No sister of my own but lots of Rakshabandhan tales to tell
Not having a sister of my own had its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage being oh-poor-sisterless-me getting scores of invitations on Bhai Phota (Bhaiya Dhuj) and Rakshabandhan. Initially most muh-boli sisters were elder to me, so I got a lot of gifts and was pleasantly happy with the arrangement. Later, as I grew a little older, many little ones came around and I had to part away with the money that I had saved to enhance my comic book collection (not that I regret that). When adolescence came, with the realisation that young girls can be also be something other than sisters, the alarm bells started ringing. More than half the girls of my age in the locality had taken the sacred pledge from me that I would protect them as a sister for the rest of my life. Things were also not very bright at school.
Every Rakshabandhan, the joke in the school was that the guy with the most rakhis on his wrist is the one the girls are most wary of. My dear friend 'Lalten' (as we fondly called him) was the indisputable champion, with ornate threads reaching his elbow. Sadly, I happened to be the distant runner-up for two years in a row. Once, the girl I had a crush on, chased me all over the school with a rakhi in her hand (hope she's reading this). Thanks to the ties of the resham-ki-dori, my sisters (there were quite a many going by the number of threads tied on my wrist) came to the rescue. 'Mission bhaiya' was a failure, thanks to the behanas. My sister-count remained almost constant until I finally passed out from school.
College was different, as my stream didn't have any feminine folks (things have since changed) and interactions with the few females on the campus (the first in decades) were mostly academic (initially). The girls had matured to understand that boy-girl relationships do have other inferences than mere boyfriend/girlfriend or brother/sister. School-time sisters also got lost in the maze of academics and career. University was similar.
Last year on Rakshababdhan, a cousin from the US was here with her kids and we had a big Rakshabandhan fest and I had a designer thread tied on my right wrist. No cousin in town this time, therefore no threads of love for me.
Many of you would have noticed the relative hush during the utterance of the lines "All Indians are my brothers and sisters," at the morning assembly in school. The greater the silence, the more aware the kids.
I know that you've heard this, but phir bhi:
A teacher asks his students to take a pledge.
Teacher: India is our motherland
Students: India is our motherland
Teacher: We shall look upon all women as our mothers and sisters
Students: We shall look upon all women as our mothers and sisters
Teacher: We shall not smoke, drink or gamble
Students: We shall not smoke, drink or gamble
Teacher: We shall not indulge in any immoral activities
Students: We shall not indulge in any immoral activities
Teacher: If necessary we shall die for our motherland
Students: What would we do with such a life anyway?
(Sounds much better in Hindi)
More about Soumyadip ChoudhurySoumyadip Choudhury aka Somu aka Chaiwallah is an internet addict. His wife and family suspect that he is secretly married to his laptop. The electric shock that he got while trying to fix a neighbour's TV set as a kid, perhaps ignited his interest in everything tech. A do-it-yourself guy, he doesn't believe in hiring electricians, plumbers or carpenters. But often ends paying the professionals more to fix his botched jobs. Somu secretly wishes he knew how to code better and also grumbles a lot. He also tweets a bit as @soumyadip and you can find him on Facebook here.
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