It is no secret for my near and dear ones and for those who read my articles regularly that of late, I am always on the lookout for ways to connect with our Armed Forces or to be a part of any initiative that involves their families.
So as the day of Rakshabandhan got closer, I approached a dear friend at DESH about sending Rakhis. I was a bit late in doing so. Nevertheless, she suggested that why don’t I try and approach a unit in my city. Initially, I was clueless about whom to approach. Luckily, through some other contacts, I was able to get the number of the person concerned. Thus, began the journey of trying to celebrate Rakshabandhan with our dear Faujis.
Despite having visited Indian Military Academy, Officers’ Training Academy and Paraplegic Rehabilitation Center, this was my first experience of tying Rakhis to Armed Forces’ Personnel. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous and wished that everything would go well. Plus there were minor issues about the others who were joining in and the most integral part of our lives in these months; rains.
But good intentions always have Divine support and so all was well. Finally, the D day arrived. We were to be present at the Unit at 0800 and we i.e. me, Pratibha, Prabha, her daughter and Reshmi were there. Firstly, we had to finish the formalities of entering the premises. Then we were led to the Sarva Dharma Sthala. This is a sight that will be etched in my mind, for long. A room, which has the most important aspects related to all religions, all Gods under one roof, in unison, where all of us had covered our head as a mark of reverence, irrespective of which religion we belonged to.
Each of us applied tilak on the forehead of our Fauji brothers, tied a Raksha Sutra to them and offered them sweets. Towards the end, they too offered a box of sweets to each of us. We also presented them with a hand made card, created by a person suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Extremely commendable that she was able to do this, at the last moment, despite her condition.
In spite of doing all that they do, the hardships that they face, they were thankful to us for having taken out the time to celebrate Rakshabandhan with them. It was such a small gesture and they made us feel as if we did something out of this world. I realized, that our Faujis are always content with just the love and support that they get from their countrymen.
During our conversation, they also told us that their last posting had been at a place where the network was restricted and for those 2 years, their festivals had been without even any communication from their families. Not only that, they themselves would tie Rakhi to each other. And to know, that we did our bit on a festival day seems like a blessing. There was no grandeur attached to this, nothing catchy or showy yet it has been etched in our minds forever. We were then escorted till the gate and while leaving, one of them saluted us. Boy oh boy! We felt like VIPs.
It has been almost 2 decades since I tied Rakji to anyone and today I did. Probably, there maybe others who come in and tie Rakhis like this every year and we were just one among those. For us, it was definitely a ‘one of a kind’ Rakshabandhan.
These men may not be celebrities but they are no less than Heroes for us. What better way can we ask to celebrate our Rakshabandhan than tying a Raksha Sutra to the Rakshaks?