It's my favorite time of year again, the time of year when you get to officially celebrate your siblings! Raksha Bandhan is an Indian festival that comes in the month of August on a full moon day. It is when sisters perform a ceremony and tie a sacred, decorated thread (rakhi) around their brother's wrist to bless them in return for protection and guidance. It is an ancient tradition that has its roots in northern India but is now celebrated nationwide. In the eve of the holiday, I wrote an open letter to all the older brothers and sisters out there, stranger and known, to celebrate this sacred bond of family.
You, older brother and older sister. You are amazing. You are the same as us younger siblings, yet not the same at all. You play the role of a best friend, a teacher, a counselor and even a father and a mother. You put up with the mess of the younger ones and sometimes (or should I say, often) shoulder the blame. You get on us younger siblings' nerves and also let us get on your nerves! But more times than not, we are all partners in crime.
You are truly way better than superheros. You
protect us from the harsh realities of the world by teaching us about it
first hand. But, you let us learn about the good humanity that the world also has to offer. You are there when we hit rock bottom and prevent us
from going down further. You are the only ones who know how to get us
back to our feet again, and fast. But, you are also the ones who "know exactly where to drive the knife to hurt [us] the most!" Nevertheless, you
are a priceless gift given by the heavens and we, younger siblings, will
treasure you forever.
It's because of you we get our awesome tastes in music, books and movies. It's because of you we know how to build forts and explore the woods behind the house. It's because of you we get to know the meaning between true friendship and family. It's because of you that life is colorful and filled with wonders. You are someone to never take for granted, to never be forgotten. Because you are here, we will never know the feelings of loneliness, even if alone. You bear our deepest, darkest secrets and carry the sweet, joy filled memories between us. You are with us from the beginning to the end and beyond in everything and anything, even life itself. To live without you is not an option.
So, on the eve of this holy festival, let's just say it and make it clear to the world: We're brothers and sisters, and no one and nothing can take that away from us. One day, one month or even a whole year of celebrating the bond of sibling-hood is not enough. To be thankful for being able to experience such a sacred relationship with such great individuals, who have been chosen to uphold such a sacred position, cannot be summarized in words or even through actions. It comes from the deepest caverns of the heart and from the core of true love. Happy Raksha Bandhan to all the older brothers and sisters, and know that you are the greatest gift, filled with love, that humankind has ever known.