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No strings attached

What happens when information technology runs into the oldest civilisation in the world? You get the online rakhi.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 07, 2013 12:26 IST
Gargi Gupta

What happens when information technology runs into the oldest civilisation in the world? You get the online rakhi.

It was the inevitable perhaps, with families increasingly sundered by globalisation, and the Internet reaching the by-lanes of Jhumritalaiyya. And if virtual puja can be offered at Tirupati, why not a cyber rakhi?

For Deepa Negi, 24, a fashion design student in Delhi, there was never any doubt. Her brother Pramit had shifted to Singapore two years ago, and online rakhis were the only way to go. “Who would go to the trouble of packing the roli-chawal so it didn’t spill, and courier it? Besides, I found something really nice, a

Zu-Zu rakhi, which I sent to my nephew." Deepa had to pay Rs 1,000 for the two rakhis, but she is not complaining. “Raksha-

bandhan comes once in a year, after all, and you don’t count pennies on this day.”

For Monika Singh, 36, the reason was even simpler — she was very busy at work all of last week and simply forgot. “It was already the 29th and Rakshabandhan is on the 5th. I couldn’t be sure my rakhi would reach my brother in Ohio in time if I couriered it.”

Meanwhile, she is going to send Aman — that’s her brother — an e-rakhi, one of the cute interactive ones which actually allows you to apply virtual tilak and feed a virtual laddoo.

Google and you’ll find dozens of online-rakhi sites — Onlinerakhistore, Indiangiftportal, Rakhi-mela, Rakhi-gifts, Sendrakhi, etc. For e-rakhis, there’s 123greetings’s rakhi microsite which, says its spokesperson Arvind Kajaria, has sent close to 100,000 rakhis this year.

Sending an online rakhi, like all e-transactions, is simplicity itself. Roli-chawal and tilak come free, and some even offer chocolate bars. Along with the rakhi, you can also send gifts, everything from mithai to jewellery, that these sites will deliver for you.

It’s a great opportunity, Dhruv Mehta, who started onlinerakhistore three years ago, has realised. He runs a web-design company out of Ahmedabad, and all he had to do was fix a few suppliers in the US and India to deliver the rakhi and gifts. This year, he’s already notched more than 6,000 orders.

As long as sisters like Deepa abound, Mehta’s business will continue to grow.