Today was Raksha Bandhan. And it slipped my mind.
For those who dint know, Raksha Bandhan is an Indian festival, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is marked by the tying of a Rakhi, or a holy thread, by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her as she presents sweets to her brother. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
We are 3 kids at home. The eldest being my sister, Smitha whom we call Chechi. Next comes my brother, with whom I share a great bond. His name is Prem Raj, and I fondly call him Unnietta (Unni being his pet name and 'Etta' the Malayalam word for elder brother). I was the youngest and was often pampered to the core.
As kids, we used to fight a lot. Right from the time we opened our sleepy eyes, early in the morning, to the time we shut them tired from fatigue in the night. It was fights always. Fights round the clock.
I remember as kids, we used to have weird games and rules, which each one was bound to follow. For e.g., the first thing we did when we woke up in the morning was to scream "Me third". The next person would say "Me second" and the most unfortunate last one, "Me first". And the first person would have to do everything first, from brushing his/her teeth, to having a bath. While the other two got time to sleep more.
I, being the wicked soul I am even then, always managed to scream "Me third" most often. And just in case I missed and Unniettan managed to call out "Me third" before me and snicker, I would just say "Me Last". That naturally entitled me the right to have shower last (in a family of 5 members). And Unniettan would have to go reluctantly have his bath before me. (I told you I was wicked, dint I?)
Then as we headed for the dining table, we fought over milk and breakfast. Everything would be measured. With our palms. The glass with more milk was passed among us in rounds and rounds, till mommy screamed at us for spilling it all over. For fruit juice, it was vice-versa. Our mother never understood why.
Our prayer sessions were perhaps the only time we bonded. Mom ensured we prayed every evening before the sacred Nilavillakku (lamp). We never found it sacred. It was an obstacle as it always collided with our cartoon timings. Slokas which usually took half an hour to recite used to be done in a span of five minutes and no one could make out if we were chanting in Sanskrit or German. We always backed each other, persuading mom that we sat for over half an hour praying.
Birthdays gave reasons for world wars. I insisted on getting a new dress for everyone else's birthday. The cake was also a reason to fight. The cause: the sugary rose topping (usually one) on the cake. Before long, Dad ensured that each cake had at least 3 or more roses each.
Our play sessions used to be equally bad. We enacted our classroom. I was the teacher always and my siblings the students. I used to hit them with their wooden scale, below their knees and the poor things used to bear it all. Until one day Mom saw their bruises and found out, only to smack me tight. I deserved that.
I remember when we used to buy candies or ice creams, Chechi and Unniettan would devour it on the spot, while I brought them home and stored them. Only to pull it out later and lick it away to glory with them looking on. That ended the day Dad found out and chose to share my ice cream amongst the 3 of them, with me crying and watching on.
I was such a naughty snob. And I had such wonderful siblings.
They cared for me.
Shared with me.
Brought me up.
Raksha Bandan is just another day. To me, I am bonded with my Chechi and Unniettan for life. Even in the many more births to come, I'd prefer to say "Me third" and go in as a younger sister to such lovely siblings.