My officemates, who were mostly men, began wearing colorful beaded strings, some with intricate knots and ties. Not sure if it was a local fad like loom bands in the Philippines right now, but I just passed it off as a normal thing and didn’t ask questions.
I was fortunate to be in India in August last year when a chain of festivities was just about to begin. Though I was there for technical training, class lectures included all about the Indian culture – and that was always the best part of the day. My main mentor asked if I noticed them wearing राखी rakhis or the stringed bracelets that hung from their wrists. And that’s when I first heard of रक्षा बंधन Raksha Bandhan – a Hindu festival that celebrated the bond between brothers and sisters. During this season, sisters give their brothers bracelets and gifts as a symbol of their relationship – something like friendship bracelets, only more traditional and well-celebrated.
As I walked around the mall to buy dinner that night, I noticed that the stores were indeed selling rakhi of all kinds. In envelopes, tied on cards, in quaint little boxes and some as standalone strings, plain and simple – but nonetheless meaningful. It would have been great to give some out as gratitude to my brothers and share a lovely foreign tradition, but I have none.
Now that I think about it though, I do have lots who looked after me in Mumbai and continuously guide me at work up to this day. Happy Raksha Bandhan, Brothers! 🙂