Life Hacks from Agony Akka Columns

Rakhing along

Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi  

Dear Agony Akka,

It has been little more than a month since the festival of Rakhi. But on that day, I was left to wander around the city, searching for peace and happiness, which was missing at home. My brother had forgotten the special day and gone off to play cricket early morning onwards. My mother went off to visit her brother, but that did not go well either. Mama-ji gave her only ₹500. I was left holding a silk-thread rakhi and a brass plate with laddoos, waiting for my cricket-mad brother to come home. So I set out for a lonely walk to ponder on life’s injustices. Why have these valuable customs been rendered to mere formalities in today’s times? How can we revive these great traditions?

— Sad & Ignored Sibling

Dear SIS,

I hope you ate a few laddoos before leaving the home because it is never a good idea to embark upon sad and lonely walks on an empty stomach. You never know when you will get into the urge to burst into a sentimental number like ‘Bhaiyaa Mere Rakhi Ke Bandhan Ko Nibhana’ sung by Nanda in film Chhoti Behen. Such songs celebrating brothers can take the mickey out of you, energy-wise. A laddoo or two keeps you going.

I guess you were loading the plate to feed your brother in the hope that he would burst into ‘Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka’, the iconic song sung by doting brother to sister in Hare Rama Hare Krishna, but you might have been a bit too optimistic. Unless it’s something really urgent, like Board exam or death, men cannot be dragged away from cricket. I have seen them surreptitiously checking their phones to catch the score even during funerals. When you are trying to be a future Virat, you cannot waste time on useless sister functions, unless it is for a suiting and shirting ad of course.

Interestingly, there is no similar function in Tamil Nadu. Women are tying threads of many colours on their own wrists and necks to save husbands, but nothing to save brothers as far as I know, although laddoos are being consumed in enormous quantities nevertheless. And why not, I say. Long live laddoos. And barfi. And halwa.

Speaking of which, in Tamil there is one saying called “giving halwa”, which basically means taking someone for a ride. I suspect that while you were waiting for brother with laddoo, your brother was giving you halwa. Hahaha, don’t mind, I am only joking. But you must realise that tying bejewelled twine to brother’s wrist and waiting for him to come and eat laddoo and pledge protection is a bit of a joke. For example, when you fall in love with man from another caste, this same brother won’t protect you but will use cricket bat to beat both you and boyfriend to death.

But there is also one great quid pro quo happening in this function. You can tie rakhi and feed laddoos to any neighbourhood louts or college Romeos and claim that they are your ‘brothers’, whereupon they magnanimously agree to stop leering at you. An ingenious arrangement, like how footpath vendors have to give hafta to gangsters for protection.

Meanwhile, I would not worry too much about Rakhi function dying out. Like other meaningless days — Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Virus Day — a thriving consumer industry has sprung up around this custom as well. But if you want your brother to substitute his square leg with a long arm, you will have to up the ante. Buy him a Swarovski rakhi and fill brass plate with Godiva chocolates.

— AA

agony.akka@gmail.com


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 4:43:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/rakhing-along/article36644585.ece

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