri Bahna Hai ! “( Flowers and Stars say, that my sister is one in a million)
“Bahna Ney Bhai ki Kalayi pe pyar bandha Hai, Pyar ke do taar se sansaar bandha hai!” ( Sister has tied love around her brother’s wrist, and with two threads of love she has tied the world !)
” Mere Chanda Mere Bhaiya, Mere Anmol Ratan, Tere Badle Main Zamaney ki Koi cheez nahin!” ( Apple of My Eye, My Brother, My Precious Jewel, I will never leave you for anything in the world!)
As I say, “Isse Tyohaar ka Mahaul Banta Hai!“( These songs create an atmosphere of festivities!)
Also in my native Place or the Highlands, we make special Festive food, I call it Tyohaar Ka khana ( Food for Festivals), with Poori, aalo Matar ki sabzi ( without onion/ garlic,as it is not religious/pious), Bade, Puye, Kheer and Raita ( Spl Fried Bread, Potato Peas vegetable, Fried delicacy called Bade and Puye, Indian Dessert made from Milk, Rice and Dry fruits called Kheer). Since I am married in a Punjabi* Family, so its quite a different festive food for them, and as my Husband called it U P** type Food. They truly relish it.
In fact today my Father in Law was out of station, at my sister in laws place, so she also specially made this festive food for him saying, “ Aapki Bahu toh aapko aaj Tyohaar ka khana Khilati, you must be missing it, hence I will also prepare Tyohaar ka Khana” ( Your Daughter in law, must have cooked the festival food today, let me also cook it , so that you don’t miss it!)
This time also we enjoyed the festival. My Husband’s Sister had come with a Puja ki Thaali ( A prayer Plate) with Diya ( lighted candle), Tikka ( Vermilion and rice grains) to be put on the forehead of her brother, Mithai ( Indian sweets) and dry fruits. She applied the tikka on her brother’s forehead, tied Rakhi and offered him sweets, wishing long and healthy life to him.
Later I was told by Kavita Saharia, of My Room blog, a very serene and soothing shloka to be said on the occasion. It goes like this :
येन बद्धो बलि राजा, दानवेन्द्रो महाबल: |
तेन त्वांमनुबध्नामि, रक्षे मा चल मा चल ||
राखी बांधते समय उपरोक्त मंत्र का उच्चारण करना विशेष शुभ माना जाता है |
इस मंत्र में कहा गया है कि जिस रक्षा डोर से महान शक्तिशाली दानव के राजा बलि को बांधा गया था, उसी रक्षाबंधन से में तुम्हें बांधती हूं यह डोर तुम्हारी रक्षा करेगी |
The chanting of this mantra while tying the Rakhi is considered to be auspicious. It says, the sacred thread with which the mighty king of Demons Bali was tied, with the same pious thread I tie you, this thread with keep you safe.
Thanks Kavita. I will make sure I give this to my Husband’s sisters on Rakhi next year.
* Punajb is a state in North of India.
** U P or Uttar Pradesh is another state in North of India.