Symbolising 'rich' sibling love

To Tie Or Not


Rakhis for children

Rooted in history, dramatised by Bollywood and reworked by fashion trends, Raksha Bandhan, the festival that celebrates the relationship between a brother and a sister has come a long way since.

The original rakhi was  a simple silk thread symbolising sibling love and offering a protection of sorts for vulnerable women in times of war or aggression.

Close on the heels of Friendship Day, modern rakhis have designers vying with each other to come up with not just designs and themes based on tradition but over the top creations that cost an arm and a leg or pander to different moods and fantasies. Rakhi gifts now have top designers creating a special collection for the festival, designing silk scarves and stoles and companies offering to courier the rakhi to any corner of the globe in time for the big day.

“I remember a time when rakhis were large, glittery flower like creations layered with sponge in bright colours. Tinsel would sprout out of the centre and going out in the rain was a bit dicey as the sponge would fill with water.”

“We would wear them to please our sisters but would take it off as soon as possible and definitely not wear it to school or college. Today, rakhis are sleeker and more trendy almost merging with friendship bands so they are far more wearable,” says Subodh Sharma, who celebrates rakhi faithfully each year.

Asha Chamaria feels, “Raksha Bandhan has become a festival that is too materialistic.

The original concept of sisterly love expressed by tying a simple silk thread has been lost in the whole business of gift giving, ot just to the brother but the entire family and returning gifts in the same measure, which is an elaborate and expensive affair. We buy costly rakhis specially designed and embellished with zardosi work and intricate embroidery that may cost around Rs 500 which is tied on the wrist for just a few minutes and then discarded as it is not practical to wear longer.”

Rajni Chowdary has been designing Rakhis for several years now and has a dedicated clientele, who look for specialised designs that are not available in stores.

“I make sets that include a rakhi for the brother, an elaborate tie-on for the wife; funky designs for the kids, that have film characters like Spiderman or Shrek on leather wristbands for boys, or Barbies with sparkles for girls. I also do special chocolates as part of the ritual as traditional mithai is passe and out of style,” she says.

Keeping the environment in mind, some stores in the City have stocked up on rakhis made from recycled paper and eco-friendly materials which they say are a big hit with their clientele.

Cars, birds, butterflies and abstract designs are all part of the collection which has flown off the shelves this year, they say.

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