When I was in school, Rakshabandhan was one attractive festival. Rakshabandhan is actually not a part of Assamese culture. But growing up with non-assamese communities for whom it was one of the major festivals, we were also enticed to tie rakhis on our brothers’ wrists. Rakhi is a decorative thread. Well now, my sister and myself are the only siblings plus our cousin brothers did not reside in the same town. But in schools and colleges, tying rakhis on male friends’ wrists and making them brothers is a very common phenomenon. And many of us girls did this in our school too. Now it was also likely that girls would tie rakhis on that boy’s wrist who were in love with them (puppy love mostly) but did not reciprocate the same. So the festival was one which such guys dreaded and many of them even skipped school that day. Anyways, what I am going to narrate is about a boy in my class whom few of my gal friends and myself unfortunately tied a rakhi and made him our brother and hence our protector. It was when we were in high school. The day we did that turned out to be one of the most unfortunate days of our lives. If not for all of us, but it certainly was for two of us . Let’s call the boy ‘Bro’ and my friend ‘Moti’. And this post is on Moti’s demand.
Moti has one younger sister and one younger brother of her own, while I have one younger sister. In Moti’s family, rakshabandhan is a major festival and apart from her own brother, she has several cousin brothers to celebrate the festival with. Still, going with the trend Moti, a couple of others and myself tied a rakhi each on Bro’s wrist. In return, we got our gifts and were very happy. But actually that was the start of our unhappiness. ‘Raksha’ means protect and ‘Bandhan’ means relation. So basically rakhi is tied on a brother’s wrist symbolically asking him to protect us at all times. And the problem was Bro took his job of a brother very very seriously. Bro does not have any sister of his own, only a kid brother. His mother used to invite us (his rakhi sisters) over to their place for lunch and treated us really well. She even gave us gifts on his behalf. His mother is a real sweet lady and we never understood how her son turned out to be such an annoying creature.
Bro turned into a full-time brother in no time. Since we were in the same class, Bro would keep an eye on us. I have to admit, we did a lot of mischief and played a lot of pranks on him too. He would observe how we behaved so that he could lecture us later. He would advice us on everything about school and life. While in tuition classes after school, Bro would give us lectures on friendship and relationships. He was jealous when we spend time with our guy friends and ask us why we need so many friends and that best friends are always few. And after the tuition classes, his consistent irritating lectures continued over the telephone. There was a time when I told my family to tell him that I am not at home when he called.
Gradually, Moti and I started avoiding him. His other ‘rakhi sisters’ were not bothered much by him. It seemed that we two were his favourite sisters, or I should say victims. And avoiding him was not at all easy for us. At school, he would face us and ask us emotionally why we were avoiding him and what had he done. It was pathetic.
After the Xth standard, most of us went off to different institutes for higher secondary studies. Moti and I went to the same college and fortunately for us Bro went to a different school. But again we could not escape him for long for we had one common tuition class and of course there was the dreaded telephone calls. During one such telephone call, I could not bear his irritating advice anymore and told him what a irritating jackass he was. And unbelievably he replied, “Tell me more about my negative qualities so that I can work on them”. I was speechless.
On one new year’s eve, he came to our house. But my sister, I and our common friends had gone a picnic nearby. Ma told him that I would not back anytime soon. But he said he would still wait. After sometime, she treated him with some snacks. He had them but still did not leave. Ma again told him that I would not be home soon. But he continued to wait. Finally when it was almost evening, he left.
Among all the painful memories Moti and I have of Bro, we do have a hilarious memory. We had a close friend who relocated to a different town when we were in the IXth standard. And there was a rumour that Bro was quite friend of her. So so too decided to jump into the bandwagon of Bro’s sisters and posted us a rakhi to be given to him. I remember the day well. It was a bright sunny day and the sky was clear. There were several young trees in our school and we decided to meet Bro near one of those as it was a warm day. The moment we handed over the envelope containing the rakhi to Bro, there was a loud thunder! I swear it was real. Moti can testify. Believe me. It was like a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie. It was hilarious.
Now how did I escape his vicious brotherly affections. It was very easy. After my XIIth, I left my home state for graduation. But Moti continued to study in the same town and so did Bro. When I got a cell phone in the new place, Bro used to call me. I used to pretend that there was a signal problem and say that I could not hear him. Sometimes I would put the phone under the mattress and sit on it. And poor Moti had to bear the burnt of the actions. Bro would tell her that I had changed and blah blah. Moti is too good in character and simply could not resort to immoral tactics like me. So she put up with his lectures for a considerable time. But may be Bro finally found other things to do in life and stopped bothering her. Subsequently Moti also moved to a different town for higher studies and saved herself. The last we heard was that he had got a girlfriend. I wish well for her.
After all these years, Moti and I still have a good laugh when we talk about him. Although it seems to be funny now, it did not feel so then. I can not say that I behaved quite well with him at the end but believe me there was no better way to do it. He was long time headache and I needed a cure. I do not have a blood brother, but after meeting him I did not have any wish left for any kind of brother.