Society

Raksha bandhan is here!

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The bond of love and protection is getting expressed with fancier gifts.

Raksha Bandhan is a day away and sisters and brothers are busy buying rakhis and gifts for each other. Several fancy stores in the city have stocked the basic varieties of rakhis for the festival. From the simple red thread that always carried the powerful message of love and protection between siblings, the rakhis have also got bigger, more colourful, decorative and ornamental. For kids there are special ones based on their favourite cartoon characters.

The gifts that people buy for the occasion have also come a long way. Apart from the simple goodies and mithais that were an expression of love and affection, perfumes, watches, dresses and jewellery have also joined the list, as a show of class and glamour. More people these days pick up luxury and utility products as gifts for rakhi. And most people buy and parcel them online. Shopping websites are abuzz with a number of innovative gift items for the occasion.

“Families and relatives are now scattered across the world. So, the best way to cherish the bond is to send gifts to each other,” says Bandana Matharu who is missing her brother living in Australia. She has parcelled him a designer tie this year. “Last time, he sent me an Apple i-phone in return. And when something arrives wrapped in a parcel, the surprise quotient is more,” she says.

Moby Pahwa who lives in Canada, usually receives his rakhi few days after the festival yet he wears it with as much love and happiness. “Sometimes, I choose a gift a week before and have it delivered to my sister. Other times, I forget the occasion until I get a call from home,” he says. “But the excitement is always there. Once, I gifted my sister a vanity case and another time, I simply sent her chocolates.”

“There are web portals exclusively for rakhi gifts. They offer rakhi thalis that contain all the essentials like the rakhi, kumkum, a diya, the shagun envelope with money in it, sweets and mishri,” says Suman Goyal, who sent across one of the thalis to her brother in Bangalore via send-rakhi.com. In Madurai, the sizeable population of Marwaris and Gujaratis celebrate rakhi with much fervour. “Though we migrated here generations ago, we still keep the tradition intact,” says Shipra Bhati, an old-timer who believes that festivals should be celebrated the traditional way. “I make sure, I meet all my brothers in person and tie rakhi on their wrist. I am lucky my entire family lives in the same city.”

Though Raksha Bandhan is a North Indian festival, many South Indians have also embraced it. Shreya Hariharan, a Keralite based in Bangalore, ties rakhi to her younger brother and a few others in her compound. “In big cities, we celebrate all festivals,” she says. “I also tie rakhi to colleagues in office and boys of my age who live in the neighbourhood. However, we don’t do all the rituals involved. We only exchange little gifts and my little brother looks forward to the occasion.”

Says Karishma Rajaani, a choreographer based in Madurai, “Though Rakhi is a celebration of the brother-sister relationship, I celebrate it with my elder sister since I don’t have a brother. We sisters tie rakhi to each other and exchange gifts.” Karishma also ties rakhi to her six cousin brothers and few other mooh-bole-bhai (brother by word of mouth).

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 1:34:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/raksha-bandhan-is-here/article6295502.ece

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