There are relations of blood and then there are those of matrimony. There are relations of romance and then there are those of friendship. For each of them we have probably a long list of festivals and associated traditions and rituals. Each comes with a certain degree of rigidity and unnecessary expectations at some level. And then there is a relationship which exists at two levels; both social and natural. Among the hundreds of festivals, this is the one free from most mythological stories and gender biased rituals. This is one day when the males of the society, for a change, promise something to the females and I would believe they mean it. This is one day which promises purity of relationships in the world where this word itself is rapidly changing its meaning at a very existential level. This is a reason for one of the strongest bond between two people who often fight each other as much they love.
Growing up in a joint family, I was blessed with 3 elder sisters who still love me like a baby brother. They are the ones who still find me more capable and believe in me more than I myself could. They are the ones who still love me and scold me, irrespective of how old I am. Back then it was just about exchanging gifts and having good food on the rakshabandhan day, but I could realize the more important things only late growing up and missing them every single year.
I still remember those times in school when every year, guys used to literally run away from the class during the recess fearing that they might be forced into the brotherhood. It was weird funny and strange at the same time. There was always one guy in class who would have had alteast 10 rakhi sis in class and a bunch of others who made sure they got only friendship bands a week earlier on the friendship day! Sometimes it seemed fun while at times it did look ridiculous. At the risk of being hated, the fact is a friendship or an amorous relationship might be temporary, but not the one which symbolises the most delicate and purest relationship, man has ever known.
I never thought when my childhood friend (Shivani) tied rakhi around my wrist way back in 2001 that our bond will only grow stronger. But today, I am a proud brother and consider myself lucky to have her in my life. She is someone who has always stood by me in the best and worst of times. We may not talk for weeks together, but whenever we do, it just feels like we were never away. But, while I was coming back to my place after meeting for such a long time, my mind was perplexed as usual. I was happy and yet some thoughts kept coming to me. It would however be unfair to those who have loved me no less than any sister could possibly. It would be unfair to someone who has always treated me like a brother and a great friend as well, even though we may not be biologically related. But who can possibly stop the tide of thoughts which come and take you unaware.
I have always wondered if only I had a younger sister of my own, how it would have been. May be I would have been the usual possessive brother who would have irritated her to the limits or maybe I would have been her best friend. May be she would have kept all her secrets away from me or maybe we would have shared every single thing happening in our lives. May be I wound have been conservative and hypocritical when it came to her or maybe we would have been each other’s biggest strength. May be I would have been jealous of my dad loving her more than me or maybe I would have loved her more than anyone possibly could. I don’t know. Life would certainly have been very different. But, then there are times when that void seems to make its presence feel. And it gets more and more visible whenever I see two siblings fighting like cats and dogs and then again fighting for each other against the world. I guess it is just natural and inevitable to feel this way.