Like each year, the market is inundated with a huge variety of Rakhis. It seems there is more choice for children as most shops have several Rakhis that promote their famous cartoons. The list is endless including Doraemon, Spiderman, Mickey Mouse, Chota Bheem, to mention a few. The prices vary from `10 to `100 and even more.
“For little children, these cartoons are their real heroes and the idea of creating cartoon specific Rakhis is great,” say several shopkeepers selling Rakhis at Ludhiana’s traditional Chaura Bazaar. They added that the cartoon trend is all over the place and not only in Ludhiana.
Raksha Bandhan cartoon toys in the market ahead of the festival at Bathinda. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
“I want to buy most of the cartoon Rakhis available in the market but I will buy more of Spiderman and Doraemon because they are my favourites,” says an 8-year-old child who was accompanying his mother Balwinder Kaur for shopping at Sarabha Nagar market.
Kaur says, “It is a delight to come across such a huge variety. It clearly seems the makers have targeted the children to ensure high sales.”
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Rakhis with social networking themes are also available with logos of Facebook and Twitter on them.
“These days most of us are addicted to social networking sites, so some shops have come up with the novel idea of selling Facebook and Twitter Rakhis. Surely, this will lure many young minds,” says Swaranjit Singh and Jaspreet Singh of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
TRENDING BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN!
History seems to be repeating itself with a twist this Rakshabandhan season as the traditional rakhis with big flowers are trending again along with Bajrangi Bhaijaan rakhis (so much so, at the time of going to press our photographers informed us that they could not manage to get a single picture of these Rakhis because they were out of stock).
Rakhi trader Kamal Singla from Bathinda said they usually procure Rakhis in bulk from Ambala and Delhi. However, Kolkata is also a hub for Rakhi production. Talking about the sale of Rakhis this year, he said the sale of Rakhis did not pick up till August 26 but they were hoping for a boom in sales on Friday and Saturday.
“This season Rakhis which have Bajrangi Bhaijaan pictures are high in demand along with Rakhis that have lights, toys and cartoon characters like Chota Bheem and Ben10. However, to our surprise people are also demanding Rakhis with big flowers on them keeping with the age-old traditional styles,” said Singla.
Meanwhile, Manoj Goyal, a sweet shop owner said, “This year, the demand for traditional sweets and chocolates is more as compared to dry fruits. We have prepared special gift packages of sweets and chocolates for Rakhi, but people haven’t started coming in to buy these yet.”
A jewellery shop owner said, “Working sisters who have money at their disposal have ordered gold or silver Rakhis as well. Some brothers have also come in to buy expensive jewellery for their sisters.”
‘BABAJI KA THULLU’ OVER MODI
Baba ji Ka Thullu Rakhi available in the Bathinda Market. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Shopkeepers who bought Modi Rakhis are facing a huge loss as customers have not taken to the Prime Minister’s face beaming out of them. A shopkeeper in Bathinda, Naresh Jindal said, “Nobody wanted to buy Modi Rakhis. I have not been able to sell even one of these.”
“I invested a good amount into Modi Rakhis, but I had to dump all of them. Besides these, some people have been asking for Rakhis with ‘Baba Ji ka Thullu’ stuck on them instead of Modi,” said another shopkeeper Sunder Lal, who hails from Bathinda.
Innovative Rakhis with Modi in an animated form have flooded markets in Bathinda. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
A VIRTUAL TOUCH
Many Punjabis settled abroad will celebrate Rakhi through Skype chat. “My Rakhi will reach me by post in the first week of September and I will connect with my sister through Skype.
This is one of the best ways and I am eagerly looking forward to this celebration. Last year, I was at home but this time, it will be a celebration of a different kind,” says Shubhdeep Singh (21) a student studying in Toronto, Canada who hails from Bathinda.
Maninder Singh (26), another youngster from Jalandhar who runs his own business of parcels and post in Auckland, New Zealand will also celebrate Rakhi through Skype. “I have already received my Rakhi from my sister in Jalandhar but I have no time before August 31 due to a busy schedule but I will fix a time with my sister and parents in a day or two.”