It seems that the pious festival of Rakshabandhan is losing its relevance. The enthusiasm and gaiety that we saw in earlier days is somehow amiss today. Yes, in the markets like Dadar and Matunga, you see hordes of vendors selling fancy Rakhis, but that underlying spirit is tepid.
We are two brothers and in our childhood, our Aunt (Mausi) who was way younger to our mother and just a little older to my elder brother, used to tie us Rakhi. The tradition continued with our Aunt’s daughter later on following her mother. But it was more about the mood. It was a large family with our mother and Aunt tying Rakhi to their 5 brothers plus cousins tying Rakhi to each other as said above. There were peals of laughter all around with exchange of gifts and sweets, followed by yummy lunch. Preparations for the festival would start much in advance. Sisters were requested to buy a large, fancy and colourful Rakhi. We would then compare our rakhis with each other. ” Mine is bigger; mine is better; mine has a watch built into it” – were commonly heard refrains. Beautiful Rakhis were sometimes preserved for years together. Schools would give an essay on Rakshabandhan as homework and a sketch of Rakhi as drawing assignment.
Then joint family split into smaller units; children grew up and moved to different cities for work. Cousins got married had their own children and Rakhi was restricted to within immediate family between real siblings. Like other festivals, this festival too became more of a ritual rather than the underlying spirit of sibling bonding, celebration of family’s togetherness and sweets .
In an age, where people count calories, are becoming fitness and gadget freaks, are trying to become super fathers and husbands, are aiming for new social and professional rise, the simple fun and festivity of Rakhi has somehow got oblivious. As aforesaid, I don’t have a sister, though on the day of Rakshabandhan I do wish I had one of my own and I would have shown the world that nothing matters more than relationships. Luckily one cousin of mine, who never tied Rakhi to me in my childhood is now my biggest supporter, encouraging me write more and better. On this Rakshabandhan, I dedicate this blog to her!