Rakshabhandan is now going global — not in terms of destination, but design. Korean star Psy’s Gangnam style is the latest fad in rakhees, which previously came in traditional red or gold.
The latest ones have a vibrant, dancing Psy in his blue jacket in his famous Gangnam pose.
“The Gangnam-style Rakhee sold like hot cakes this year and is most sought after by children,” says Bobby Sonthalia, one of the organisers of the Maitri Rakhee Bazaar.
But not to be left far behind are the good old Japanese friends, Doraemon and Pokemon and the fiesty American Angry Birds.
Many of these rakhees also come with specialised effects — be it light or music that turns on once you press the mouth of the little Pokemon or the belly of the Doraemon.
Even the traditional ones have undergone a sea change. Today, one can spot rakhees made of shells; some in the form of glittering stone bands; some with peacock hangings and the list goes on.
“Now, people no longer want the rakhee-tying ritual to be a simple one-day affair. They want it to be grand. Earlier, one would pay about Rs 20 for a rakhee, today it is Rs 500. There are also specialised rakhees made of silver and other metals,” says Anupama Khemka, one of the organisers.
Rakhees priced up to Rs 800 were up for grabs at the Maithri Rakhee Bazaar.
It is not just the rakhee that has undergone a change. Even the accompanying coconut and other pooja items have undergone a cosmetic change.
Earlier, the pooja items would be simply placed along with the coconut on a plate and offered. But now they are artistically-packed, mainly for relatives staying far.
The coconuts are now found in golden pouches, often intricately decorated with beads and sequences. Some come in special cases of different shapes, complete with metal beads and decorations. Pooja items, which include a little amount of rice and chandan powder, are now are packaged in the form of a tiny tree or a deity.