Wednesday, October 07, 2009

To Brother, With Love

It is a festival unique to India; one which celebrates the special bond that exists between a brother and his sister—a bond of love and trust that can withstand the worst that life has in store.

‘Raksha Bandhan’ is right around the corner and the store displays are filled with ‘rakhis’ of numerous hues and sizes. Girls and women look through the various designs on offer, unable to make up their minds on which ones to buy. There are rakhis are not meant just for one’s siblings and cousins, but also for friends who are then known as ‘rakhi brothers’.

When we were kids, the rakhis were usually handmade, crafted painstakingly over many days, and the return gifts, albeit simple things like chocolates or a soft toy, were bought with hard-earned pocket money saved over weeks.

In those days, on Raksha Bandhan day, I would get up early to prepare a ‘thaali’ with a lit lamp, vermillion or ‘kumkum’, a few grains of rice, and some sweet dish on it.

Then, in turn, each of my brothers would sit before me. After applying vermillion on their foreheads I would tie the rakhi on each one’s wrist; next was the ‘aarti’ followed by the sweet dish.

If it was a younger brother, he would pay his respects by touching my feet before handing over the gift. In the case of an elder brother, I would be the one saluting him in a similar manner after receiving my gift.

As we became adults with busy lives and demanding jobs, inevitably the rakhis were store-bought and the gifts became fancier; cosmetics, watches, or other expensive accessories.

Today, in fact over the past few years, I send most of my rakhis through the good old postal department. The reason being—those who receive my rakhis every year live miles away, making it impossible for them to drop by on Raksha Bandhan day!

Considering the number of people who choose to send rakhis through them and realizing their importance in making this festival a memorable one, the postal department has also come up with various innovations over the years with waterproof envelopes being the latest fad!

The last couple of years, even my sole sibling—my younger brother, has received my rakhis through mail after he moved to another part of the country. This year, he has moved across to another continent!

Instead of the elaborate preparations involved in making the rakhis and then tying them, now there is no option left but to send ‘e-rakhis’ and SMS wishes on that day.

The gifts of course are delivered on time—one just has to place an order online or pick up the phone and everything is done; at a price, of course.

The world has become a smaller place thanks to technology, but is it also turning into a place that lacks the human touch?

2 comments:

  1. I did not get a rakhi this year ... oh sorry, for a couple of years!! ... hahaha... I am kidding... I liked this ...it is just the truth...too much dependence on technology will end up only in having a technical touch and no more "human touch". What a pity..!!

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  2. I liked this too. Saw the mention that I had moved to a different continent even if I am in a different continent I miss the Standard routine of getting up early for Rakhi get u=you to tie a rakhi when I am sitting on a chair and the aarti :) and then giving you the gift... Made me recollect the good old days ..

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