By Amrita Kohli:
Yes, we have a male dominated society here in India and men are considered the stronger sex (something that is open to discussion on another forum) so it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that we not only celebrate Brother’s Day, like Sister’s Day but we also have a Raksha Bandhan which is all about praying that your brother stays hale and hearty, jumps in front of you to save you from every trouble possible, gives you money … we all know the drill. Here’s a question. What about sisters who have another (or other) sisters for siblings? Doesn’t everything aforementioned hold true for a sister too?
Maybe this is the feminist in me talking (or writing) but Raksha Bandhan for me also means celebrating the existence of my sisters who are just about everything that brothers are. Let’s face it, the older ones protect you, take care of you, give you money when your parents don’t and also save you from them when need arises (trust me, you need a different kind of protection when it comes to your parents). My point is, brothers are great and the festival is quintessentially about them and their long life (and also the sister’s so she can pray for him) but for me it’s about my sister because I don’t have a brother. I have never, since I grew up (or I say I did) felt the need for a brother because my older sister is sometimes more and better than a brother. You see, I even get to borrow her clothes and make-up!
Further, younger sisters are hardly any different from younger brothers. They trouble you possibly the same amount, irritate you with so much perfection you have to marvel their genius, save your secrets in return for favors (read money) and help hide your locations from your parents. They look up to you like you were a rock star and not only copy you but want the exactly same things as yours! Besides, since they are girls, they identify with you far better which holds true for both older and younger sisters.
So this goes out to all those sisters out there who have sisters for siblings; celebrate their being in your life and making you feel so many of the emotions you feel…
the elation at having your “big” sister comb your hair as if you were Barbie
the tears of joy when your kid sister makes you proud by winning something
the kind of warmth you feel when your older sister embraces you
the affection with which your baby sister gives you all those wet kisses
the safe haven that your sister provides you with
the sense of responsibility at having to take care of your little sister
the feeling at being pampered
the feeling when you get to pamper
the pure, unadulterated love you have for one another
Let’s embrace the tradition with a twist and find a reason to celebrate this festival the way we want to-honouring our siblings irrespective of their gender. My rakhis, this time around, go to my sisters on this very auspicious day and I pray for them to have a long and happy life! I urge you to do the same.