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HT Brunch cover story: Sisters before misters, bros before beaus… celebrating Raksha Bandhan version 2.0!

Rakhi gets a modern makeover and it is not about who protects whom anymore, but a celebration of your BFF

brunch Updated: Aug 10, 2019 23:21 IST
Veenu Singh
Veenu Singh
Hindustan Times
24 brothers and sisters tell us how rakhi isn’t about the brother protecting the sister any more!;
24 brothers and sisters tell us how rakhi isn’t about the brother protecting the sister any more!; (Photos by Raj K Raj and Manoj Verma in New Delhi, Shivangi Kulkarni in Mumbai and Chaitra Prabhakar in Bengaluru)
         

Rithvik Dhanjani, (29), Actor and Heena Dhanjani, (25), Fashion Designer

His ticket to innocence

This sister takes pain to portray him as the most innocent person in the world (he isn’t!)

Heena has saved Rithvik when their mom found things in his pocket that shouldn’t be seen by her  (On Rithvik: Blazer, Umang Mehta, T-shirt, Being Human; Tommy Hilfiger; shoes, Heel & Buckle London; accessories, BeBajrang. On Heena: Outfit, Shambhavi Gandhi; jewellery, Kiara Jewels )
Heena has saved Rithvik when their mom found things in his pocket that shouldn’t be seen by her (On Rithvik: Blazer, Umang Mehta, T-shirt, Being Human; Tommy Hilfiger; shoes, Heel & Buckle London; accessories, BeBajrang. On Heena: Outfit, Shambhavi Gandhi; jewellery, Kiara Jewels ) ( Shivangi Kulkarni )

“I’m totally opposed to the traditional concept of Rakhi. In fact, it’s Heena who protects me,” says actor Rithvik Dhanjani and adds how his sister portrays him as ‘the most innocent person in the world’ even when he is wrong. This pretty much sums up their bond!

“My sister is an independent woman and knows how to take care of herself. so I’m totally opposed to the traditional concept of rakhi” —Rithvik Dhanjani

Is Raksha Bandhan today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Rithvik: Heena has been my ultimate saviour in super sticky situations when my mother has found things in my pockets that shouldn’t be seen by her at all.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Rithvik: At times she forgets to love herself.

Heena: He is very messy!

And one thing you love?

Rithvik: She does a lot for the family.

Heena: He makes sure I’m fine and happy.

Sidharth Bhardwaj (29), Actor and Jaya Bhardwaj (27), Brand Specialist

A guard against my girlfriends

“I’ve always protected him and always will,” says the younger sister with the heart of a mother

Sidharth makes Jaya laugh with his crazy humour when he has to say sorry to her (On Jaya: Dress, Aza; jewellery; Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers. On Sidharth: Kurta, shop in Khan Market ; jeans: Blackberrys; shoes, shop in Malviya Nagar)
Sidharth makes Jaya laugh with his crazy humour when he has to say sorry to her (On Jaya: Dress, Aza; jewellery; Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers. On Sidharth: Kurta, shop in Khan Market ; jeans: Blackberrys; shoes, shop in Malviya Nagar) ( Raj K Raj )

Sidharth Bhardwaj, an actor and TV presenter, has always seen Rakhi as the best way to celebrate his sister, Jaya, a brand strategist with Universal Music, who he considers the strongest pillar in his life. She’s fierce with Sidharth’s girlfriends who do him wrong – something Sidharth finds super protective and cute!
Jaya revels in her role as his protector from flighty women and saviour from punishment when he spent too much time hanging out with the guys.

“Jaya’s fierce with my girlfriends who do me wrong. I find that cute!” —Sidharth Bhardwaj

Is Raksha Bandhan today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Sidharth: It’s about supporting and understanding each other equally.

Jaya: I’ve always protected him and always will.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Sidharth: Her gussa (anger).

Jaya: He eats a lot!

And one thing you love?

Sidharth: Her caring nature.

Jaya: He makes me laugh with his crazy humour when he has to say sorry!

Narresh, (33), Fashion Designer and Samrridhi Kukreja, (28), Visual Artist

The best version of themselves!

This creative duo guides, pushes and supports each other to be the best they can be

Samrridhi  feels that their mom loves Narresh more than her!  (On Narresh and Samrridhi: Outfits by Shivann & Narresh)
Samrridhi feels that their mom loves Narresh more than her! (On Narresh and Samrridhi: Outfits by Shivann & Narresh)

Samrridhi is the one who runs to her elder brother and designer Narresh’s rescue all the time! Case in point: She made sure that the former client ripping off Narresh’s designs got what was coming to her. Says Samrridhi. “We guide, push and support each other to be the best versions of ourselves and we love each other no matter what!” she says. And today, Raksha Bandhan is spent by them clicking boomerangs doing the exact opposite of what Rakhi stands for! “She’s beating me up and treating me like her slave in them,” reveals Narresh.

“We click boomerangs doing the exact opposite of what Rakhi stands for” —Narresh Kukreja

Is Raksha Bandhan today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Narresh: It stands for non judgemental love, togetherness and an equal support system for both of us.

Samrridhi: It’s about an honest relationship minus judgements.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Narresh: That she still thinks that mom loves me more.

Samrridhi: He doesn’t relax enough.

And one thing you love?

Narresh: No one gives me more attention than her.

Samrridhi: His creativity.

Wayne Lombard, (33), Lead Scientific Advisor of The Indian Women’s Hockey Team with Captain Rani (24), Monika (26) and Navneet Kaur (23)

The male star of an all-female hockey team

This lucky chap works the Indian Hockey team so well, he gets rakhis and responsibility in return

All the 18 players of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team tie a rakhi to Wayne (On Monika: Top, Commercial Street, Bengaluru; pants, Zara; shoes, Bata, earrings, Sarojini Nagar Market. On Navneet: Top, Vero Moda; denims, Only; shoes, Bata. On Wayne: T-shirt, Max; denims and shoes, Levis. On Rani: Top and denims, Only; jewellery, Pipa Bella; shoes, Bata)
All the 18 players of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team tie a rakhi to Wayne (On Monika: Top, Commercial Street, Bengaluru; pants, Zara; shoes, Bata, earrings, Sarojini Nagar Market. On Navneet: Top, Vero Moda; denims, Only; shoes, Bata. On Wayne: T-shirt, Max; denims and shoes, Levis. On Rani: Top and denims, Only; jewellery, Pipa Bella; shoes, Bata) ( Chaitra Prabhakar )

Wayne Lombard is a lucky man. He has 18 players from the Indian national team tying him rakhi. It all started in 2017, when Rani made him a brother. Wayne jokes that they have to get his approval before selecting a husband, and when he fell sick recently, he had a whole team of hockey-playing nurses at his beck and call.

“The girls are the ones protecting me here... but have to get my approval when selecting their husbands ” —Wayne Lombard

Is Rakhsha Bandhan today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Wayne: The girls are the ones protecting me here!

Monika: More than protection, it’s the understanding and bonding that matters.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Wayne: I get worried when they don’t take good care of their health.

Rani: He doesn’t let me sleep for long.

One thing you love?

Wayne: Their dedication and passion.

Rani: His motivating behaviour.

Monika: He’s caring.

Navneet: He takes us out for fun activities.

Vicram Sharma (44), Businessman, and Pushpanjali R Chawla (42), Consultant

I pledge, you pledge

Being siblings is a promise for life

For Vicram, Pushpanjali is one of the best gifts he could have asked for (On Vicram: T-shirt: Beverly Hills Polo; trousers, Raghavendra Rathore; shoes, from a market in London. On Pushpanjali: Dress, Diane Von Furstenberg; shoes, Gucci; watch, Rolex; ring, Ultimate Diamondz; bracelet, Amaris by Prerna Rajpal )
For Vicram, Pushpanjali is one of the best gifts he could have asked for (On Vicram: T-shirt: Beverly Hills Polo; trousers, Raghavendra Rathore; shoes, from a market in London. On Pushpanjali: Dress, Diane Von Furstenberg; shoes, Gucci; watch, Rolex; ring, Ultimate Diamondz; bracelet, Amaris by Prerna Rajpal ) ( Manoj Verma )

For Vicram, CEO, Baidyanath Group of Companies, his sister Pushpanjali, owner of Pivotul Consulting, is also one of his soulmates... being just a year and a half younger to him. This also means that both are equally protective about one another! Vicram says, “Pushpanjali is the one I turn to for all relationship advise, and as luck would have it, 10 out of 10 times, her intuition and advise is correct. Growing up with my sister is one of the best gifts my parents gave me!”

“Vicram doesn’t let me eat milk chocolate as it is fattening!”—Pushpanjali R Chawla

Is Raksha Bandhan today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Vicram: It’s not that anymore. Because we’re so bonded, Pushpanjali is very intuitive and gives me the best advice.

Pushpanjali: Historically it has meant that the brother will protect his sister, but for me, it’s a bond of love and Rakhi is a pledge between a brother and sister to protect each other physically, emotionally and spiritually.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Vicram: In most situations she predicts my reaction/move with amazing accuracy.

Pushpanjali: He does not let me eat milk chocolate as it is fattening.

One thing you love about your sibling?

Vicram: She senses if something’s troubling me.

Pushpanjali: I love him with all his eccentricities.

What’s the one gift you want?

Vicram: A good vacation with Pushpanjali, her husband Rohtash and the kids.

Pushpanjali: A spa-getaway.

Shiv (37), Golfer and Diya Kapur (41), Lawyer

Bully meets bestie

She makes him wear ugly rakhis, but saves him from fights

Diya grew up convinced that she needed to take care of her little bro (On Shiv: Shirt, Blackberrys; jeans, Hugo Boss; watch, Audemars Piguet. On Diya: Shirt, Theory, jeans, Gap; shoes, from a market in Australia)
Diya grew up convinced that she needed to take care of her little bro (On Shiv: Shirt, Blackberrys; jeans, Hugo Boss; watch, Audemars Piguet. On Diya: Shirt, Theory, jeans, Gap; shoes, from a market in Australia) ( Raj K Raj )

Shiv Kapur always counted on Diya, a litigation lawyer, to help him get out of fights at school with older guys. Of course, she also bullied him – making him wear the ugliest and loudest rakhi (with lights, fake 100 rupee notes et al) and continues to do the same even today! When Diya got married, Shiv told her, “even though it’s my duty as a brother to always protect you, in this case, I think my brother-in-law needs the protection!”
Diya grew up convinced that she needed to take care of her little bro. “There was constant playful banter and at the same time ruthless honesty between us while growing up. We fought, but always had each other’s backs. That hasn’t changed,” she says

“We grew up in a very non-gendered way, so our brother-sister bond is already ungendered!” —Diya Kapur

Is Raksha Bandhan today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Shiv: It’s an eternal bond. When I need advice, my sisters are the first people I turn to, because they always have my best interests at heart.

Diya: We grew up in a very non gendered way, so our bond is already ungendered. We played golf together through our childhood.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Shiv: She continues to embarrass me publicly and pulls my cheeks like I’m a five-year-old!

Diya: Nothing at all.

And one thing you love?

Shiv: She still has my back.

Diya: I love his ridiculous sense of humour.

Kamna Kapoor, (3), and Vishnu Kapoor, (10 ) months

“My baby bro is the bestest”

She’s happy to share her toys with him but won’t let anyone hold him

Kamna is super excited about Vishnu’s first Rakhi (On Kamna: Dress, Red Roses; shoes, Pair Point. On Vishnu: Shirt, Westside; shorts, H&M)
Kamna is super excited about Vishnu’s first Rakhi (On Kamna: Dress, Red Roses; shoes, Pair Point. On Vishnu: Shirt, Westside; shorts, H&M) ( Raj K Raj )

Unlike most baby girls who get stressed at the thought of sharing attention and toys with another sibling, three-year-old Kamna was absolutely thrilled when she came to know that her chachi was going to deliver a baby. So, when Vishnu, her ‘baby bro’ as she calls him was born, Kamna was on cloud nine.

“It’s his first raksha bandhan and I’ve bought him a Doraemon rakhi” —Kamna Kapoor

Though Vishnu is just 10 months old, Kamna is already making plans for the time he will accompany her to play areas and even to school. And that’s not all. Kamna is extremely possessive about him and doesn’t want any of her friends or even her other cousins to play with Vishnu. She’s super excited about his first Rakhi and has already bought a nice ‘Doraemon’ rakhi for him besides getting her mom to order a nice Hugo Boss set and lots of toys for him.

One thing you dislike about him?

Kamna: I don’t like it when he cries a lot.

One thing you love?

Kamna: When he screams with delight on seeing me.

What are you gifting?

Kamna: A Hugo Boss set and lots of toys.

Arush Khanna (29), Lawyer and Sakhi Khanna Bajaj (25), Talent Scout

Twin sisters, a brother and girlfriends galore!

How his sisters play girlfriend police and how any girl can survive their wrath

While Arush makes the rules, Sakhi happily breaks them (On Sakhi: Dress and shoes H&M. On Arush: Shirt, Blackberrys; jeans, Gap; shoes, Pull and Bear )
While Arush makes the rules, Sakhi happily breaks them (On Sakhi: Dress and shoes H&M. On Arush: Shirt, Blackberrys; jeans, Gap; shoes, Pull and Bear ) ( Raj K Raj )

Arush pampers his twin sisters Siya and Sakhi. While the brother makes the rules, the older twin (Siya) is the reason why the rules are made, and the youngest one (Sakhi) breaks them. The sisters help Arush sort out relationship issues, so much so that he wonders how any over-possessive girlfriend would survive their wrath.

“My dependence on my younger sisters is far more…” —Arush Khanna

Is rakhi today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

arush: this may be true traditionally, but for me, my dependence on them is much more than theirs on me.

Sakhi: Our brother has always lived up to his promise of taking care of us, but now we are the two pillars on which he can always rely for support.

One thing you hate about your siblings?

Arush: Siya has OCD when it comes to cleanliness and Sakhi is stubborn at times.

Sakhi: He gets too stressed at work and can be a little all over the place.

And one thing you love?

Arush: She can show love like no one else.

Sakhi: He lavishly showers his love (and goodies).

Ishita Yashvi (37), Restaurateur and Umang Vanshika (29), Make-up Artist

The girls who honour the rakhi bond

Two strong women strengthen their sisterhood by tying rakhis and promising to have each other’s back

Rakhi for Ishita(left) and Umang is a celebration of the fact that their mother always wanted daughters. (On Ishita: Outfit, Good Earth; juttis, Amritsar; earrings, Krafted With Happiness; ring, Amethyst; bangles, Amrapali. On Umang: Top, Zara; pants, Fabindia, shoes, Charles N Keith; earrings, H&M)
Rakhi for Ishita(left) and Umang is a celebration of the fact that their mother always wanted daughters. (On Ishita: Outfit, Good Earth; juttis, Amritsar; earrings, Krafted With Happiness; ring, Amethyst; bangles, Amrapali. On Umang: Top, Zara; pants, Fabindia, shoes, Charles N Keith; earrings, H&M) ( Raj K Raj )

Ishita and Umang have never felt bad that they don’t have a brother. Rakhi for them is a celebration of the fact that their mother always wanted daughters. Being a single parent, their mother raised them as strong, independent individuals, capable of protecting themselves and one another too. So, they’ve grown up being each other’s backs while Ishita has been wearing the pants in the family. “I’ve always saved Umang from sticky situations – filled in for her at family functions and even attended a parent-teacher meeting at school when Umang fared badly in her pre-board exams,” reveals Ishita.

“No matter the age gap or gender – if your sibling is your go-to person, then there’s only that” —Ishita Yashvi

Is Rakhi today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Ishita: No matter the age gap or gender, if your sibling is your go-to person, then there’s only that.

Umang: Siblings are always best friends.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Ishita: She takes things a little too casually at times.

Umang: She takes things a little too seriously.

And one thing you love about your sibling?

Ishita: She’s always there for me.

Umang: She’s very driven.

Sandiip Sikcand (48), Creative Director, Actor and Producer and Anantica Sahir (35), Writer

Brother from another mother

This rakhi sister is also a third wheel on his dates!

All Anantica wants from her brother is his endless and unconditional love and support always (On Anantica: Skirt and top Zara; belt, Gucci; shoes, H&M . On Sandiip: Jacket and jeans, Gucci; shoes, Fendi )
All Anantica wants from her brother is his endless and unconditional love and support always (On Anantica: Skirt and top Zara; belt, Gucci; shoes, H&M . On Sandiip: Jacket and jeans, Gucci; shoes, Fendi ) ( Shivangi Kulkarni )

When his best friend’s wife, Anantica, asked Sandiip if he’d like to be called mamu (maternal uncle) by her newborn child, he instantly found a Rakhi sister in her. His biological sister, Seema, is almost a mother to him, and Anantica is a confidant and partner in crime.

Says Anantica. “I’ve third wheeled on his dates, and that’s something that comes with the bond of Rakhi which we’ve had for the last 10 years.”

“While my six years older biological sister is more like a mother to me, Anantica is a confidant and partner in crime” —Sandiip Sikcand

Is Rakhi today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Sandiip: It’s a celebration of the bond you share with your best friend in the form of a sibling.

Anantica: It is about understanding and maturity.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Sandiip: Nothing in either Seema or Anantica.

Anantica: He has very little time for himself.

And one thing you love?

Sandiip: I have two pillars to support me through any problem I may ever face.

Anantica: I can count on him.

What’s the one gift you want?

Sandiip: Love and best wishes.

Anantica: His endless and unconditional love and support always.

Tarun Sibal (37), Chef and Restaurateur and Neha Sibal Kapoor (36), Fashion Designer

My sister, my star!

He chaperones her on her late nights, she makes calls to girls on his behalf

In school, Neha  made calls on Tarun’s behalf to girls he was keen to talk to (On Tarun: Kurta-pyjama, Fabindia; jacket, Blackberrys; footwear, customised from a shop in CP; watch, Tag Heuer; glasses, Dolce & Gabbana; pocket square, Raymonds. On Neha: Outfit, Neha & Tarun; shoes, Zara; watch, iWatch)
In school, Neha made calls on Tarun’s behalf to girls he was keen to talk to (On Tarun: Kurta-pyjama, Fabindia; jacket, Blackberrys; footwear, customised from a shop in CP; watch, Tag Heuer; glasses, Dolce & Gabbana; pocket square, Raymonds. On Neha: Outfit, Neha & Tarun; shoes, Zara; watch, iWatch) ( Raj K Raj )

Tarun plays the protective brother to the hilt, chaperoning Neha on all her late nights and scrutinising everyone she meets, and Neha protects her brother from relatives constantly teasing him about his weight. In school, she also made calls on his behalf to girls he was keen to talk to.

“Neha protects me from relatives constantly teasing me about my weight” —Tarun Sibal

Is Rakhi today about the brother protecting the sister, or vice versa?

Tarun: Your own brother or sister covering up for you is the most satisfying feeling and that will not change with time.

Neha: It’s more about moral support than protection today.

One thing you hate about your sibling?

Tarun: I’m jealous of the fact that she has always had it easy.

Neha: He gets emotionally involved with everything and needs to chill a bit.

And one thing you love?

Tarun: She is fairly chilled out, extremely talented and super fun.

Neha: I love his zeal and passion for his work.

Who is wearing what in the group photo: (clockwise from top left)

On Sidharth: Shirt: United Colors of Benetton; denims: Zara; shoes; Nike

On Jaya: Dress and jacket: Forever New, shoes; Bata

On Kamna: Suit: Biba

On Vishnu: Dhoti set, Hopscotch

On Rithvik: Blazer, Umang Mehta, T-shirt, Being Human; Tommy Hilfiger; shoes, Heel & Buckle London; accessories, Be Bajrang

On Heena: Outfit, Shambhavi Gandhi; jewellery, Kiara Jewels

On Samrridhi and Narresh: Outfit and shoes: Shivann & Narresh

On Tarun: T-shirt; H&M; denims, Superdry; jacket, Zara; glasses, Tom Ford; watch: Tag Heuer; shoes, Onitsuka Tiger

On Neha: Outfit, Neha & Tarun; footwear, coach; watch, iWatch

On Pushpanjali: Dress, Pia Pauro; watch, Rolex; bracelet and ring, Amaris by Prerna Rajpal, earrings, Inaaya by Deepa Mehra

On Vicram: Kurta, Varun Bahl; jeans, AllSaints; shoes, from a local market in London

On Arush: Kurta and breeches, Brahaan by Narains; Nehru jacket, Ashish N Soni; watch, Tissot; shoes, from a market in Jaipur

On Sakhi: Dress, Poonam Dubey Designs

On Umang: Dress, Bershka; shoes, Zara; earrings, H&M

On Ishita; Top and pants, FabIndia; earrings, Amrapali; ring, Johari Bazaar, Jaipur; shoes, Beymen, Turkey

On Anantica: Dress, Fusspot; earrings; Vintage

On Sandiip: Outfit, Vidyarthi, Bandra

On Monika: Outfit, Ritu Kumar; jewellery, Ko Jewellery, Bengaluru

On Navneet: Outfit, Ritu Kumar; jewellery, Amrapali

On Wayne: Shirt and denims, Jack & Jones

On Rani: Outfit, Ritu Kumar; jewellery; Pipa Bella and Amrapali

On Shiv: Shirt, Blackberrys; jeans, Hugo Boss; watch, Audemars Piguet

On Diya: Shirt, Theory, jeans, Gap; shoes, market in Australia

Join in the conversation using #RakhiReinvented

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From HT Brunch, August 11, 2019

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First Published: Aug 10, 2019 21:58 IST

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