Small Town

So who protects?

Raksha bandhan is over. Sisters have tied the rakhee and brothers have given them gifts. Magazines and newspapers are full of the symbolism and the meaning of the festival. For a few of us from the pre-Whatsapp era, it’s a way of keeping in touch with siblings and cousins all busy in their own lives.

Rakhees sent by my sister-in-law for both of us

Long back when my daughter was small I used to send rakhees on her behalf to her male cousins, many of whom she had never met. It was an annual contact ritual. When she grew old enough to understand that the rakhee was tied in exchange for a promise of protection, she immediately turned to her father, saying she wanted to tie one on his wrist. We were amused but later realized she was serious – she had a list of relatives who, she said, would definitely protect her if and when needed. Her father and myself, her grandparents, her friend next door. From the mouth of babes indeed!

The rakhee has forever been a symbol of love between a brother and a sister. But today they can be continents or hearts apart. So why just brothers? Shouldn’t we, if at all, be tying rakhees to our spouses’ wrists, to our friends and to anybody who has our back?

Rakhees (made with flowers from her garden) sent by our daughter