The Final Rakhi

short story, rakhi

Raksha Bandhan, or simply Rakhi, is one of the most popular festivals in India. It is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan. The festival commemorates the brother-sister bond and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. I have recorded my experience here as a short story in english. This was part of a story writing competition.

The word Raksha means protection, and Bandhan means bond. On this day, brothers promise to protect their sisters and sisters tie a sacred thread (rakhi) on their brothers’ wrists. This thread is considered to be a symbol of love and protection.

My Brother

My brother and I were not related by blood, but he had always been my brother in every way. He always protected me and had been there for me. As he got older, he increasingly took on the role of protector. I had never seen anyone as supportive as him. This short story in english is an example of

He was quieter, more thoughtful, patient, and wise beyond his years. We were inseparable growing up and we looked out for each other in every way possible. 

I have fond memories of him to this day. Yes, he is no more with me, he was martyred in 1999 fighting the Kargil War. 

The War

Many Indians wanted to join the military during this time as they thought it would be an opportunity to serve their country and make it proud by sacrificing their lives for it. However, most soldiers joined willingly only to sacrifice their lives for their country during this crucial time when India was under attack.

Likewise, my brother has also applied and was recruited. He was 21 and wanted to serve his country. However, he had to leave in June, so he asked me to tie a rakhi on his wrist one last time before he left. 

The Final Rakhi

I still distinctly remember that year the auspicious festival of Raksha Bandhan was to be observed in the month of August.

Yes, it was the last rakhi that I ever tied to someone. Nonetheless, I still think that the war claimed the lives of over 1500 Indian soldiers. I think so many sisters must have lost their brothers, mothers their sons, wives their husbands, and children their fathers.

My Grief

Apart from this, it left lakhs of people homeless and caused heavy losses to the Indian economy. It did cause havoc to the  Indian society, which was deeply affected by this war. Don’t take it as short bedtime stories, for all this is real.

On Raksha Bandhan day that year, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping outside my window. I lazily got out of bed, feeling a little down. It was Raksha Bandhan, a special day for brothers and sisters, but I was feeling anything but festive. 

You see, my brother, the only family I had left, had been martyred in the line of duty just a few weeks ago. I thought of my brother and all the other soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I knew their families were also grieving, and I felt a renewed sense of resolve. We may be feeling pain and loss, but we were not alone.

Considering what these brave soldiers went through during this battle— both physically and emotionally— commemorating them has certainly become more important than ever before in modern India. 

All Indians owe these heroes a great debt of gratitude for sacrificing so much so that future generations could enjoy freedom. They did so not only because they were patriots, but also because they loved their families. They did not want them to experience hardship anymore.

My Learning

There are many things that define us as human beings. We are defined by our relationships with other people. People often refer to these relationships as blood relationships. 

However, a relationship does not have to be defined by blood. Anyone who has ever had a solid relationship with another person can have one with that person’s brother or sister.

My Thoughts

I honor his memory by living my life to the fullest and making every day count. He was the one who always made sure I was safe, even when we were just kids playing in the yard. So when he died, it was like a part of me died too.  This short story in english is in memory of him.

I know he’s in a good place now. I know he’s watching over us and keeping us safe. He’s not really gone, because he’s always with us in our hearts. On this Raksha Bandhan, I will be keeping a rakhi for him as I always do.

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