Monday, August 27, 2007

The Fake Rakhi Brother

Rakhi, quite clearly, is a north Indian festival. Much like how nobody, up north, knows what the hell Karthigai is, there is less(er) awareness of Rakhi down south. Rakhi is actually a wonderful festival, which gives a lot of opportunity to express brother-sister affection. The biggest reason for me to like Rakhi was that it successfully kept out any notions of "Sisters Day" from creeping into our lives. Not having a full-fledged Rakhi did not mean that 'sisters' in south India never collected money from their brothers. The above-mentioned Karthigai and Pongal was vasool-time for sisters. So its not as if the land of 'Pasamalar' didn't have any time for bro-sis affection. It just wasn't celebrated with an explicit function. However, Rakhi had a very different context in Madras colleges, at least during my time. This post intends to uncover that dark seedy alternate version of Rakhi that I suspect may not be uncommon at all through out India. Before I set off, a disclaimer; This irreverence towards a honestly celebrated function means no disrespect to real blood brothers and sisters, who probably truly celebrate rakhi. This, as I said, is a commentary on the alternate rakhi.
I never had a sister. So I never had anybody (except a cousin who tied it 1 year) tie Rakhi for me. Frankly, I never missed it. I didn't like Pasamalar and wasn't a big fan of bro-sis relationship either. However, I always looked forward to Rakhi every year. That was because I was extremely amused by the nonsense that passed off in my college/surroundings in the name of Rakhi. Girls tied rakhi to boys who weren't really related to them. The said boy and girl didn't even look alike. Somehow this provided my cynical mind much mirth. Because the reasons for them becoming a fake rakhi sibling was always terribly funny. I was never a big fan of 'he is like my brother' or 'she is like my sister'. To me if you didn't have a sister, and I didnt have one, that was it. No point in trying to replace it with a robot, imaginary dream sister, cat, dog or some girl who turned you down.
Usually, though to be fair, not always, when the concerned man woman weren't related at all, the rakhi brother-sister relationship was an ikky one. Very shady to be precise. One of those vazha-vazha kozha-kozha things that made you wanna throw up. If somebody were working on the world's biggest loser thesis, they needn't go further than the fake Rakhi-brother. Such a relation usually meant the following things to me (a) the guy was interested in the ugly-rakhi-sister's friend so wilfully agreed to be part of this circus (b) the guy proposed to the girl, was turned down and the girl tied a rakhi on his hand to shut him out forever. The latter was most common. Infact a week before rakhi, the college would start gossiping if a particular girl would tie rakhi to her stalker or not. Some guys even went to the extent of bunking college just to escape the Rakhi love-gulliotine. Love is already a hard thing on the adolescent guy. The worst thing he wants to happen is have his chic end up as his rakhi sister. Typically a 'love' intent had several end states. It could be (a) he loves -> he proposes -> she accepts (b) he loves -> he proposes -> she rejects (c) he loves -> he proposes -> she rejects -> she suddenly accepts later (d) he loves -> he proposes -> he unfortunately become rakhi brother; and finally (e) he loves -> he proposes -> he-becomes-rakhi-brother -> -he-miraculously-becomes-lover-again -> she-accepts. Of the five possibilities option (d) is the worst because (e) is a non-zero possibility lingering like a carrot but very hard to achieve. Its hard to over-turn a rakhi-brother situation. At that time the girl definitely has an upper hand.
From a girl's point of view, it wasn't as if rakhi was an iron clad protector against the romeo. The guy is typically embarrassed, caught in an awkward situation. His friends are giving out sympathetic smiles and he isn't sure if he detected sarcasm in those smiles or not. He is pretty sure, his own rakhi-sister is secretly laughing her ass off, when she is with her friends telling them how she gave the proverbial nose-cut. Its not an enviable situation, to be honest. The loser who was unfortunate enough to get slapped with a Rakhi isn't going to just roll over and die. He hangs on because being a Rakhi brother is better than being an ex-communicated friend. I have actually seen loser-fake-rakhi brother trying to cool things off during this phase. They get to be this protective brother, pass advise to their loving sister on how they should be wary of these bad evil romeos. Sometimes the guy gets to play Mr. Bodyguard. He talks fondly and fake-affectionately about his rakhi sister, to his friends. He probably doesn't realize that his audience is secretly collecting information only to laugh (really loudly) behind his back. He does all this in the hope that she might, just might, revoke the rakhi sentence imposed on him. And it is true that some men have been successfull in overturning the most difficult love challenge of all. So there is hope for the loser after all.
I hope the youngters of today, the nasty rebel rascals, are continuing to uphold the glorious tradition of yesteryears.


Anonymous said...

How about the fake brother sister relationship that starts when girl starts college. The girl is in 1st year & the boy 1 year senior and 1st encounter is a ragging session. The next time they become anna thangachi! Epdi dhaan mudiyardho...

Karthik Sriram said...

very funny and yeah - I was pretty much irked by some arbit girl coming and asking me if she could tie a rakhi for me - I care two hoots if she ties one or not - but felt funny when some XYZ suddenly becomes your 'sister'! Anyways, this purile behaviour wore off around 9th standard kinds....

Nilu said...

Aren't you a bit too old to be writing this even? It's not funny anymore, you know.

Arvind said...

LOL! :)
So true...

Arksantos said...

Rakhi used to work the other way around. I remember the boys in my class used to collect Rakhis like gemstones. The more you collect, the more you have escaped from "jakku parties" in the class/school. Guess back in 8th/9th std, we had pretty high standards. Antha pavam thaan, I ended up going to all boys schools, colleges and universities after that. Penn pavan pollathathu. Andava!!!

Anonymous said...

In our school, it was totally different... when a girl ties a rakhi to some guy, she would implicitly mean that she actually has a crush on him and she didnt have the guts to say it to him...

btw, i'm from the infamous SBOA School...

Anonymous said...

I hate Pasamalar and Kizhakku Cheemai.

Deepa said...

oh yeah, wasnt this rakhi thing so common? This post brought back funny school memories.

Anonymous said...

no one has approached me with a rakhee in all my zillion years on earth, so I can't relate at all.

The only thing I can think of is that Bhagyaraj movie with the teacher and those oldies..

Anonymous said...

Enna Machi, Romba Experience anna mathiri pesara... ethana peru katnunga unakku crescentla... enna mo poda .....especially ur a,b,c,d,e deserve special plaudits... ;-)

- Ganesh

Hawkeye said...


but did it start during rakhi? athu thaan crucial.


9th standard'a? hmm


that maybe true. but you do agree that this has to be documented in the blog world by somebody. in short - somebody's gotta do it.




ippadi ellarum school level'a rakhi pesaringa. i didnt know of a concept called 'rakhi' in school. appo college neenga ellam 'checks and voilins' thaana.


in SBOA when girls have to propose to boys they say it :-) namma school manatha vaangariye.

jillu madrasi,

kizhakku seemai songs ok sentoment waste. paasamalar waste.


everybody is talking about school level. i am kinda ashamed.


either u were too good or too bad. not between :-)

ganesh babu,

crescent'la penn vaasanaiye illama 4 years kuppai kottina nee, NEE; enkitte ippadi oru kelvi kekara. ithu unakke over'a illai. nera maatuva'ladi unnai gavanichikaren.

Sowmya said...


"\\To me if you didn't have a sister, and I didnt have one, that was it. No point in trying to replace it with a robot, imaginary dream sister, cat, dog or some girl who turned you down.//"

Well said :)

In my views, girls who call the guys as "Anna.." are using those words for security.Nowadays, the trend had completely changed.

Haha ..As you said "vasool kaga than intha pongal , karthikai and rakshabadhan (purely for the blood related sisters) irukave iruke..

For others its just for the security or a chance to express their opinion about those guys whom they tied the rakki

Good post :)

Anonymous said...


Parthiya. Shane Warne ranks Steve Waugh 26th best. Haha.. So much for mental toughness. And our great Tendulkar is no.1. Hurray. For the first time I agree with an expert because he agrees with me.

Hawkeye said...


:-) thanks. but did u see this trend in college/school. the crowd here says school.


the tendulkar part might be ok. but 26th is a low number for s.waugh. but his list is not bad. i agree with most of it. Curtly should have been ahead of Lara.

Anonymous said...

aadhu ennavo therla hawku -- this K'chimayele CD is not available at all in Madras for last 7 yrs. I too love the mujic.

First time, I was hearing Rahman
"seru somande saadi saname..." etc.

It is not even on musicindiaonline na paathuka. Romba too much.

Suraj V said...

There is a rakhi brother-sister pair in my office. This girl is elder to this boy. She is a team lead and he is an entry level software engineer. I guess their rakhi arrangement is so that that they can flirt around freely and profess sisterly or brotherly love.

Valli Doll said...

I have done this too...when I was in school, I tied rakhi to all the guys in my class...bcos they were teasing me with some guy. Didnt want to separately do it to that guy, so tied to everyone. But then the problem was, they would tease with the guy who had refused to get the rakhi tied :P It all seems so silly now! No wonder I relate to your blogs so much :D