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Today is the Brother’s Day – in Bengal it is called Bahi Phota.(tilak for the brother) Ruhani (11 yrs) and Rianna (6yrs) ,my two grand daughters are busy since morning, getting ready for the event. This day sisters put tilak, of sandal wood paste on the forehead of their brothers. Three times they would put this tilak, while chanting a small wish “I put this tilak on the forehead of my brother, let this tilak work as the thorn on the path of the evil”. Thereafter the sisters would offer sweets, always odd in number… three or five or seven . After this, brothers will offer a small gift to the sisters… in our house it is usually a small chocolate !
A round stone, normally used to make sandal paste, and the small sandal-wood stick were taken out from the family box, . Ruhani kept on rubbing this stick on the stone, after sprinkling a bit water on the stone. This is indeed a laborious process to attain a little paste.
Then Ruhani collected some more items to complete the rituals. Collecting a bit of tender green grass, paddy, a diya. Then on a plate the sandal paste, grass, paddy were placed. The diya was lit.
The Big Brother Rijul was seated on a mat. A cousin brother Jijo also joined. Then Ruhani and Rianna completed the rituals. The grass and the paddy were placed on the head of the younger ones, as a mark of blessings.Then the sweets were offered to the brothers. Brothers picked up one or two, and, the rest of the sweets were distributed among all present to witness the event.
A little later Subhadip- the brother of Srichandra took the tilak, and, he was blessed with grass and paddy on the head by his sister.
Finally it was my turn, I too was given a tilak by Smriti….. and of course I ate a lot of sweets !