Thursday, August 02, 2012

That First Rakhi

It was 13th August, 1992. Raksha Bandhan day. Early morning, it was raining heavily. The small town of Wardha, now popularly known as Sevagram, was literally drowning in water. It was at this time that a young girl, hardly four years old, sat cuddling her grandmother inside her home. She couldn’t play outside due to the rain. But she wasn’t complaining. She had her small mind up wrapped up around larger things happening in the house. There were many people in it today. Her toys were being played by other kids. She couldn’t bear it. And on top of it, her beloved mother wasn’t around her when she woke up in the morning. She had been in pain last night, that much the girl had seen. Now her father had disappeared too. Both of them had gone and that too without taking her! That was too much. She went to her grandmother and demanded to know where her mother was.

“Hospital”, her grandma replied.

“But when will she come?” the girl asked impatiently.

“Very soon”, grandma replied with a smile.

“But I want to go now!” the girl wailed, stamping her foot angrily. Her grandma laughed and promised to take her soon.

When the afternoon sun was seen among the rain clouds, the girl was ready in her best dress. On enquiry, she got the reply that she was soon about to meet her mother and a brother.  Her brother? Well, that was something new to her but not unheard of. She had seen her school friends playing with their brothers after school hours in the playground. She knew that her friend Nita, living next door, had a brother too who was sporting a sparkling rakhi on his wrist today. But she had no brother to play with. She was all alone by herself until now. 

After a particular long walk, she came across a huge building which was called the hospital by her grandma. She had never seen one before and looked around curiously. On entering inside the hospital, she did not like the smell of the medicines in the surrounding air. She longed to get rid of it. Suddenly she was led to a small room in one of the corners crowded with people again but there were her mama and papa! She screamed in delight and ran at top speed towards her father. Her father hugged her and put her on the large cot where her mother was lying. The mother was not alone. The girl could see something lying on the cot, all wrapped up in a piece of long cloth.

“Mama, Why are you here? Let’s go home.” The girl said and closed her hand around her mother’s wrist and was ready to pull her down from the cot along with her. But her father intervened.

“Your mother cannot go now”, her father said quickly.

The girl could not understand anything but sat down closely to her mother and stared at the small moving thing lying next to her.

 “Your brother” her mother replied. The girl could not understand why so small a thing could be her brother. Seeing that she was hesitant, her mother took the baby and placed in gently on the girl’s lap. Now the girl could see that the baby had small eyes. It was lying very peacefully on her lap and the girl was staring mutely. Suddenly her grandma bought a rakhi in front of her.  The girl smiled and took it in her hands. All the women folk in the room gathered around her and the grandma helped her to tie the rakhi on the baby’s wrist. The girl was given her favourite sweet to eat- a burfi.  She ate it slowly staring at her brother and then at her rakhi. Her very first rakhi!

Many years have gone by since then. Her small brother has grown now and so has she. The fast life of the century has forced them to go away from each other for studies and career. But that rakhi day remains special and so is raksha bandhan every year. The only day when both of them celebrate the moment…the sister tying rakhi on her brother’s wrist…and the brother presenting the much awaited gift to her….her brother… Roshan…....!!!


Have a very happy raksha bandhan once again dear brother!!