Desi women around the world have a secret weapon that we have been using for generations it is called “Bhaizoning,” a space where you pigeon hole an unwanted male suitor in by labeling him ‘Bhaiya’ (Brother) and crushing all his hopes for a romance to a pulp.
As a result, most Indian men are scared of the festival of ‘Rakhi’ because of the fear that some girl they have a secret crush on may catch hold of them and tie a Rakhi on their wrist, eventually making them a Bhaiya. I have seen my college Katta which would always be bursting with loafers and creeps catcalling every girl who passed by completely deserted during this time only for them to reemerge in full force during friendship day if it came after Rakhi. Potential suitors have been sacrificed time again via this method, and I don’t think it is going out of fashion anytime soon. It is something we have learned from our aunts, mothers, sisters, friends and passed it on to our daughters to use at their discretion.
Usually, when a sister ties Rakhi to her brother, he also gives her a gift. My brother and I during our adolescent years realized that this was a quick way to make some money to buy comics. So on the day of Rakhi after we were done with our rituals, he would round up all his rowdy friends and force me to tie rakhi to them. This would result in us making a princely sum of 100-150 Rs leading to a comic buying spree, we would come home from our local bookshop laden with a few editions of Chacha Chaudhary, Tinkle, Mandrake, Chandamama and more. And if we had any money left, there was some Chocolate thrown in for good measure.
Of course, our little con was quickly discovered when some of his friends caught on to our scam and then started their own rakhi business with their sisters. Which meant my brother having to now part with the money we would make almost leaving us broke. Sigh our criminal days didn’t last very long. Thankfully common sense prevailed and by the time I became a teenager I realized that I didn’t have to Bhaizone a guy, I could just Friendzone them, which was less painful for both parties involved and ensured that the field was always open in case the feelings and emotions changed. I haven’t tied Rakhi to my real and ONLY brother for a while now, both of us are in different parts of the world away from each other to cook up any schemes to trap unsuspecting victims. But I did make this “Sabudana (Tapioca) kheer in Coconut milk” for him, which was of course eaten by yours truly.
On that note, I hope that you are celebrating the day today with someone who is your brother not just by blood but also the heart. Wishing all the real and Bhaizoned brothers a very Happy Rakhi. May you be safe and protected from the weapons of a desi woman.
Recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, serves 4)
½ cup Tapioca Pearls
1 tin full fat Coconut Milk
1 cup full fat Milk
½ cup Sugar
Almond Flakes & Rose Petals for garnishing
Soak the Tapioca Pearls in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes.
Gently boil them in the water for 10 minutes. They will become gelatinous and stick to the pan, so keep stirring.
Strain the water and pearls in a colander in cold water and leave them in the water.
Heat the usual Milk in a pan, once it comes to a boil, add the Cardamoms and Sugar and let the Sugar dissolve.
Add the Coconut Milk in the pan and cook on a low flame. DO NOT INCREASE the flame or it will split. Cook for 10 minutes.
Drain the water from the Topiaco and add the Tapiaco in the milk and cook on a low flame for 15 – 20 minutes till they double in size.
Remove from the flame and chill in glasses, garnish with Almond flakes and rose petals. Serve chilled.