Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cornered heroines saved by the rakhi

Rakshabandan passed off peacefully for me this year. Er… actually it has been pretty peaceful for me for many, many years.
Whatte sad considering that a group of us girls used to unleash terror in the college campus with this one tiny chit of a rope called Rakhi. Boys used to duck or run and hide at our sight or do “mass absent” on the day of Rakshabandan, lest we made brothers out of these Romeos. Most boys found Rakshabandan day a public nuisance. This festival never did cut much edge with us south Indians because: i) It is the exact opposite of Valentine’s Day;
ii) Who wanted any more sisters than what they were already enduring at home? iii) There was this tofa to be given; iv) And this girdle on hand (and heart) meant a full stop to all lecherous activities vis-a-vis the one who tied the rakhi.
It was only the very good and very boring boys who came in flapping and flailing in full-arm shirts to proudly roll back their sleeves and flaunt rows and rows of glittering rakhis and their sisterly conquests. But for their pants one would have thought they were modelling for GRT’s “Bangle Mela”.
Frankly, we Dravidians never needed something as overt as a cord to show-and-tell the sibling bonding, for in our download of Tamil cinema tradition one just had to say “Anna” (elder brother) at room temperature for the man to melt and immediately adopt you as his sister. I don’t know about the rest, but this is how MGR, Sivaji, Jaishankar, Rajinikanth and T Rajendar obtained dozens and dozens of sisters for themselves and uniformly called them all “thangachchi”.
It is the weekly Hindi movies (telecast on Saturdays on DD) which introduced us to the necessity of a non-verbal signage (aka rakhi) to seal the brother-sister relationship.
“Main lawaris hoon (I am an orphan),” wept Amitabh Bachchan in a movie.
Immediately the blind girl in the hut tied a rakhi and said, “Tum ab mere bade bhai ho (now you are my elder brother)”. Same scene would have wound up with just one word “anna” down here in the south. But who’s listening? Considering that rakhis are here to stay, I just got an idea. Usually heroines in Tamil movies cringe and start walking backwards when the villain approaches them with a thali (mangalsutra), for if he managed to tie that cord around her neck, she would have to be his wife. I suggest the heroine get a rakhi and walk forward menacingly in the direction of the villain brandishing this weapon of hers, threatening to make him her brother. And whoever ties first will decide the nature of the relationship. If both tie it simultaneously, then well, it’s a tie, a bad pun and a typical K Balachandar movie situation. “If I am your sister and you my husband, then what are our children to you and me?”
My friend Geetha was notorious for her appropriation of rakhis. Every boy she knew was her rakhi brother. Alternately, if she wanted to get to know a boy, she would approach him with a rakhi. “Safe opening, safe closure,” she’d grin. Once her best friend was hitting on someone tall and attractive. “Who’s Keerthana talking to?” she asked. “Why don’t you take a rakhi to him, find out, and introduce your brother to me?” I asked. She burnt me to cinders with a contemptuous glance.
This year, two days after Rakshabandan I sent a bulk sms to all my male friends saying, “Sorry, I forgot to send you a rakhi the day before. You are welcome to send me the gifts.” Not one scoundrel bothered to reply to it, except one scallywag who said, “Then please receive this one thousand kisses I am sending you as a gift.”

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