In India, we have a festival named Rakshabandhan/Rakhi (literal translation- thread of safety). This is celebrated once every year by Hindus. On this day, sisters tie a wrist-band on the wrist of their brothers. This wrist-band is called Rakhi in Hindi and the festival is Rakshabandhan. It symbolises the sister’s love for the brother, and the implied meaning is that brothers give silent commitment to protect their sisters from all problems. Well all that and other related stories you can find on wiki and google.
My purpose of writing about this festival is the sad feeling I get on this day as I don’t have a real sister. I have many cousins but real sister is real sister. I remember my childhood days when I used to wait for my cousins to come and tie this band. But for them, their real brothers were first priority, and we came second. They came when they felt like. On some years, they did not come. For example, if we or our parents had a fight days before this festival, they won’t come. So it was more of a formality rather than a true bond or love. Then I was dependent on my parents for giving gifts to the cousins, a tradition of the festival. I ended up giving small change or very silly gifts, which made me a laughing stock. Then as if a game, cousins came on rotation on different years. It was all a sham. We were a joint family, so I saw my cousin brothers enjoying the love and affection of their real sisters. I was envious and jealous that I did not have real sister.
That is why maybe I had this funny habit of making my girl classmates my sisters. In class-5 in one school, Varsha and Vanitha, my class mates were treated as my sisters. In class-8 in another school, Geeta was like a sister to me. Now that I think back, I realise it is the absence of a real sister that made me behave in this silly way.
But I do remember that every year, on this festival, I had a very sad feeling. I used to wait if the cousins will come or not, which cousin will come, what will I give, will they continue doing so all my life and so on. I felt like an emotionally dependent idiot but I could not control my feelings and could not share with anyone also.
This foolishness has come down now but now that I write about it, I think of happy, a present team member as my sister and have told her so also. So my feeling of lacking something in a real sister still continues. Some relations or their absence maybe tortures you throughout your life.
I know having a sister is not all a bed of roses. In this world a sister means a big responsibility also, but still I miss having a sister, specially on this festival day. I wrote a poem in Hindi today on this feeling. For my Indian readers, here it is
वो कैसी होती होगी, वो क्या एहसास होगा,
बिना शर्तों का मासूम प्यार, अठखेलियो का वो संसार,
ममत्व, अपनत्व , सौहार्द , निस्वार्थ सा मीठा सा आभास,
वो लड़ने-झगड़ने का अनुभव, वो रूठने-मनाने का मज़ा,
कुछ कड़वा, कुछ खट्टा, कभी अज़ीज़, कभी लज़ीज़,
कहीं बचना बचाना, कहीं सजना सजाना, कहीं चुगली लगाना
कभी दोस्त, कभी बेटी, कभी माँ सी
कभी डॉक्टर, कभी नर्स, कभी दुआ सी
ज़िन्दगी जैसी, बंदगी जैसी, फूलो की क्यारी जैसी
प्रेरणा, संवेदना, प्रार्थना, निश्छल संवाद का नाम,
कुछ अजनबी एहसास का नाम,
एक अधूरे रिश्ते की कसक.
एक अलभ्य की ललक.