Aditi Wardhan Singh

Wistful Hands

Two hands touching.
One hand bigger than the other.
To Guide.
Hold on when the other falters.
Caress to show it cares.
Twirl when the rhythm allows.
Slap away in frustration.
Tickle for a giggle.

When we were small, I would align our hands together and say,” See, how big my hand is than yours ?” He laughed as his eyes sparkled with glee.

Slowly but surely, his hand kept getting bigger. The joy he found in aligning our hands together and saying, “See, my hand is getting bigger.” became something we shared for an instant smile.

Years passed by, we separated, reunited and did it again. “My hand is finally bigger than yours now.” I grinned delighted.

Over the years, he grew up from being someone I led around to someone I lean on. He is my little brother. My first baby. The one whose name I take by mistake instead of my child’s many times a day.

When we met the last time, we did it again. And then he did it to my son. “See, how much bigger my hand is than yours?” My son laughed.

And now the 5 year old does it to his 2 year old sister. Teaching her a silly practice that his mom and her brother did that connects them to this day.

Every year as the Rakhi day approaches, I get wistful about tying a pretty little thread around my baby brother’s wrist. I think fondly of all those siblings who have silly practices and secrets they share that are their’s alone. That have no meaning to those who don’t understand the significance of an act that holds a gentle place in the hearts of those who share it and the magic to take them flying through time to when they shared a childhood. A gesture or moment  they may pass onto their children in the hope that it brings the next generation closer as it does them.

My brother

So is the hope for this festival that mainly constitutes a simple act of a sister tying a thread on the wrist of her brothers’ wrist to celebrate their love and duty (loyalty, protection, care) towards each other. It’s heartening how over the years it has transcended into a one when people honor their relationship : the laughter, the memories, the mischief, the fights, the tears shared. Sisters tie it to each other, daughters to fathers, mothers to sons, friends to friends they consider siblings even. This day holds within it the promise of togetherness.


Happy Rakshabandhan to all those who choose to celebrate the sacred bond they share every single day in the little things they do for each other !

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