Can’t help thinking about the events around this time, last year……..give or take a few days here and there! Rakshabandhan was around the corner and as usual I was in high spirits as this is one of my favourite festivals. Don’t really know what it is about this occasion, considering the same rituals are followed year after year, yet I get overcome with emotion and look forward to spending time with my crazy brother and going through the motions all over again! By the way, I am the younger one and so am constantly harassed or pampered in turns by my brother and so I say ‘crazy brother’!
But last year, we almost didn’t celebrate Rakshabandhan. You see, my brother is a cadet with the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla. So he comes home only during his scheduled holidays or has to take permission/ leave if required to come in between. Having got his leave sanctioned for 3 days and all his preparations done, he was most excited to be coming back home for the festival. But as luck would have it, 2 days before Rakshabandhan, he injured his foot quite badly during one of his intense academy drills and was strictly advised to take complete bedrest for 3 days. This was totally unexpected and really depressing…………. for him, as well as for me, when he called to inform about the misfortune. It was obvious, that he couldn’t afford to run around immediately on that foot thereafter and so we had to accept that I would not be able to tie a Rakhi for him that year.
My father saw how upset both of us were and decided to take matters into his hand without giving us an inkling of what he was upto! He called up my brother’s superiors at the Academy, requested permission for me and my mother to visit my brother and also made special arrangements for us to be picked up from Pune and taken to the Academy. He had requested that this be kept as a surprise for my brother.
As this was really short notice, he decided that the most feasible and cost-effective way to travel would be by bus. So, like my brother, he logged onto abhibus.com and booked our tickets on a comfortable luxury bus from Baroda to Pune for the next day. Everything was a rush…..but my mom and I were thrilled with his idea and dashed around to get everything ready for the next day.
We boarded the bus at 8.30 am next morning, had a peaceful and comfortable ride and reached Pune well in time at around 7.40 pm that day. One of my brother’s cadet friends was waiting at the bus dropping point to pick us up. It took us 50 mins to reach the Academy at Khadakwasla and after the entrance formalities, we were directly taken to his room. I will never forget the look on my brother’s face as we entered! He was shocked, surprised and almost pinched himself to check if he was dreaming. After he realized it was actually us, he was overtaken by emotion and looked like he would almost cry but guess, he managed to control himself in time after seeing the grin and cockiness on my face. After all the hugs and teasing, we spent a wonderful evening together chatting and catching up with everything.
Rakshbandhan happened beautifully. My brother was really touched that I came all the way down to the Academy to tie him a rakhi. Of course, I couldn’t resist teasing him that after all, it was me protecting and taking care of him instead of the other way around. That was one memorable year and will remain etched in our memory forever.
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