Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh): A sprawling community hall in the city. There is festivity in the air. Kids prancing around, youngsters in their Sunday best and men and women engrossed in animated discussion.
No, it is not a wedding. It is the Rakshabandhan celebration by the Lad family of the city. As many as 98 members of the family gather at Khandwa every year for celebrating the festival and up to 45 rakhis are tied on each wrist – or shall we say, arm. And the tradition is 16-year-old.
7 brothers, 4 sisters
Vasudev Lad, 70, says that it was due to the values instilled by his late parents Chogalal and Sitadevi that they all continue to be tied with the thread of love. Vasudev is the eldest of his seven brothers and four sisters.
After marriage, the sisters moved to their in-laws place. It was impossible for the brothers to visit all the sisters on one day. Hence, it was decided to celebrate the festival at Khandwa every year. Initially, it was held at their ancestral home but as the number of members increased, they started hiring community halls for the celebration.
The extended family includes the sons, daughters and grandchildren of the seven brothers and four sisters. The guests come from Indore, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Dubai, among other places. Every year, one brother takes up the responsibility of organising the festival.
Says Vasudev Prasad, “Love and cooperation are what make a family and a well-knit family is heaven on earth.”
(Story: Arvind Patel)