Most of us cherish the times we spend with our siblings and the innocent rivalry that we shared with them as kids. ‘Raksha Bandhan’, which falls today, celebrates the bond shared by a sister and brother and most Bengalureans are happy that this year, it falls on a weekend.
This gives them a chance to spend more time with their ‘partner in crime’! Sudheer Patel, a young professional who hails from Gujarat, is excited to meet his sister. “She lives in Mumbai and I’ll be reaching there early morning, right in time for the ‘puja’ and the celebration. I have a special gift and surprise planned for her too. Though we make it a point to talk to each other once every few days, we never miss meeting each other on this day,” he says.
The day is all about showering gifts on each other and making promises to stand by the other, no matter what. Kavya MR, a communications student, says, “I have two younger brothers, Manoj and Hemanth, and they are my world. I got married recently and the day is all the more special for me as it gives me a chance to spend time with them. While we have been celebrating the festival since childhood, the day is not just about observing the rituals but also understanding the real meaning behind them.”
For many who do not have a brother, the friends that they grew up with end up being their ‘rakhi brother’. For Riddhika, a four-year-old, the day is all about fun and play and exchanging gifts with Aayan, her ‘rakhi brother’.
“I am so excited about the new clothes we will be wearing and the fun that we will have. We will also get to enjoy a lot of sweets like ‘gulab jamun’.”
Her mother Pooja Poddar Jain says that children must be made to observe such festivals from a tender age. “‘Rakhi’ is one of my favourite festivals because we get to express our love towards our brothers and get pampered by them. I am lucky to have three elder brothers who adore me.” She adds that the day also includes sweets like ‘rasgullas’, ‘kheer’ and ‘malpua’ and ‘namkeen’ items like ‘pakoris’.
Karunakar Dev, a young professional, says that the day brings back a lot of memories. “My most memorable ‘Raksha Bandhan’ was the one two years back when Geethanjali, my sister, performed all the rituals, like the ‘aarti’, putting the ‘mangal teeka’ and fed me sweets after tying the ‘rakhi’.” He says that the ritual surprised him.
“When it was my turn to give her a gift, she surprised me with a brand new phone as she knew that my phone had just broken and I was short of money. This is the understanding we share.” This year, he is excited that he will get to spend more time with his sister and will be gifting her a ring.
Others like Yamuna Mehra, a homemaker who hails from Bihar, say that though one can see ‘rakhis’ in most shops, the festivities are not as big as they are back home. “There, the sister is celebrated on this day. She is treated like a princess and showered with gifts and blessings. It is also a day for a lot of sweets like ‘kala jamun’, ‘peda’ and ‘motichoor ka ladoo’,” she says. She adds that earlier the gifts would be something simple, now one sees elaborate items like jewellery, mobile phones, other electronic items and even house appliances being given.
“But the day is most special when the sister makes the ‘rakhi’ herself,” says Arundhati PR, an entrepreneur. She adds that though her brothers are abroad, she has made personalised ‘rakhis’ and sent it to them.
“I also have a cousin brother here with whom I will be spending the festival. I will be making a special traditional lunch for him, which will include ‘puri sabji’ and his favourite ‘halwa’, after which we plan to just hang out and watch some movies. After all, this day is about celebrating the bond and being together.”