Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Raksha Bandhan and family myths

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters in India. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore made Raksha Bandhan popular in West Bengal by organising congregations like Rakhi Mahotsavs in Shantiniketan.
Tagore’s vision of celebrating Raksha Bandhan was different. Gurudev considered Rakhi to be a festival of not only siblings but also a celebration of mankind and of humanity. He believed that all members of society should help and protect each other. This technically did not bar women from tying rakhis to other women.
Oddly, we do not celebrate Rakhsha Bandhan because of some myth that runs in our family. A rakhi tied on a boy’s wrist in our family is not considered auspicious and is supposed to bring in all kinds of ill luck to the wearer. Sounds like old wives’ tale but I grew up on such stories since my childhood quite like the one from my grandmother that goes like how my forefathers who had once had rakhis tied on their wrists was badly affected and messed up. I don’t know how true or false these stories are but the fact is that in the Bhutoria family it is like a convention that rakhis are not to be tied on boys.
Raksha Bandhan day today, however, brought me a special gift for which I had been waiting for seven months now. Around noon, I received a parcel from Rajkamal Prakashan, one of the top publishing house of Hindi books in India, that had two copies of my first book - a compilation of my two years of published articles.
About seven or eight years back I used to pen a weekly column on my travels and overseas experiences called Aapbiti Jagbiti (picture of book cover) in the Indian Express Group’s Hindi daily Jansatta. The travelogues were very popular with the readers and more so since there were hardly much matter available in Hindi on foreign travels then. I got thousands letters from readers most of it congratulatory while others were were inquiries about new countries.
When I was in Seoul earlier this year, I wrote an author’s view for this book and now, after almost seven months, I have it in my hand. Though a little late, I am very thankful to Rajkamal Prakashan for finding the articles worth publishing. How I miss my mother today. She always wanted me to write as she had herself written over two-dozen books. She would have been happier than I today.
ess bee

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