In my younger days, Rakshabandhan meant tying a fancy thread with lots of embellishments on my brother’s hand and a day where I would get plenty of freebies!! It was also a way of reminding myself and my cousins that no matter what, we would NEVER spill the beans on each other! Years down the line, the essence hasn’t changed. We love each other and continue to pick on each other for entertainment and support.
But I confess, things are different. The pious festival of Rakshabadhan in my home now witnesses the tempering of the various cultural influxes that the new gen family members have whiffed in. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been necessary to make everyone feel accepted.
Ours is a home which is the culminating pot of Islam, Christianity, Gujarati, Punjabi, South Indian and well, yes a part Parsi too! As for me, I come from a hard-core ‘Kaur’ kind of a family!
When in 1905, the British Empire tried to break Indian Unity, Rabindranath Tagore used the platform of Raksha Bandhan to bring together the various ethnic groups and fight together in the time of crisis. According to him, if we can think beyond our religion and caste then we can become true human beings. It is this vision that resonates in my home.
It has also become a day when I remind myself of the benefits of having such a beautifully united family together under one roof. We have tweaked customs to accommodate everyone’s wishes. For us, tying the Rakhi conveys the socio-spiritual significance and the need for nurturing love above everything else, through purity of intention, thoughts, words and deeds in each other.
Memories of love and trust
Our grand-mother insisted that ‘khichdi’ be the customary meal in our house every Raksha bandhan. Honestly, we hated it. Now that we are older and of course, so is our grandmother, it really doesn’t matter. We have now changed the food preferences to accommodate everyone’s palette.
The faiths we follow doesn’t alter the commonalities that we observe during Rakhi. There is always has a ‘thali’ with ‘kumkum,’ ‘rakhis,’ ‘mithai’ and the extra prayer for brothers and other family alike! The kids don’t necessarily wear new clothes and the exchange of gifts is only among the kids.
Traditionally meant to be a reminder of love and protection between biological brothers and sisters, my family has carried it beyond the realms of ‘biological’. When Rakhi adorns the wrist of a ‘jija’ from a ‘sali’ (brother-in-law love) or a lumbha from a ‘nanand’ to a ‘bhabhi’ (sister-in-law), it underscores the need for strong and harmonious family ties.
When the kids witness such a celebrated fanfare of acceptance and equal gusto from all concerned, it helps them to broaden their own vision beyond the borders of their immediate family culture and values. They learn from the examples that the elders are setting and are always overwhelmed by the respect that is extended towards each community.
Do A Fun BBQ!
We are a family of foodies and love our meals. One of the most fun things we do on Rakhi is eat. Last year we had this amazing BBQ Brunch at my brother’s farm. What started at 10 am in the morning ended at 7pm in the evening with much reluctance. These kind of fun outings allow opportunity for potlucks and sharing responsibilities of food and drinks while letting everybody feel involved.
Watch Old Photographs
There is no better way to reconnect with the past, reminisce about forgotten conversations and share old memories with your kids and spouse than this!! We have done this in the past and has been such a winner way to spend Rakhi! This is a Rakhi get together activity that my family loves always!
Do Some Charity Together
This year we are doing something different. We have decided to not exchange gifts. Instead there is some fair amount of ice-cream that we will all collectively distribute in the local orphanage. We hope to receive a few blessings for our family and loads of smiles from the children.
Wish You All A Happy Raksha Bandhan!
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