Gomathi Suresh, 55, who is a mathematics teacher in a school in Delhi, waits for Raksha Bandhan every year to revisit her bond with her brother R Hariharan, 53, who is working as a chartered accountant in Toronto, Canada.
Hariharan and Gomathi might have been apart for decades but the jokes haven't died out.
Hariharan has been in Canada for 12 years. “Hari doesn’t miss a chance to pull my leg even after all this time. He continues to forget my birthday all the time and accuses me of changing it every year. It’s an ongoing joke between us," she says. Recounting the days they lived together in her parental home, she says, “Coming from a middle class background, we experienced hardship. It binds us together.... I know I will always have him by my side.”
Now, Gomathi makes sure their mother, Susila, ties Hari the rakhi every year on her behalf.
Sweena Khanna, 26, who lives in Swindon, the UK, has a brother, Kunal Khanna,17, who is a Class 12 student in Strawberry Fields World School in Chandigarh. “Even though he is nine years younger to me, I value his opinion. We share much with each other.”
Sweena and Kunal are very close inspite of their age gap of 9 years.
Sweena got married this year in July and planned to ensure her brother did not miss his sister’s rakhi on his wrist this year. “This is the first time I am celebrating rakhi away from home. Before I left Chandigarh, I had handed over the rakhi to my mother for Kunal. I really miss him and plan on see him on Skype on the festive day," she says.
Never far apart
Himanshi Bhardwaj, 27, who lives in Minneapolis in the US, is also celebrating her first rakhi away from home. Her brother, Prashant Bhardwaj, 21, studies at Panjab University. “This will be my first Rakhi away from India and I am going to miss my brother very much.” She says that distance has only deepened their relationship, “After marriage, he stood by me through thick and thin.”
Himanshi uses Skype regularly to be in touch with her brother Prashant.
Himanshi says that in spite of the distance, Skype has made things much easier. “I will be able to see him and that will have to do for now. I sent my rakhi through priority mail international as I wanted it to reach him in time at any cost.” Siblings in the US, London and Canada struggle to ensure the festival is celebrated even if they are several time zones apart, keeping alive the behen-bhai ka rishta.