Many years ago, on rakhi, my sister and I used to wake up early on a holiday, dress in our best salwaars and wait for our brothers. Or wait to visit them. We used to do the whole traditional thing of rakhi, mithai, teeka, paisa.. We used to eat awesome food, there was so much love and laughter and happiness. Blood was thicker than water. Now my brothers, and I will not call them cousins, are all over the place. And none in my city. Some of them, I talk to on rakhi. Some I haven’t spoken to in a while. Rakhis are booked online, they are all only a phone call, a family wedding, a chance meeting, a reunion, or a facebook like away. I miss them. I miss the festivity that gave us something to look forward to in our laid back, boring home towns. Money did not come on salary day, but it did come on Rakhi. I did not “own” a car, it was my parents’. I did not wear branded clothes, we didn’t have too many of those back home when I was growing up. But there was just so much warmth. I had no freedom, but I had a lot of love. The kind of love that comes from years of familiarity and belonging and shared history and inside jokes. Blood is
thicker than water.
I am not sure if I would want to trade places now, if I would ever want to go back to those times if I had the choice. Now there is a lot of freedom and a different kind of warmth that comes from knowing that our pasts are behind us and we have a present and future that is our own. There is more individuality than I could dream of then. Funny, that rakhi is alway so close to independence day. It is as if the dates remind us of what is at stake when nostalgia strikes.
But nostalgia does have a charm of its own. Those times look just so much nicer, more beautiful than they would have if things had not changed so much and I had not come so far away from it all.
I miss those growing up years. I miss the times when neighbours used to come home for chai. But I don’t want to give up what I have now. The trade offs. They make lives the legends they are. The things you give up to get what you really want, not live with only what you inherited.
Life, it is an interesting little thing.