Nitali wakes up to a geet a.k.a song playing in their home, and scent of incense entering her room.
Nitali rubs her eyes open, runs to Nihir’s room saying ” Wake up Nihir….It is Raksha Bandhan ( a.k.a bond of protection/care). ….”
Nihir hardly moves, he is fast asleep. Nitali rushes to the bathroom to get ready and help Ba cook delicious food for the day, the last day of the lunar calendar month of Shravaan which usually falls in August.
Nitali is excited, she has made a rakhi for Nihir. She could not wait to tie it on his wrist and give him the card for him in which she had copied a poem by none other than Rabindranath Tagore.
The love in my body and heart
For the earth’s shadow and light
Has stayed over years.
With its cares and its hope it has thrown
A language of its own
Into blue skies.
It lives in my joys and glooms
In the spring night’s buds and blooms
Like a Rakhi-band
On the Future’s hand.
Ba helps her prepare the thali for pooja (plate for worship). She had made a list and order of doing thing:
- Put wet Kanku aka red pigment used to make a tilak or mark on the forehead followed by
- Rice on the wet kanku followed by
- Aarti aka worship with Divo aka lamp, for removal of darkness and conferring protection and wellbeing and then
- Rakhi aka special thread similar to friendship bracelet is tied
- Mithai aka sweets are offered to the brother
Nitali looks for all the items pretending it is a Treasure hunt as she wonders what gift Nihir has for her.
Ba had shared with them the stories of Rakshabandhan and there are many. She sings the age old song from a Hindi movie “Choti Behan” aka little sister as she goes about getting the breakfast ready.
Nani (maternal grandmother) had a story of her own that her great grandmother had told her. In olden times, women were married in distant villages and their parents never visited them. For this celebration, the women travelled back home to tie rakhis to their brothers and visit their parents. The brothers role was to act as intermediaries between the two homes for the daughters as well as stewards of their safety.
As soon as the thali (plate) is ready she goes to Ba and asks to help with making Chocolate Barfi, Nihir’s favorite mithai (sweet). The barfi tastes good, yum, yum, yum..
Once everything is ready, Nitali goes to wake up Nihir one more time. This time he is ready to wake up in no time, he hates Nitali singing the annoying song,
“Jago, utho, thai savar ( Wake up, get up, it is morning)
Pakshi kare kilbilat” (Birds are singing songs)
He goes to get ready. He wears the new clothes that he had laid out the previous night. He creeps down the stairs and hears Ba telling Nitali a story. He sits on the stairs and listens……
This is the story of the wolf a.k.a. Varu and Radha. Once upon a time in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, there was a little girl named Radha…
TO BE CONTINUED, AS THE WOLF AND RADHA