OCT 28, 2011, Kathmandu, Nepal – As All the Nepalese brothers and sisters are celebrating the Bhai Tika, the last day of the second largest festival of Nepal and a day for expressing filial love to one’s brothers and sisters, is perhaps the most cherished day of Tihar. But what if you are a brother without a sister and have spent many Bhai tikas over the years feeling left out?
All you sister less brothers out there needn’t feel the Bhai Tika blues any longer for Anjali Maskey, also known as Anjali Didi, will be extending all her sisterly warmth to you the same way she has been doing for the past 14 years. Continuing her tradition, Anjali Didi is all set to organize a grand Bhai Tika celebration at the Kasthamandap house in Basantapur Durbar Square tomorrow, the official date for Bhai Tika this year.
Maskey, 67, who hails from Tahachal Kathmandu, had great love for religious cultures and rituals since childhood. She comes from a well-off family and already has an elder brother of her own. However, when she realized that there were many people in Kathmandu who could not celebrate Bhai Tika because they did not have a sister or are away from their sisters, she decided to share her love with them on this special occasion. “The only thing I regret is the fact that I started this program just some years ago. I could have shared my happiness with many more brothers if I started a bit earlier,” she says.
Anjali Didi is a true sister as she does not discriminate people on the basis of their social status, ethnicity, caste or nationality. For her, Bhai Tika each year serves to increase the number of brothers she has, like an extended family. When she started the campaign in 1998, she had over hundred brothers receive the Tika from her that very day.
This year, Maskey has prepared gifts and Tika for 208 brothers. “This is just my preparation, but I would not let go of anyone who comes to me with an empty forehead,” she says compassionately.
Apart from having Nepali brothers, Didi has also received blessings from brothers of various nationalities including the US, the UK, Australia, Germany and Japan each year. However, Didi does not expect any gift— in cash or otherwise—from any of them in return. “My brothers from foreign countries express great happiness and pleasure during the Tika program,” she says. “I have found great appreciation from them towards Nepali culture, and that sentiment is enough for me.”
A great devotee of Guru Goraknath, Didi has always been active in the field of social work; she has been providing food and clothing to the poor and neglected patients at the Bir Hospital for the past 22 years.
Right before Tihar, Didi’s days are hectic in preparations for Bhai Tika, which she looks forward to eagerly each year. “I get great satisfaction from blessing those who come seeking for me with a Tika,” adds the sister of many, who spends around Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 each year for this novel initiative.
The Bhai Tika programme will commence from 1:00pm on the premises of the Kasthamandap Temple on Friday.
Bhai Tika festival is regarded as the sacred of love between brothers and sisters and it’s the original tradition of Nepal.