My Dearest Veer,
I haven’t tied a rakhri on your wrist for over a decade now. I’ve heard the pain in your voice when you remind me of this fact. I can see the distance you feel exists between us. We recall childhood memories together: our failed attempts at playing hide-and-seek, the fights we had over who would get to ride my tricycle, our agreement with each other when we needed to tell lies, walking to the pind’s shop and filling our pockets with candies, divvying up the baby farm animals amongst ourselves, and walking around the house with a step-stool on our heads and having pretend akhand paaths. These were the days when I religiously tied a rakhri on your wrist because I knew our grandparents would give us money. Rakhri tied, money in hand, I flew out of the house with arms outstretched and a bright smile.
As we got older, we became each other’s confidantes and advisors. I taught you how to focus on your future, pushing you into college and dealing with the drama you always managed to create. You allowed me to vent, listened to my dreams, and made me feel like the most special person around you. We still had fights—sometimes not talking for days—but we remained partners in crime. I stopped tying a rakhri on your wrist around this time, knowing that it wasn’t a Sikh custom.
Today, you’re a young man I am proud to introduce you as my brother and I’ve grown into a woman with aspirations and a strong sense of self. Life has taught me many lessons and those lessons give me the courage to look others in the eye rather than shying away. I have a mind and I can give voice to the ideas within it without trembling. I carry myself with grace, proud of being Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s daughter. With my kirpan at my side and my Guru’s amrit in my soul, I am capable of addressing threats with a loud roar and a swift blow. If you’re a lion, your sister is nothing less than a lioness. I see the rakhri today and I know we don’t need it to tie us together. With its shimmering beads and golden threads, the rakhri will create a bond that may break as the winds and weathers change direction. One day your wife will remind you that I’m cheating you by giving you something worth only a few coins in exchange for new suits, jewels, or money. This thread may turn me from your best friend into a burden, someone who looks to you for every little thing in life. I’m not that sister, my dearest veer, and I don’t want you to be that brother either. Accept this letter as my apology if you choose, but for me, this is a contract of our everlasting bond.
With a lifetime of love,
Navdeep Kaur is a Sikh American writer currently obtaining her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from San Jose State University. More of her work can be viewed at http://aarsi-reflections.blogspot.com/ or connect with her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorkaur.